How to create clarity in goals

July 12, 2013 - 3 minutes read

Glasses and Clear Vision of MountainsHow does one create clarity?

First, lets define the word, clarity.  Clarity is a pretty abstract description that people use in order to describe the emotions behind their actions. When you know the actual steps to take, that creates the emotional state of satiety, or happiness. Knowing is what creates clarity.

There’s so many research done on the topic of happiness. However, to sum it up, “happiness” is defined by the knowns (or belief) in our lives.

For example, you’re happy to know where your child is at 8 pm or you’re happy to know your money is growing in the bank. You know where your next meal is going to come from. You know you’re in the right job.

How do you know this? Well, you need to be “clear”. So, in order to create clarity in your life, job, or projects, you need to know what the steps are toward a tangible goal.

So the first step is to define that goal. That goal should never be abstract. For example, I want to be a successful researcher, or my research will be published in a top journal. These are unclear goals.

A more specific tangible goal would be, I will publish in Nature Medicine at the end of my third year of my fellowship. I will feel like a successful researcher when I accomplish this. This is defining your happiness, or clarity. So, be as specific as possible and make your goals tangible. A published article, or an approved grant award are tangible items. This then creates clarity in a goal. Therefore breaking down uncertainty and anxiety.

The next step in reaching that tangible goal is to lay out the actionable steps. In the previous paragraph, we just defined our goal by putting a three year timeline on it. So what is needed to get published in Nature Medicine in three years? What is a novel thesis? What are the projects associated with that thesis? What are the resources needed to test that thesis? Etcetera, etcetera.

Answer all of the questions that are required in order to reach that goal. That then becomes your checklist of actions you need to do. In other words, your “to do” list.  Then start checking them off.

Clarity will set you free by knowing what are the steps toward a defined goal.

I’d like to hear what are your defined goals. What would you like to be more clear about in your life? Leave a comment or question.

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