The Power of Planning: Reaching Your Goals with Courageous Action | Episode #108
Many people set goals. Fabulous. Not many people know how to set them correctly, to actually get traction on those goals, nor do they know how to develop a PLAN to achieve them.
Creating a plan is not difficult.
You don’t need to see the whole picture before you can take a step toward your goal.
“I don’t need to see the whole staircase, just the next step.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
CREATE A PLAN
First look at where you currently are. Then identify the things you would need to build the life you are picturing.
For instance, you might find that you need a certain amount of money to make your dream of traveling happen.
In that case, consider all the options available to you to make that money. What extra things can you do? How much would you need to save? How much can you afford to put away and still meet your other obligations?
Maybe you want to achieve a certain level in your career and you realize there’s some experience you need to acquire first.
How can you gain some experience? Who do you know that can be a resource to you?
Whatever your dream and goals, remember that in every case,
You must focus on taking SMALL STEPS that will move you forward.
That might mean the next small promotion. It might mean a small upgrade to your home. It might mean developing any form of small income.
Next, break these smaller goals down even further.
That’s right…you want micro-steps! The objective is to discover the smallest possible step you need to take daily or weekly to get you to your next goal or mile marker.
For example, if your goal is to have a body like Joan McDonald (see Training with Joan) you don’t need to dole out hundreds of dollars for a gym membership,
your smallest daily step can be as easy as 10 squats a day, or reduce your daily calories by 300. Eventually, you can move up to a training plan and diet that works for you, and commit to sticking (flawlessly) to that every single day...
Or, if your goal is to be a top novelist,
then make your daily goal to write 200 words per day. Make your goals easy to accomplish but ensure that they take positive – if small – steps in the right direction.
Now here is the key target > > > Imagine reaching your goal. Let that vision motivate you when the times get rough.
What will it feel like when you reach that goal? How will you wake up in the morning? How will you spend your money? How will you feel? What will it mean for you? How will your family change? How will you change?
Make sure that you take time to think about those things when the days get rough so that you will keep on going.
Remember that your daily target is the roadway to bring you to your destiny. Right now, small steps are all that matter.
To help you visualize this, here is the formula:
Dream or Vision
(Your Overarching Goal or BHAG)
(Stepping Stone Goals)
Changing Your Thinking
So why is this change in thinking so important? The answer is that focusing too much on a distant goal will make you too detached from what it is you’re trying to accomplish.
For instance, if your only ‘goal’ is to become a novelist, then you lack any real structure or plan.
This is going to make it very hard for you to stick to. It’s all too easy for you to get lazy, take shortcuts or even forget all about it. Even if your goal is more specific and time-sensitive – such as losing 15kg in 6 months – you are still too detached from it.
Because a) you might still think it’s okay to skip a workout or to cheat on your diet one day and then ‘put off’ the goal.
By the time you have 1 month left and you’re still no lighter, you might give up. Or what if you stick to the plan as much as possible but you still don’t see the results you want? How disheartening is that? So instead, the goal is the target. You focus just on the one day.
You either succeed or fail. It is entirely down to you. It’s entirely your responsibility and no excuses cut it. But if you keep focusing on the daily targets, you will find that the overarching vision takes care of itself. It’s like building a house brick by brick or taking a journey step-by-step.
Some Final Tips
Just to help you stick to your path, consider a few pointers.
One: keep your daily targets easy to accomplish. Introduce them slowly. Don’t be in a rush to get anywhere. It is better that you just start to enjoy exercise than letting yourself get burned out or put off.
Two: keep track of the days you succeed and lose. Jerry Seinfeld uses this technique and calls it ‘the chain’.
Every day he does what he sets out to do, he puts a big cross on his calendar. This is rewarding and addictive in and of itself and his desire to ‘not break the chain’ is reportedly enough to keep him from giving up.
Three: use the most practical and proven methods to get where you want to be. You must believe in your plan.
Why are we willing to go into work every day but not work on a plan we enjoy and that could make us richer? Simple: because when we go to work we definitely get paid. You need a similar plan. Something that will help you to definitely get where you need to be at least in your mind.
And finally: don’t get disheartened if you miss one day. The aim is not to of course. But if you slip up, go easy on yourself and just jump straight back on that horse!
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