So, I want to keep it simple.
“Overnight success” is a myth. Conscious people increase their likelihood of winning at life through consistent and repeated steps. The steps, by design, lead to an end goal.
But the goal is nothing without a purpose. How likely are you to achieve something extremely difficult without really burning for it?
That’s where your why comes in.
Why do you want to do it? Is it the most pragmatic solution for the problem you’re trying to solve? And most importantly, is your motivation bigger than the obstacle itself?
Shortly before my year-long deployment to Afghanistan is over, I jump off the back of a tailgate of a C-130 to exit the aircraft while we were rotating between locations. This time as my boots hit the hard desert floor, the second my boots hit the ground that something is wrong. The weight of the load bearing vests along with the gear we were carrying was too much and intense pain sets in.
I return home from my year-long deployment. My hip hurts so badly I can hardly walk. The orthopedic surgeon explains that my hip had jammed so hard into the socket when I made the jump that it damaged my hip beyond repair.
“You need a full hip replacement,” he said, adding that I probably would never run again or compete at taekwondo. Running was one of my releases and Taekwondo was half of what molded me into the man I’d become.
I’m only 48-years old when the orthopedic surgeon explains the situation to me. So I have a choice to make — pain free 50s or pain free 70s. I choose the latter and bite the bullet.
I have to learn to walk again. My wife Denise maps out my rehab schedule as soon as I can stand with the help of a cane. Every single afternoon we’re out on the track together. She’s with me every step of the way — literally — making me laugh, nudging me, cajoling me, doing whatever it takes to help me get back on my feet again.
Sometimes I got so angry during that period of my life that I’d just throw my walking cane down. But my wife was always there to pick it up and encourage me to keep on going.
You see, it’s one thing to say, “I want to run again.” It’s an entirely different matter when you can hardly get out of bed. So you’ve got to have your why, but that’s not enough.
This is where you have to be specific. Every goal should be made of dozens of smaller objectives. If you aren’t specific, it isn’t a goal — it’s a wish without any substance.
Let’s say your goal is to have more time to spend with your family and loved ones. That’s not specific enough. What are your obligations? What’s your job? Okay, so maybe you have to work full-time and long hours right now in order to support your family, but what would happen if you had passive income or other streams of revenue? Well, conceivably you can spend more time with your family if you don’t have to work full-time. So your goal might be to have more time to spend with your family, but now you are starting to come up with how you’ll achieve it. You need passive income or other streams of revenue.
Maybe the goal within the goal is to start a blog with an online shop. Then the goal within that goal is to work on content and figure out exactly what you’ll sell. This process can be broken down until you arrive at your first step. From there it’s all about baby steps. Before you know it, you’ll go from walking towards your dreams, to sprinting full stride.
The Two Components of a Goal
Do you have your goals written down? How often do you look at them? Truth is, I didn’t really always have a mission of “On Monday I’m going to do this… On Tuesday I’m going to do that…” Because you know what? Life happens in the middle. As long as you have goals written down — and really, the key is writing them down — you can review and reference them in order to remain focused. A goal has two key components: a timeline and a way to measure it. Tomorrow is an opportunity, but it can just as easily become an indefinite excuse. I’ll do it tomorrow is the silent killer of dreams. A timeline is your safeguard against it.
Goal setting requires the belief in yourself to achieve what you’re setting out to accomplish. In order to do this, I learned to write a mission statement for myself. That mission statement is the way that I operate every day and how I approach the day. I talk to myself about how I will conduct myself, how I’m going to achieve things, or how I’m going to really focus, and that’s something most people do not do.
First off, I was blessed with an amazing support system. But the other key part of learning to walk again was developing a process to achieve a goal. Next comes the how. How are you going to get there? In my case, I wanted to run again, but first, I needed to relearn to walk. But before I could even get to that point, I had to walk with a cane. But because I’d set such specific goals, I was able to pass my physical to stay in the service and within a year of that dire prognosis, my wife and I ran a triathalon.
In this blog, I enjoy having a conversation with you, so I speak from my heart. Nevertheless, I truly want you to benefit from my personal experiences, so I want to provide you with clear steps on goal setting and achieving based upon what I provided here.
Based upon what you know of yourself, what’s important to you, what other people say about you, and what you would like to achieve, create a mission statement that defines who you are and what you’re about. This may be tweaked as you move forward, but it will give you direction and focus.
Figure out exactly what you want right now. This want, or goal, will more than likely line up with your mission statement in some capacity. Remember to be specific. For example, “I want to lose 20 pounds in six months” is specific; whereas, “I want to lose weight” is not. You will always continue to create new goals on a regular basis, either as you achieve past goals or when you need to modify existing ones.
Decide upon a realistic time frame to achieve this goal. This will keep you from wandering around aimlessly without a sense of direction. A completion date helps you to remain focused.
Create a realistic plan to achieve your goal within the specific time. This plan will consist of several smaller goals that support the main goal. The smaller goals may be set by the week or by the month, and should help to support the main goal that you’re aiming to accomplish. For example, let’s say that my goal is to complete a professional development book in 12 months. I could set smaller goals of writing 10 pages a week or completing one chapter a month. The smaller goals make the main goal feel achievable because it is broken down into smaller and manageable chunks that I can easily see myself completing. Belief is important if you want to achieve any goal. It is the key to taking action.
Create daily tasks, either three, five, or seven days a week that support the completion of the smaller goals, which will then support the completion of the main goal.
Take the time to review your goals daily. You can do this 1-2 times a day – once in the morning when you wake up and once before you go to sleep at night. You may also look at your goals throughout the day. Looking at them often causes you to think about them often, which allows you to remain focused on accomplishing them.
I grew up in a mobile home. Now I sit on my lanai in Hawaii for vacations. You can listen to those who do, or those who say they want to and don’t ever. Results come from action and action comes from ideas acted upon. Even when you stumble, even when you fail, keep going.
I’m going to leave you with a quote that resonates with me:
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” ~Chinese Proverb
Stay in the fight,