Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard to achieve it. If you’re like me, my reflection time was always during quiet moments in January, drifting into my thoughts as I started to contemplate the inevitable, dreaded return to work and toil for the year. With the warm sun on my back I’d imagine how awesome it would be to win Tattslotto, what I’d be doing the same time next year or what did that guy over there do, he seemed to be doing OK. While it’s comforting to have dreams and a feeling that fate will look after you, without clarity and focus one year turns into the next and the next as the world continues to spin ever so faster with you hanging on for dear life.
Think how liberating it would feel to set your own path, to block out life’s white noise, take control, become focused, energised and fulfilled so next year your celebrating your achievements not waiting for devine intervention.
Tip 1 Get Started - “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ~ Lao Tzu was a Chinese philosopher and writer who lived 2500 years ago, just shows you how long goal setting has been around. It is one of the easiest, yet most powerful tools we can use in both our personal and professional lives yet the majority of us don’t. Why? Well life’s busy right, we don’t have enough time, well I guarantee with a clear set of goals to work to, you will have more time as the meaningless activities fall away.
First, grab some quiet time for yourself, this may be on a lazy Sunday afternoon, meditating, going for a run or even in the shower. Just a tip, it's not a good idea to do this after a stressful day at the office or a full day with the kids. Pause and do an honest stocktake on where you’re at, do you feel fulfilled, are you happy, what is weighing you down, what excites you, what needs more attention, what are you passionate about. Areas to think about are your family, friends, business or professional life, health and wellbeing, financial security, hobbies and community pursuits.
Tip 2 Balance - Now we know what’s important to you it's time to narrow the focus, write down 3 short term goals you can achieve in the next 12 months and 1 long stretch goal in the next 3 years. Some examples of 1 year goals would be to quit smoking, change jobs or spend more time with friends whereas a 3 year goal may be to buy an investment property, start a new business or live overseas. The important thing here is that you must be passionate about them and they need to be complimentary or balanced. What I mean by this you must be able to achieve all and one shouldn’t detract from another.
Tip 2 What gets measured gets done - Which of these two goals do you think I am more likely to be motivated by and achieve, to lose weight or to lose 10kgs in 10 weeks so I can fit into my bathers for summer. So now ask yourself is my goal specific enough, am I clear about what I need to do and will I know when I have achieved it. The more focused you can get the better. Can I measure it, a goal must be measurable so you see your progress, allowing you to break it down into bite size chunks, plan ahead or change the way you are going about it if you are not on track. Back to my goal of losing 10kgs, if I knew I had a weekend away with friends I might plan to throw in a couple of extra gym sessions to compensate. While I am a believer of shooting for the stars and setting goals which stretch your capability, it still needs to be realistic. Setting goals which you never achieve can have the opposite effect, I might really want to win the 100m sprint gold medal however this is never going to happen and would be contradictory to my other goals of starting a business or spending more time with my family. Lastly your goal needs a time boundary, the ability of other things to get in the way is too great if we leave it open ended whereas a looming deadline focuses our efforts.
Tip 3 Be Bold - Now commit yourself, put yourself out there, be bold, tell your family, friends or colleagues what your goals are. Verbalising why these goals are important to you will start to focus your thinking, belief and actions on achieving them. Also, we are only human and even the most confident of us have a fear of failure, of living up to the expectations we have set with others and ourselves. It’s funny how those constant good natured question about how things are going when you run into friends can serve as a powerful internal motivator and keep us on track as our enthusiasm wanes or a setback gets in our way.
Tip 4 Visualise - Do you remember a time when you wanted something so badly, you could taste it, smell it, see yourself enjoying it, that desire to achieve it became so ingrained in everything you did that everything else seemed to pale in comparison. This is the power of visualisation, where the emotion and feeling of success is played out in your mind over and over until it's a certainty even before it has happened. What does success look like, put a picture of it on your wall, use it as a screen saver or stick it on the bathroom mirror. Write a letter from the future you describing how amazing it feels now you have reached your goal and read it back as motivation.
Tip 5 Act - There will never be the perfect time to start, you need to create it, it's time to act. Make a plan on how you will go about achieving your goal, what resources will you need, do you need addition knowledge, do you need support. Greatness comes from a lot of little things done well, constantly, day after day. Start building momentum toward your goal, at the start of everyday write down 3 things that will get you closer to your goal and tick them off by day's end. Make your little list of actions a habit, a daily ritual which ensures you are always moving forward without even noticing it.
Tip 6 Celebrate - Finally, achieving a goal is one of the most satisfying and empowered things you can do, so enjoy the journey, celebrate your little wins, a milestone achieved, a better outcome than you thought possible or an obstacle that you managed to calmly overcome. Take time to reflect and celebrate your success, then sit down and set your next goal because once you have tasted it I guarantee you won’t stop there.