It is hard to believe, but we are already over a 1/3 of the way through 2010! I don’t know about you, but I feel like I blink and years go by. Life passes by so fast that it is easy to forget that before we know it, we will end up where we are headed. For some of us, that destination is deliberate, planned and well strategized. For others, we land somewhere, draw a bull’s eye around ourselves and declare it a victory.
So if we are traveling at warp speed all of the time, how do we stop long enough to decide where it is we want to end up? Here are a 7 easy to understand, hard to follow tips to get you started:
1. STOP! While we would like to think we are the masters of multi-tasking, it is impossible to do two things at once. Unless you give yourself some time to reflect, think and focus on what you want, it won’t happen. Take some time out of your day or week to drift off in thought. What are your goals? What are your dreams? What do you want your life to look like? If you don’t take the time to do this, it will be done for you.
2. Define your priorities. At first blush, this seems ridiculous. Of course we would like to think we value relationships more than money and family more than work. But do we really? When push comes to shove, do your actions support your real priorities? I bet if you went to a nursing home and asked everyone over the age of 80 what they wish they would have done differently if they could do it again, none of them would say, “I would have worked more overtime!” It is easy to give this lip service, but look at your decisions every day. Do your actions match your intentions?
3. What would you try if you knew you wouldn’t fail? What a powerful question. If you didn’t have your own self-imposed limitations, what would you try? Don’t be afraid to get out of your own way. The only difference between the people who have achieved their dreams and those that haven’t, is that those who have didn’t tell themselves it wasn’t possible. Don’t be afraid to think big. I think most of the time, the reason we don’t achieve our goals is not because we set our target too high and miss but because we set it too low and hit it.
4. Write it down. People who write down their goals are 88% more likely to accomplish them. Why? Writing it down forces you to crystallize your thinking. Remember the goal setting formula S.M.A.R.T. Goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. Goals are different than action steps. Goals help you determine where you want to end up. Action steps help define how you will get there. While setting your goals, take time to identify potential obstacles and solutions that you might face along the way. You know you’ll have them. You might as well anticipate how to overcome them.
5. Be accountable to someone. It helps to have someone there to give you a swift kick in the … well, you know. We cannot accomplish everything on our own. While you certainly want someone who is supportive, you also want someone who won’t take excuses. Everyone once in a while, we need someone to hold our feet to the fire.
6. Know Your W.I.I.F.M. (What’s In It for Me?) Motivation doesn’t just happen. In order to stay motivated, you have to really dig down and figure out why it is important to you. When you get discouraged, it is the only way to keep pluggin’. If you need a little extra motivation, check out Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture.
7. Don’t just sit there, do something! If you wait for the magical moment to get started, you may be waiting a long time. Remember, the only 2 reasons we don’t accomplish our goals: 1. We don’t start or 2. We don’t finish. Take action today!
After reading this, you might say, “Well, Anne, that’s all nice and good, but I just don’t have the time.” Remember, the reason you can’t is the very reason you need to! Pick up a pen and piece of paper and write down one goal you WILL accomplish by the end of May. GO FOR IT!