Day 43 at the Ronald McDonald House. Evan is showing fantastic progress, and we are hoping and praying that this will be our last week. It’s time to start getting back to work and to really begin 2011.
As a new year begins, we start thinking about resolutions and goals. I like to think of goals as a “roadmap” that helps me get to where I’m going. I guess it doesn’t help that I’m “directionally challenged”. When I am going to drive somewhere I’ve never been, the first thing I generally do is go to Google Maps to get directions. Once you provide your starting location and destination, Google magically provides several different route options, and it is up to you to figure out which one will be most efficient in getting you from Point A to Point B. Google, you’re a genius!
Life is kind of like a Google Map. We all have the same starting location, and we certainly all have the same destination. Our job is to pick the right route. We get to choose one that either lets us get there faster, avoids the highways, explores the scenery, takes detours, etc.
Have you ever driven for miles and miles, only to realize you’re going in the wrong direction? Talk about frustrating! I think the biggest difference between an everyday trip and our life is that when we realize we’re going the wrong way on a trip, we turn around as soon as possible so that we don’t waste time. I’m curious as to why we continue to do what we know isn’t getting us where we want to go in our life. Why don’t we feel the same sense of urgency? For some of us, it’s time to make a U-Turn!
So what are the steps to Google Mapping your life? Here’s a good place to start:
1. What do YOU want? This is not what your spouse, children, boss, or co-workers want. What do YOU want? What is most important to YOU? Have you taken time to really think about what you want? Most of us get so caught up in daily activity, we leave little to no time to think about bigger picture things.
2. Are you on the right track? Is what you are doing now getting you closer to your goal? If not, don’t keep going…stop and re-evaluate. When people say to me, “I just don’t have time to do this” my response is that you don’t have time not to.
3. Remove self-imposed barriers of limitation. Let’s face it, the reason Donald Trump has risen from bankruptcy so many times is that it never occurred to him he could fail. We are the ones that limit ourselves. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting out of our own way.
4. Set a few specific goals. Remember, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Try to find a way to make your goals specific and quantifiable. Set goals that are challenging enough to push you, but not so challenging that you are setting yourself up to fail.
5. Write down daily action steps in your calendar. Accomplishing goals isn’t the hard part. Doing the daily tasks needed to accomplish the goal is where we run into problems. Pick a deadline and work backwards in your calendar to assign daily action steps.
6. Stop to refuel. We refuel our cars because if we didn’t, we would fizzle out and go nowhere. Make sure you are just as kind to yourself. What is your fuel? Is it alone time, sleep, family time, exercising, eating well, or something else altogether? It’s like in the movie Cars where Lightening McQueen thinks he’s so smart because he doesn’t waste time refueling. He was ahead for a while, but it finally caught up to him. We can only go so far on fumes.
7. Hold yourself accountable. If your boss told you to have a project done on time, you’d find a way to do it. You are the CEO of your life. If you don’t create a system of accountability, no one else will.
8. Track your progress and celebrate success. For some reason, when we don’t accomplish a goal we beat ourselves up, but when we accomplish a goal we’re quick to gloss over our accomplishment or attribute it to luck. Work hard. Then, reward yourself.