(This post first appeared on June 12, 2013)
"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important
as what you become by achieving your goals"
~~Henry David Thoreau
I was watching "My Cousin Vinnie", which still cracks me up even after seeing it for the umpteenth time. One scene that sticks in my mind is when Vinnie's car is stuck in the mud. He tries rocking it and flooring the gas pedal, but it just sinks deeper. It occurred to me that sometimes life is like that...we're spinning our wheels and going nowhere. We work so hard and so long on something and end up feeling frustrated because there is so little to show for our efforts.
If this happens to you, I suggest you think about your plan...you know, the roadmap you're following to reach your goal. What's that you say? You have no plan" You just know what needs to be done? No wonder you're frustrated.
Without a plan, it's difficult to accomplish anything. Would you dream of going on a trip without using a map or your GPS? Of course not! Well, your plan is the roadmap to your goal. If you don't know where you're going, any road will do. But "any road" will probably not take you in the direction of your goal. At best it will lead you through several detours first.
Here are some tips I've found that help me reach my goals:
1. Write your goal down on paper or in your phone. Putting it in visual form works wonders and gets it out of your head. Use sticky notes, and post it in several places...your home, your car, your desk at the office. When you can see your goal, you're more apt to work on it.
2. Make sure your goal is SMART -- Specific/Measurable/Achievable/Realistic/Time-bound. For example, "I will lose some weight" is not a good goal because it's not SMART. However, "I will lost 10 pounds in six months" meets the criteria. It's specific, can be measured, can be achieved, is realistic and has a "by when" date.
3. There's a saying that you can eat an elephant as long as it's one bite at a time. This applies to goals too. Breaking a goal into small manageable steps make it less overwhelming. Go from A to B...not A to Z.
4. List all the steps needed to reach your goal and give each one a "by when" date. Then check each step off as it's completed. One very important thing to remember here is...don't chastise yourself if you don't complete a step by the assigned date. You're not a machine...you're a person who has things going on in your life. When you're driving, the GPS will tell you it's "recalculating" if you miss a turn. It's okay to do your own "recalculating" to get back on track.
5. Find someone you trust who supports you and your plan and will remind you of your goal, especially during those times when you lose sight of it or want to quit.
Following these steps will help you move forward. Have you used other strategies to help you reach a goal? Please share them in the "comments" section of this blog. I'd love to hear from you.
IT IS ALL IN YOUR HEAD!