In order to achieve anything in life you need to know what you want to achieve. Of course you could just wake up everyday and wait to see what happens. Some good things might show up that way, but they won’t be the good things you choose. To achieve the things that mean the most to you, the ones that express your deepest aspirations, you need goals. Specific, measureable, achievable goals and have a plan of action to achieve them.
Write your goals down
The first thing you need to do is figure out your end result. Your final goal. Don’t worry if your final goal seems overwhelming or outside of your abilities. The fulfilment of a final goal is the result of a fulfilment of a series of intermediate goals along the way. Once you’ve decided on your final destination, you can plan out your route to get there. Even from the outset it’s important to remember, your original map will probably have to be revised along the journey so you’ll have to be on the lookout for detours and dead ends.
Be SMART about it
Smart goals are:
How do you eat an elephant?
The answer to the question, how do you eat an elephant is, one bite at a time. That’s why it’s so important to break your goal or elephant down into smaller, bite sized chunks. Say you have five smaller goals that need to be accomplished in a given week or month. Having five goals can feel almost as overwhelming as the one big one, but if you separate them completely, say slot them into a different day of the week then they become more manageable. On Monday I’m concentrating on the elephant’s tail only. I don’t have to even think about the legs or the ears because those are for another day altogether.
Create regular success
The best way to keep yourself motivated in the pursuit of your ultimate goal is to find regular success. That means concrete achievements along the way. If your goal is to become president of your own company, then write down all the steps you need to take to get you there. What new skills do you need to perfect? Is there someone who can help you or teach you something you need to learn? Set a deadline for learning that skill, for meeting that person and hold yourself accountable. The more things you achieve, daily, weekly, monthly, the more motivated you’ll be to keep achieving.
Celebrate the successes
Keep track of your progress and celebrate your successes. Each small success brings you closer to the ultimate one. Don’t be embarrassed about drawing big red checkmarks on your calendar. Take people who helped you in a given week out as a thank you. Share the positivity!
Adjust your goals as necessary
Confucius says, “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
If you find yourself hitting brick wall after brick wall after brick wall, it may feel like continuing with the effort is simply a waste of time and energy. If all your efforts are constantly producing negative results, you’re right, they probably are a waste of time and energy. That’s not to say your goal is a waste of time and energy, just your chosen method for reaching it.
A single negative result doesn’t necessarily indicate you need to change things up, but a succession of negative results does. Don’t waste time banging your head against that wall. Reassess your end result and figure out an alternate route.
Make like a postage stamp
Whether going around the block or around the world, whether it takes a week or ten years, a postage stamp sticks on the package until it gets to the final destination. To reach your final goal you need to have the stickativity of a postage stamp.