In building my goals, I start by understanding my current situation in 4 focus areas. These focus areas are going to be different for everyone because we are not all participating in the same activities. Here are my 4 focus areas:
In each of the 4 focus areas, I have created short term goals (<5 years) and long term goals (>5 years). It is not easy to predict where you will be next year, let alone 5 or 10 years, but is imperative to write down your best estimates for tracking purposes. I track my goals in excel to keep them nicely organized. There is a box for each year to write the sum of all accomplishments across the 4 focus areas.
If you understand your current situation, then you can start thinking about where you want to go. It is very difficult to navigate when you are not certain where you currently are. A good way of building out your goals is to select an ultimate goal you have. For example, you may want to be the VP of R&D of your company. You would now look to understand what roles you need to do in order to get to the VP of R&D role. You would also look at the results you need to provide along the way. You are essentially building a puzzle that gets built on a timeline.
If it helps, after you have established all the pieces to the puzzle, you can assign percentages to each showing how much has been complete. If there were ten parts, then each may be assigned 10% of the puzzle adding up to 100%. As long as you stay engaged and understand what you need to do and when you need to do it, then you should reach your goals. Staying motivated can be a very big challenge for most. Staying focused can also be a very big challenge for most. If you can stay motivated, stay focused, and work your plan, then you should be successful!