Good Monday morning as we begin this last week in June I want to talk about goals. At the end of this month we are now halfway through the year 2011. It seems like yesterday we were saying “Happy New Year.” And with the new year comes all the resolutions, the goals we want to achieve. Well we are six months into the year. I’m sure that you have reached the halfway point in your goals? Right?
Truth is most people have a pattern when it comes to setting and undertaking goals and the end result is that they don’t achieve what they set out to do. Sure, we’re all fired up and ready to dive into all sorts of outrageous goals January 1st. But as the days, weeks, and months go by we are met with a few letdowns, run into a few walls, fail at the small things to lead to it. Then before you know it we get to a point we forget that we set the goals to begin with.
Other people set goals for themselves then procrastinate starting work on them. Some wait till July, September, November. Then it hits them: “I never even got started.” So they make a rush to get started, hurry through a process and take short cuts just to achieve something. By procrastinating our goals never are reached. The New Year comes around and we repeat the process. Again and again.
Let’s take the yearly goal thing and refer it to life. How many of us have had great plans that we wanted to do with our lives? Think back to when you first left high school or college. How many people at age 18 or 20 tell you they are going to do something great with their lives. They make statements like “I’m going to be a president, or a doctor, or a lawyer.” We all have great big dreams and we start with setting the goals to reach them.
The problem isn’t with setting goals. The problem is that people don’t properly plan to actually achieve the goals they’ve set. Your goals are big things you want to achieve but it takes small steps to achieve them. If you don’t take the next steps after you set the goal – figuring out how you will achieve it – you likely won’t succeed.
In many ways, we like to have a big idea about what we want to achieve and we picture ourselves at the point of success but we don’t want to do the actual work of going through the steps to get there. You must see the individual steps needed to achieve your goals and be prepared to analyze your progress and make adjustments when needed.
So, how do you do that? Well, in my e-course called The New You, I go into great detail about what it takes to make your big goals realities. But today I’m going to give you four primary things you need to do.
1. Break it down into smaller steps. When you state a goal, it’s usually something big: “I want to finish my degree.” “I want to buy a new house.” “I want to find a better job.” Whatever it is, think of as many steps as you can figure out to achieve that goal. Start by writing the goal down on a piece of paper. Then underneath write the numbers 1 through 10 and write a step for each number. No matter what the goal is, find 10 steps at least to get there. Even if it’s just driving to the grocery store, I know you can find 10 different steps to get there. You can’t have too many steps written down and if it’s a big goal, you should have a lot more than 10.
2. Set a success measure for each step. In order to evaluate whether or not you are ready for the next step, you need to know whether or not you have successfully achieve the current step. I know it may sound overly simple, but if you fail to successfully complete too many steps, you will not truly reach your goal. Remember what I said at the beginning about shortcuts? Well, those can cause you to not truly achieve the goal you set out for. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Use this evaluation process to make sure you are staying on track and doing each step the right way.
3. Set a timeline and stick to it. If you’re a procrastinator, it’s even more important for you to set timelines to achieve each and every step of your plan. Yes, it’s true that you will miss some of your deadlines, but most of us are much more likely to get things done if there’s a deadline we need to meet. Remember, you’ll achieve your ultimate goal faster if you stay on top of the individual steps so keep that big goal in mind all the time you are working through the individual steps.
4. Be prepared to make adjustments. We’ve all heard of Murphy’s Law. While I don’t believe that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, I do believe that things happen sometimes and we have to be flexible enough to adjust. However, just because you’ve had to give yourself a little more time to achieve one step doesn’t mean you push back your goal. Instead, review the rest of the steps and see where you can adjust your timeline to make up lost time or correct for whatever came up. This way, you keep the fulfillment of your ultimate goal at the same place and work harder to catch up. It reinforces just how important the goal is and how hard you’re willing to work to achieve it.
So, it’s the end of June. You haven’t even started working on the goals you set for yourself in January or you’ve sputtered out and quit working on them. What do you do now? First of all, don’t wait until next January 1st to start over. Make today the first day of the year for you. A year is just a set of 365 days; it doesn’t have to start in January. So you feel like you’ve wasted the first half of the year? Who cares? Make sure right now that you don’t waste the rest of it. Today, sit down and make your goals, then follow the four steps above to prepare yourself for the process.
I’m Tim Gillette, the Rocker Life Coach. It’s time for you to live the life you always wanted, to love what you do and those you share life with. Let us help you become a RockStar in your world