Tony Robbins’ quote is simple yet effective. How do we get where we want or need to go without that first realisation of a goal? Remember though, the setting of a goal is only the first step. “A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exuperey.
How do we move from goal setting to planning and achieving? We can’t wish for ‘I want that to happen’ and expect it to be so. There is a process that needs consideration of what is desired/what can be achieved, how it is going to be achieved and then dedication and application to bring about that achievement. I have found these four steps to be helpful.
1. Set goals that motivate and resonate with you.
Goals need to be important to you. If you have no interest or see no relevance in the end game, motivation is lost. Set goals that are of a high priority and commit to them. Think of:
Why - do I want to achieve this?
How - will I achieve this?
What - will I need to achieve this (resources and/or knowledge)?
When - do I need to achieve this by?
Who - do I need to help me?
2. Use S.M.A.R.T Goals
Specific - this may seem obvious but focus on the goal you want to achieve. Write down the goal and be specific about the goal and each step required to achieve that goal.
Measurable - if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Set realistic goals you can measure and hold yourself to account for.
Attainable - why would you set a goal you have no chance of reaching? Set yourself up for winning. There may be obstacles or setbacks along the way - learn from them!
Relevant/Realistic - the goal needs to be aligned to your values and your purpose. If the goal is attainable then it is also realistic.
Timely - without a set endpoint, time, energy and focus can be wasted. Unplanned interruptions or suprise successes may see the timeline being reviewed.
3. Create a plan and put it in writing
In business we have strategic goals and business plans that are used to plot and measure progress. The same can be applied to individual goals. The goal written down becomes the starting point of a plan and gives direction for achievement. ‘Begin with the end in mind’.
How do you remain motivated and persevere with application of effort to achieve your goal?. If setting long term goals, break them into shorter term goals and celebrate success at each milestone. Tell someone your goal and ask their permission for you to regularly update them on your progress. Put timeframes in your calendar, block out time for working on specific parts of your plan and set reminders for review, analysis and reevaluation. Keep a journal and use this to reflect, pause and re-calibrate as you need.
I have set a personal goal - to run the Melbourne Marathon on October 14, 2018 and raise funds and awareness for the Cathy Freeman Foundation. I started with a goal - to get fit and to ‘give back’ by supporting charity work for social inclusion and equity (step 1 above). I was very specific about the charity I wanted to work with and how I wanted to get fit (step 2 ‘Specific’), and knew I had to set measurable targets to build up to 42 kms - no-one just runs a marathon without a plan to achieve this (step 2 ‘Measurable’). If I put realistic, measurable goals in place, I knew I could attain the end goal, without becoming demotivated in the process. This is a huge but achievable personal challenge for me (step 2 ‘Attainable’).
The Cathy Freeman Foundation is relevant to me. As a former secondary school teacher the vision and mission of the charity aligns and resonates with my early vocation (step 2 ‘Relevant’). By setting measurable goals - building on the number of km’s I can run each month, I have a timeframe to achieve each small step and the ultimate goal of running 42km on October 14 (step 2 ‘Timely’).
Writing down my visualisations and putting pen to paper I have committed to the goal and created a plan to get to my goal - I’ll let you know how I go with that in October! This process has given me clarity of the end game and regular reviews have shown me where I have needed to change the plan, being flexible with other commitments but still committed to achieving this goal. (step 3). For the last six months, I have dedicated time, set calendar reminders and kept the longer term goal in my focus (step 4). At times this has not been easy with early, cold winter mornings after the previous long working day, but nothing is achieved without some sort of sacrifice and there is always a warm coffee to look forward to after each run.
Everyone’s journey is different and life is not linear. I am a firm believer in setting the goal, putting together an action plan, writing it down, reviewing it consistently to stay on track, keeping focused and staying true to the end game.
Afterall “If you don’t know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else” - Yogi Berra.
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