Step 1: Figure out Where You Are.
Whether it’s a road trip, or a dream…you’re more likely to get to where you want to be by first having a good understanding of where you are. Want a new job? Assess your skills. Want to loose weight? Get on a scale and take note of your starting weight. Want to buy a house? Review your finances and your credit. By taking a long hard look at where you are today, you’re better able to determine what’s needed to move you forward.
Step 2: Know Where you Want to Go
Once you have a starting point it’s very important to get clear on where you want to end up. It helps to get specific. Think of your dreams and goals like an online store; what items do you want to add to your shopping cart? If your goal is to loose weight, how much weight exactly? What do you want that end weight to be? Do you want a new career? What specifically do you want your new to be.
Sometimes we are so unhappy with where we are that we’d take anything that brings about change. But I challenge you – define that “anything”, get clear about what you want.
You can’t improve on what you don’t measure.
Step 3: Visualize
Now that you know what you want, it’s time to pretend that you already have it. Let’s say that there’s a particular neighborhood that you want to live in – attend an open house or two, make yourself an address label, visit the local grocery store… putting yourself in the picture helps make it more real.
Vision boards are also a fantastic tool to help with visualization. Find pictures and quotes that represent achieving your goals, then stick them all on a board, and place that board in a prominent place that you will look at every day.
Step 4: Set a Time Line
An essential part of goal setting is setting a due date. This adds in a layer of accountability and forces you to stay on track. For years Amanda talked about her desire to write a book, and for years the book was never written. Then one year, she gave herself a hard deadline. She’s have a book completed by the end of the year (she planned to write a chapter every month), she downloaded a countdown app, and every day she had a reminder of how much time she had left. This kept the intensity up, and she was able to finish the book.
Step 5: Believe you Can Do It
Sometimes we find ourselves with a dream or a goal that feels so far away from our reality we doubt if we can even attain it. It can be very challenging to see beyond our present situation. This is especially the case when you’re going through a dark time, whether it’s a heart break, or a financial set back. Even when it seems dark, and you feel like all hope is gone…you must dig deep, find that faith, and believe that you can accomplish your goal, that you will get out of the situation you are trying to leave. It’s not enough to say it, or to take pictures of it…you must believe it is possible.
Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t…you’re right.
Step 6: Research How to do It and Set Action Items
Some goals, especially the big ones, can seem a little daunting; the key is to not get overwhelmed by the big picture, but instead break that down to smaller manageable action items that bring you closer to your target, it’ll be easier to create and keep momentum in moving you forward.
Samantha had a life long goal of running a half marathon. For her, the goal seemed almost unreachable. She couldn’t run a mile, she couldn’t even run for a full minute straight. How was she ever going to run 13.1 miles??? Well, she did just what I’m advising you to do: she research how to do it, then she set mini goals that would get her to where she wanted to be. She researched running programs, and started an 8 week program to run a mile. From there she started a 5k (3 mile program), and then a 10k (6 mile program), and then it was time for her to start the half marathon 13 mile running program), less than a year after not being able to run for a minute, she crossed the finish line at the half marathon.
“How to eat and elephant? One bite at a time”.
Step 7: Surround Yourself with the Right People
We’ve all heard the saying “it takes a village…” that’s because most goals in life require a team effort. Take a look at the people you spend most of your time with. Do they make you feel better, more confident, more inspired, more motivated? Or do they have the opposite effect? Do they pull you closer to accomplishing your dream, or do they push you farther away?
Distancing ourselves from the people who don’t fit into our lives is not always easy, but it is a critical step in moving you forward. Build a village. Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Seek out mentors and support groups. Find people who have accomplished the task that you have set for yourself and seek their advice, or read their story.
Step 8: Take Action…and do it NOW
It takes more than wishing and hoping to get things done. You must also take action. Not tomorrow, not on Monday, not when you have more time, or when you get the new job. But right now. There is no time like the present; the present moment is the only moment that exists. Roll up those sleeves and get to work. Show up, even when you don’t feel like it.
Not every goal can be accomplished in a day. Set action items, and start every day with a plan. What’s that one thing you can do to move you forward? Do that, and do it today!
Step: 9. Even when there are setbacks and failures…DON’T QUIT
Have you ever watched a toddler learn to walk? They take a few steps, then they topple over, then they pull themselves back up and take a few more steps. They fall many more times, but then they start falling less. They get more coordinated, they get stronger, and eventually, they start walking…even the most seasoned athletes started off this way. Failure is a part of success.
When the setbacks come, and they often do come, it’s important to keep going. Seek out the learning opportunity, use it to make yourself stronger, more aware, more prepared, and then try again.
Step 10: Count your blessings
Journeys often include highlights and low points. While it’s tempting to get fixated on the setbacks, it’s incredibly important to celebrate the little victories and milestones along with way. It’s that energy of celebrating your successes that often leads to more success.
A great practice is to end each day by writing in a victory log – document what you are grateful for, what milestones you reached during the day, and something you learned that will help you on your journey.