It’s that time of year where people re-evaluate their goals or set new goals for the coming year and just last week, I gave a speech on this topic. How many of you use this time of year to set goals and actually follow through with reaching all of them? In the past, I used to have a hard time setting and accomplishing goals. Somewhere along the way, I lost focus and that fire in the belly to keep going after what I wanted to achieve. When I became a runner, I had to learn how to stay focused in order to train and be successful at races. I came up five steps that helped me each those goals and I have taken those steps and applied it to my everyday life.
“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” ~ Orison Swett Marden
- Write it down – I’m sure you have heard many, many times, write your goal down on a piece of paper. But how many times have someone mentioned, write down WHAT STEPS you need to take to get you there and WHY you want to achieve that goal? It’s great to have an idea in mind, but if you don’t have a plan, how are you going to get there? Writing down the WHY is important because there will be days when you wake up and you feel unmotivated. For example, it’s 14 degrees outside and it’s 4 am. I was up late working and have had only 4 hours of sleep. I absolutely do not want to get my butt out of my warm bed to go outside or even hit the treadmill at the gym. I have to remind myself that I have a goal to reach. I have a 50k this week and then 5 more ultras coming down the line. When I wrote down “Why” I wanted to run these races, I wrote down because I want to be one of the top ultra-runners in the area someday. And that thought helps reignite that fire in my belly and I stumble out of bed, make lots of coffee and get on my way to training.
“Accountability breeds response-ability.” ~Stephen Covey
- Tell someone – You know when they say you want something, you put it out to the Universe? It’s true! You should tell someone. Telling someone what your goals are can be scary and you have to be prepared to not always get the feedback you expect to hear. There’s a funny saying amongst my friends…if it’s Facebook public, then you have to do it. It’s kind of true isn’t it? Once you put it out there, you now have ownership of your goal. You become accountable for it. When I was contemplating signing up for a 100-miler, I put it out there. Once I did, I felt that I had no choice but to see it though. People who know about it would ask about training or about the race itself and they helped make me feel accountable for going after this dream.
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” ~Jim Rohn
- Become Disciplined – Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want the most. Go back to your journal and look that the “Whats.” What do you need to do to reach your goal? Is reading informational material on the subject at hand is part of your equation? Then be disciplined to take 10 -20 minutes every day to do that, even if you’d rather watch TV. Hey look, I like Scandal as much as the next person, but Olivia Pope is not going to help me cross that finish line. Watching Walking Dead is not going to prepare me for giving motivational speeches. For me, sticking to my training schedule is crucial in reaching my running goals and spending time writing and giving speeches is what’s going to help me become a motivational speaker. If your goal requires you to go to the gym 3 or 4 days a week, put it on your calendar and do it. No excuses.
“Remember, you and you alone are responsible for maintaining your energy. Give up blaming, complaining and excuse making, and keep taking action in the direction of your goals – however mundane or lofty they may be.” ~Jack Canfield
- Be true to yourself – In life, we are constantly being let down, even by the people that we love. When you set a goal, you are making a promise to yourself. There was a reason why you set this goal for yourself and anytime you make an excuse to not do something that you need to do to achieve that goal, you are letting yourself down. Why? Don’t you think you’re important enough to not let yourself down? If you can’t count on yourself, then what good is that? Stay true to yourself.
“I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” ~Henry Thoreau
- Reflect and Reset – So, you’ve worked your butt off and you finally accomplished that goal that you set for yourself. It’s time to reflect on how you got there. What worked? What didn’t? Take what worked for you, enhance or improve upon it if you can, and incorporate it into your plan for chasing your next big dream. Look at what didn’t work and ask why. Should you modify it or just get rid of it altogether? Then reset and prepare to take on your next challenge. Knowing that you were able to follow through and reach a goal that you set for yourself will give you the confidence for when times get rough and you start to doubt yourself. Take what you learned to make your road map to reaching your next target a little easier.
Five steps, that’s all you really need to help you reach your goals. 1) Write it down, 2) Tell someone, 3) Be Disciplined, and 4) Be true to yourself. 5) Reflect and Reset. If you are consistent with these steps, I have no doubt that you’ll succeed.
What’s your big goal for 2016?
“I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply all my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy.” ~ Og Mandino