So you want to accomplish greatness? At this point in your journey I’m sure you have realized nothing spectacular happens without setting goals. But how? Whether it is a long-term goal (+5 years), Mid-term goals (6 months-1 year) or monthly goals, there is a process to setting and accomplishing these self-imposed missions. Before we get into the process of attaining these ambitions, I am going to recommend that you keep a journal for nothing except your goals. The front pages should be long term goals, then mid-term goals then finally monthly goals (of course, you can create goal time limits that fit your own desires). The following five steps will help you on your journey to success; just remember, the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step!
- Write down you goal and visualize it down to the most minute detail. See it, feel it, hear the sounds that accompany the end result (wind rushing through your hair, applause). Elite athletes visualize their performance ahead of time — right down to the smell of the sweat dripping down their face as they cross the finish line.
- Make a list of the reasons you want to accomplish the goal. I do this by writing them in the back of my goals journal. In our busy, distracting world, it’s easy to get blown off course. This is why you need to ground yourself in your goal. For extra “success insurance,” write your list with a pen. Studies show that when we write by hand and connect the letters manually, we engage the brain more actively in the process. Because typing is an automatic function that involves merely selecting letters, there’s less of a mental connection.
- Break the goal down into smaller pieces and set intermediary targets — and rewards. I’ve called this “chunking” long before there was a Wikipedia to explain that there are eight variations of the concept. To me it’s the best non-pharmaceutical antidote to ADHD. Tony Robbins, arguably the foremost motivational speaker and personal development coach, says: “A major source of stress in our lives comes from the feeling that we have an impossible number of things to do. If you take on a project and try to do the whole thing all at once, you’re going to be overwhelmed.” Enter chunking. My system involves chipping away at a project. Break it down into the smallest realistic steps and only do one at a time. Neuroscience tells us that each small success triggers the brain’s reward center, releasing the feel-good chemical dopamine. This helps focus our concentration and inspires us to take another similar step. Try this with your bête noire, whether organizing your papers and bills or setting out to find a new job.
- Have a strategy, then be prepared to change course. Let Thomas Edison inspire you in this department: “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up." "The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
- And finally, get the help you need. It doesn’t necessarily take a village, but even if you could theoretically accomplish your objective alone, there’s inherent value in sharing your plan. It’s why people get married in front of witnesses. Announcing your intentions sends a strong message to the world and, more important, to your unconscious mind, which can sometimes sabotage our best efforts. Also, we often overestimate our abilities. The flip side is being highly selective about whom you tell and ask for help. It’s akin to the builder’s rule to always get “the right tool for the right job.”
So there you have it! Five steps, if systematically followed, will assist you in achieving your goals. Of course, your path is unique and these steps may be tailored to your own individual journey. And of always keep in mind: “Life is a Journey, its not where you end up, but how you got there.”