I have heard it my whole life...
Set goals. Winners are goal setters. If you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there. I am a big believer in goals, but honestly was not a true practitioner in my younger years. I thought it was a waste of time at best or an overall discourager at worst.
I was afraid of setting lofty expectations and falling short. Setting myself up for failure. Having to face reality instead of staying comfortably in denial. Kind of like opening the bill drawer or looking at a weight scale...
If I don't look at it, it's not real, right?
As I have aged, I have realized the true importance of setting big and small goals; moreover, I have learned the value in actually pursuing them! (That whole practice what you preach thing...)
Goals matter. You need them.
Without them, you are just floating around wherever the wind blows you. Trust me, living that way will end up being a bigger disappointment in the end. You'll wake up one day and realize that the things you wanted to accomplish have passed you by; then you'll be in a mad rush to make up for lost time.
And you cannot make up for time lost!
Did you know there are quite a few smart people that have said something on GOALS as well through history:
"A goal is a dream with a deadline" - Napolean Hill
"To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal." - A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
"People with goals succeed because they know where they're going." - Earl Nightingale
"The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it." - Jordan Belfort
“I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.” — Zig Ziglar
“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” — Andrew Carnegie
If the answer to going from where we are to where we WANT to be is as simple as copying these smart people, then it would be crazy to not do this, right?
There is a problem...
The issue lies in the very idea of what you are setting out to do. You are speaking your goals out loud or writing them down, yet they still are no more real than when you have them in your head.
They still seem so far away... Affirming them is still not REAL. You need ACTION. You need something to take it from concept to reality.
There needs to be a bridge between thinking of a goal and accomplishing that goal. I am completely stealing this I'm sure, but what you need is called an ACTION STEP. An action step is a physical activity or practice that moves you toward your final destination; it moves your goal from your mind to the real world.
- If your goal is to write a book, an action step is the write one paragraph a day.
- If your goal is to lose 50 lbs, an action step is to go for a 20 minute run daily.
- If your goal is to find a new relationship, an action step is to have a conversation with someone new every day.
It's like the old saying: How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time... Action steps are the individual bites you take in order to eat the whole thing. It's a piece to the whole puzzle. And that's how people achieve great things. One step at a time.
Let's translate this to exercise:
You want to lose 20lbs. You tell yourself that you want to lose 20lbs in the next 90 days. Now let's convert that to some action steps. A great technique is to create an action step a day to move you toward your weight loss goal. For example:
- Day 1: I am going to go for a 30 minute walk.
- Day 2: I am going to have some egg whites instead of my normal chicken biscuit.
- Day 3: I am going to drink only water today.
- Day 4: I will order food at a restaurant and only eat half
- Day 5: I am going to stretch (on purpose) for 10 minutes today
- Day 6: I m going to learn a new, healthy recipe.
- Day 7: I am going to increase my walk today from 30 minutes to 45 minutes.
That is a weeks worth of Action Steps. The key to making them work is not in the intensity, but in the CONSISTENCY. Giving yourself something new and actionable daily will help you to constantly be working towards your goal without having to confine you to strict, redundant rules.
It's a small way to start moving toward a big finish. If the greatest minds in human history believe in setting and achieving goals, then you and I can at least try to model their example. And with the bridge of the Action Step, we just might get there sooner than we ever thought possible.