Like us, you probably went into your internship with a million goals. How many did you reach?
For us believers, we know achieving goals only happens when we have one.
Goals have to be clear, intentional and aspirational to have a chance at succeeding. Interns have a lot to get done in a short time, so it’s a must to get there fast.
Goal-setting is a learned skill. By setting progressive, clear objectives and taking steps to reach them gets you to the finish line.
Here’s how to make it happen:
#1 Defining your goal
Uncertainty is where we all begin and where we must operate. Most people know they want to get somewhere but how is a little fuzzy.
Pin down what the goal is. Be super specific. Set a time frame to make it measurable.
Have an outcome and how long it will take to get it done. For example,
- “I will create 3 presentations in the next 3 weeks.”
- “I will complete the required research and write 3 news articles in 2 weeks.”
- “I will clean my room by end of day tomorrow.”
Now, you can work backwards to create the process and strategy to get the job done.
The more detail the better. For example 1:
- Why am I doing this?
- What is the desired outcome of the work? (Motivation)
- What are the presentations for? (Purpose)
- Will there be 12 slides or 30? What is the subject matter?
- Who do I need on my team? How will I get the information? (Nuts and Bolts)
Keep going, visualize it and write it all down.
#2: Be intentional
Setting a clear intention will get you a big part of the way there. You may lose your way during the process, but you can always refer back to your original intention.
For instance, in the presentations example, your intention could be “I will give the boss the material they need to be super well prepared.” That will motivate you along the way.
#3: Set goals that inspire you
If reaching your goal matters a lot to you, the work you need to do to get there will feel lighter.
If you aspire to be a journalist, then writing 3 news stories is fun and in line with your career goals.
#4: Be Productive and Proactive
Fact: Nobody is going to carry you to success.
Having a clear process of the activities you must do breaks down the big task into smaller, more manageable pieces.
If you want to meet your goals, you have to be the one doing the legwork to get there.
#5: Under-Promise to Over-Deliver
Never promise way more than you know you can deliver. You don’t want to give yourself a mountain to climb in an unrealistic time frame. If you do, you might feel discouraged halfway there and anxiety will overwhelm you.
If you work in a step-wise fashion, the achievement of smaller goals will give you the boost you need to achieve larger ones. To clean your room, first, collect the trash, second, pick up your clothes, and so on. Seeing a result quickly will keep you going and you’ll feel like it is all possible.
On the other hand, make it a stretch. If you make it too easy, you won’t feel the excitement and accomplishment of a job well done.
#6: Research Your Goal
Know what to expect and what needs to be done to meet your goals. When they’re intern-related, then they specifically go with the job that you’re going to be doing. Research what’s involved so there are no unpleasant surprises that cause delays. It’s never a good idea to say you’ll do something before you know exactly what’s involved.
#7 Give Yourself Enough Time
Make sure you have enough time to reasonably meet the deadline. When you do so, you don’t have to rush yourself and create unnecessary anxiety and stress or have to pull all-nighters.
Leave a little time for mishaps or unexpected bumps in the road. Plus, it also gives you more time to learn in the process. Isn’t that what an internship is about, anyway?
When you set a goal for yourself, make it clear and actionable. Successful people know this and practice it. This works whether you are an intern or Chairperson of the Board!