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Posted: May 21, 2013

Shoot for the moon

Even a miss lands you amidst the stars

Teri Karjala

In my coaching practice, I speak with many therapists about goal-setting or establishing “targets” to shoot for. In doing so, I have found that when we start truly identifying and writing down our goals, we usually end up achieving exactly what we have written and oftentimes something even better. So I am always encouraging my clients to think big and set grand targets, allowing for what we want to come forth in both our lives and our businesses.

In a previous article, I wrote about mind-mapping. I use mind-mapping for many reasons, but it is supremely useful in looking at the big picture to identify “targets.” 

I also use this technique with others. I begin by having people identify the six main areas of life. I believe that looking at all of these areas is important in the overall balance in your life. I have broken them down into the following areas: health/fitness, spirituality, mental/education development, career/finances, social life/relationships, and home/family. The question that I ask is, “What do you want to be celebrating by Dec. 31 of this year?”

In 1979, Harvard’s MBA program graduates were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only 3 percent had clear written goals, 13 percent had goals, though not written, and 84 percent had no specific goals at all.

Flash forward to 1989 – 10 years later – the same group was interviewed again. The 13 percent who had goals but had not written them down were, on average, earning double what the 84 percent with no goals made. A striking correlation, but the most incredible finding was that 10 years later, the 3 percent that had established clear, written goals when they left Harvard were earning 10 times as much as the other 97 percent combined. The moral of this story? Writing down goals can have real-world implications and can be an enormous catalyst in achieving the life of your dreams.

In other words, it can be a game-changer.

Steps in identifying and setting your “targets”:

Step 1: Create your mind map. Take five minutes to brainstorm in each of the six above listed areas of your life. Write down what you come up with and then leave it for a day. When you come back to it, read it again and finish brainstorming any new ideas/thoughts/projects/etc. that may have come to you. Ask yourself, “What are you passionate about?” Make sure that your goals/targets are in line with your passions. Write it all down. There are no wrong answers and no dreams too big. Have fun playing!

Step 2: I like to go back through and prioritize. Using a highlighter I set apart certain goals for each area, knowing that not all of my brilliant ideas will make it into my game plan for the year. Goals should be realistic, but I always encourage people to push themselves a little.

Step 3: Once you have identified your major goals, break them down into more manageable steps. Starting with the end in mind, create target dates for each baby step. Then work backwards to present time. What will need to happen each month, week, day, etc. Once you have done this, your goals have been broken down into more manageable steps for easier completion.

Step 4: Setting intentions is a powerful tool that can help expedite this process. According to Merriam-Webster, the word, “Intention” is defined as a determination to act in a certain way: what one intends to do or bring about. For example: “I intend to create a dynamic business to help people with XYZ.”

Step 5: The next step will always be: Action!  Most people make this their first step, but you know better!

Remember, at the end of the day you can be a part of the 97percent or the 3 percent. It is always your choice.

Teri Karjala is owner of the Creative Counseling Center, LLC, as well as Talking With Teri, LLC. Teri’s passion for the business aspects of owning and maintaining a business has made her a sought out coach by others in the helping fields. She is a regular columnist for ColoradoBiz Magazine and speaks to therapists across the nation in building their thriving practice. Recently she has released her “How to Live Deliciously” Creative Journal Series to help inspire and empower adults, teens, and children. These are available in print at

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