Wednesday, January 9, 2019

How to Achieve Your Goals

Achieving a goal is a lot like assembling a Lego set.

When you buy a Lego set, it has like a million pieces and has to be put together. Inside the box are nice and neat step by step instructions. If you follow these instructions you will, in the end, have met your goal of assembling a house, truck, or car.

I'm sure when the designers at Lego wrote the assembly instructions, they did it while they were putting it together in real time. Lucky for us we don't have to create the assembly instructions for the Lego set, we can just follow the diagrams that the designers so nicely provided.

The difference between assembling something from a set of instructions is that YOU are the designer of your goal. You decide what your goal is and how and when you will achieve it. Maybe your goal is to learn how to sew, to garden, or to run a 5K. These are not skills that we are innately born knowing how to do. They take time to develop and patience to become proficient in these areas.

When I am working towards a goal, I refer to the habits I've learned from Stephen Covey's book "7 Habits of Highly Effective People". The 3 habits I use in my daily life are: Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, and Put First Things First. If you have never read this book, I highly recommend it. It has helped me to prioritize my day, my life and to be more productive.

Set your goals
By setting goals we are being proactive in our lives. We are taking charge and not letting life happen to us. We are not being reactive to the twists and turns of life. We are dreaming and thinking of what our lives could be, rather than accepting that this is all it is.

By setting goals you are rejecting the haphazard way of living and planning ahead to be deliberate in your life. It's time to stop surviving and start being intentional about your days and your life.

If you need help with setting your goals stop and read last weeks post about setting goals. In the post I break down the idea of goal setting into steps and I've also included a planner to help you organize your thoughts.

Break down your goals
After you've finalized your goals and written them down, it's time to break them down into bite size pieces. To do this you need to look at the big picture, Begin with the End in Mind. This means envisioning what the finish line will look like. Looking at the end of your goal and asking what will you have obtained or achieved.

Now work backwards and ask yourself:
What do I need to learn or research?
Will I need to purchase anything?
How can I make this change?

If it's an annual financial goal, then break it down into months or pay periods. 
If it's a weight loss goal, you'll want to change eating habits and maybe purchase new shoes for exercise. 

This may all seem tedious but nothing worth having comes easy.

Create a road map to your goal
This is the part where you write down the steps to achieve your goal. Not only do you have an overall goal but you have smaller goals within the bigger goal. 

I secretly have a desire to run a Disney 5K. I walk 2.5 miles about 4 days a week so bumping up to 3 miles doesn't seem too difficult, it's the running that will be a challenge.

My steps would be:
1. Sign up for a race towards the middle of the year.
2. Purchase a pair of running shoes.
3. Begin running .5 a mile a day.
4. Add .5 a mile every couple of days, until I'm at my goal of 3.1 miles. 

If you notice my number 1 seems out of line with how working up to something would look like. However, I am looking at the big picture. I'm envisioning myself crossing the finish line with the Chariot's of Fire song playing, my head tossed back and my family cheering me on. 

Because I signed up for the race, I am now working towards a goal and then breaking it down. My husband would say I'm reverse engineering it, I kind of like that phrase.

Make your goal a priority in your day
This heading falls under Covey's habit of "Put First Things First". Basically this means work towards your goal first. Make a list of things you need to accomplish for the day and put your goal first. If you put it last on your list, it will fall last on your priorities to get done.

Often times our goal may be something that's hard or something that we truly don't enjoy. I find that if I do it first, then I don't have to worry about it again till tomorrow. I reward myself by doing something I like to do afterwards. It's totally a mind game but it seems to work for me.

One of my goals is to walk everyday. I can't do it first thing in the morning but I can do it in the afternoon. When I wake up I put on my work out clothes and it gives me the mindset that I am going to work out that day.

Zig Ziglar said "What you get by achieving your goal is not as important as what you become by achieving your goal." 

Don't settle for anything less than achieving your goal and becoming a new you!

I'd love it if you shared with me one of your goals and how you broke it down. 

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