“Grading” Your Success (Part 4 of 4)

This article is the fourth in a 4-part series about dreaming big. Read Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.

The infamous “red pen” markings on your school work. They either give you a sick feeling when you think of them or they remind you of your school days success! How do teachers know if you learned something? They give you a test and grade it with their red pens. How do YOU know you’ve learned something? You take a test and PASS!

In the last week, we’ve been doing some life changing things together.

  • First, we spent some time dreaming. We contemplated what we really really wanted in life.
  • Second, we turned our dreams into goals by giving them a deadline.
  • Third, we shifted our priorities to match our goals. We listed them out so that when we make a decision or a choice, we could line them up with our priorities to make sure we make the right choices.
  • Fourth, we created action plans. We took each of our priorities and wrote out some steps to put our plan into action.

Our action plan steps included 4 very important elements.

  1. 1. Each of them directly add value to my priorities and will help me reach my goals.
  2. 2. Each of them are smaller or short term so that I am not over committing or creating opportunities for failure.
  3. 3. I can schedule each of the action plans into my calendar.
  4. 4. They are measurable and I know exactly how I can keep track of whether or not I do them. There are days, times, and details used to make it quantifiable and specific.

“Grading” your Success: Success Markers
My bachelor’s degree is in elementary education so I am speaking on behalf of all teachers to clear the air. The red pen markings are not to show you how you’ve failed, they are to show you what is left to learn. Tests, grades, charts, scores, etc… It gives an idea of how much has been learned and what is left to tackle.

We should use this same principle in goal setting. Instead of thinking of your goals as something to achieve or to fail, think of them as a target where we keep aiming, practicing and shooting until we hit the target with ease.

Like the picture says above, your actions steps were made small and measurable for a reason. If the steps are not easy to accomplish or apply and are not helping you aim towards your target, then readjust them! Who said your action steps were written in stone? No one! It’s like getting your paper back for some final edits. Make them work for you, for your priorities, for your goals, for your dreams.

How do you know if you are “on target”? You need to keep some form of a “success marker”. I call them success markers because you use the tool to visually “mark your successes”. It could simply be a checklist where you write down the action step with details and dates. When the action step is completed, then you “mark” it as a success. You could use star stickers, we all seem to like star stickers whether you’re a kid or not. :) Or, try highlighting them in a bright colorful highlighter marker when you’ve completed something. It’s a visual tool to help you see what you’ve learned and accomplished. Learning to use a “success marker” frequently and consistently will be a key to turning your goals into accomplishments.

Here is a success marker form that you are free to use as an example or make it as your own goal setting checklist.

Celebrate your Successes
Every success or accomplishment, big or small, is worth celebrating. Those that focus on their successes will feed the motivation machine deep down inside. If you are constantly focusing on what you haven’t done, where you aren’t, what you are not then your goals will always seem out of reach and impossible. If you are able to celebrate every success, you build a confidence platform that allows you to jump higher, dream bigger and do great things with intention.

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