“There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation – veneer isn’t worth anything.” George Washington Carver
Are your daily actions bringing you closer to your goals? If not, do not expect the things in your life you need and want changed, to change.
It feels comforting to hear motivational speakers tell us how to achieve goals to make our lives prosperous. It’s very inspiring to read books and articles on how to overcome the challenges in life to achieve your desired goals.
All of these are great for encouraging and empowering you to set and pursue your goals. But, the key to achieving any goal is to action.
No more New Year’s resolutions
Most people talk and dream about achieving their goals. At the beginning of each year, millions of people create a wish list of things they want to accomplish. We usually call this list our New Year’s Resolutions.
I was one of the many people who set New Year’s Resolutions. But usually, before the end of January, I had given up, fallen behind, reverted to things as usual, overdone it or failed. The real tragedy is not that I failed to achieve my resolutions, but rather that I didn’t have a specific plan that positioned me for success.
Planning is an essential part of setting specific vision goals. No successful business, corporation or organization was built without a plan. You may have great dreams and high expectations, but without a plan, they are just lofty aspirations.
In years past, I developed a list of good intentions, but I never had a real plan in place to help me accomplish my goals. As a result, I was left discouraged and disappointed.
A few years ago, I decided to stop setting New Year’s resolutions and began setting three to five challenging and goals.
Instead of waiting for the beginning of the year to set unfocused and generic goals, me and my family start working on our personal and family goals a week before Thanksgiving. By the end of the first week of December, we have solid goal achieving plan.
Our goals plan is not written in concrete or unchangeable terms, but it gives us a starting point and a destination to reach. People often ask me about the plan we follow to set and achieve our family and personal goals.
I share with them our simple goals plan. I do not promise a magical formula that provides a guarantee your goals will automatically happen if you follow our twelve steps or you will have no struggles and everything will happen in your life the way you want at the exact time you desire.
In order to achieve your goals, you must make sacrifices, commit to daily, overcome challenges and work your plan. No one can do it for you. It is your responsibility.
The Twelve Simple Steps
If you are passionate about achieving your goals our Twelve Simple Steps to Achieving Your Goals will help you write and implement an achievable goals plan that will forever change your life.
1. Spend quality time alone with God developing your goals.
I advise you to get alone in a quiet place by yourself away from the distractions of life and begin to seek God’s face.
Put away your mobile devices, shut down the computer and turn off the television. Tell your family and friends this is your set time for seeking God’s face to hear His directions and you do not want to be disturbed.
2. Define your goals in writing.
It is very important that you take your pen, paper and a Goals Matter! Planning Sheet with you during your quiet time. Record in detail the goals you desire to accomplish because you are fooling yourself if you think you can remember everything that comes to mind in your quiet time.
When you begin to define your goals in writing make sure they are SMART: Specific – Measurable – Actionable – Reinforcing –Trackable. Written goals will help bring better clarity to your life. When you document your goals you create a road map to focus your directions.
3. Create measures to success.
Now that you have defined your goals, the next step is to create ways to measure your progress. It is not enough to say I have a goal, but you need to have a way to measure your progress. You define your measures for success by:
1. Term (length of time)
- Short Term (within a year)
- Medium Term (within three years)
- Long Term (over three years)
2. The Life Area – spiritual, relational, physical, social, financial, mental or professional.
3. Dates – Start date, target completion date and actual completion date.
Adding these measurables to your goals brings a greater energy and excitement to achieve them. If you don’t meet your measurables please don’t give up, you may need to make some readjustments or changes. You may need to quit doing something one way and try doing it another way.
4. Define possible opportunities for success.
Are you ready to define your opportunities for success? What potential opportunities do you know about that will bring you possible success or someone connected to you? Is it a job promotion, a more lucrative career, a new investment or a great business deal?
One technique that I found very helpful to focus my goals planning was to list several opportunities for success in accomplishing a particular goal. I personally like to list three to four opportunities. Let’s use the example of a goal of losing 20 lbs. in four months.
Here are a few things I would list as possible opportunities for success: I will physically feel better, I will be more confident, I will have to buy a new wardrobe and I would be able to participate in more physical activities.
You can list as many opportunities for success as you desire. Your list will become a huge part of your motivation to achieve your goals when times of discontentment, discouragement and doubt come.
5. Identify obstacles to success.
Now that you have spent time alone developing your goals, you have written them down, set measures to success and defined possible opportunities for success everything should be smooth sailing, right? Wrong! Obstacles will come to attempt to distract and detour your goals plan.
You may be able to identify some of the obstacles in the beginning, but some will come out of nowhere. You may feel fearful about going after your goals because you know that opposition will come. You may think your life will be easier if you stay in your comfort zone, but opposition will come even if you stay in your comfort zone or not. So you might as well do what you need to do to accomplish your goals.
When you are growing and moving towards your goals, your vision pursuit and passion to succeed will equip and empower you to deal with any obstacles. You will gain strength to overcome your opposition by remaining focused on your goals.
I suggest that you identify at least three obstacles that you feel may try to prevent you from achieving your goals. List the potential obstacles that you have identified for each of your goals on your Goals Matter! Planning Sheet and begin your journey of overcoming them to successfully achieve your goals.”
6. Breakdown goals into manageable action steps.
When you have a large goal that you want to accomplish, the best thing to do is break your large goal into smaller more manageable action steps.
If you focus on the enormity of the large goal it can become too overwhelming. If you try to do the large goal all at once it can lead to certain frustration and quick burn out. If you take the large goal and break it down into smaller measureable action steps you set yourself up for success because you make your large goal more obtainable. It is much easier to bust a large stone with several small strikes than one big hit.
If you have a large goal you want to accomplish our Goals Matter! Planning Sheets have a section where you can list at least ten smaller action steps with a begin date, target completion date and an actual completion date. Taking the time to break your goal into smaller manageable action steps will put you on the right road to your goals success.
7. Identify people, resources or skills needed.
What resources or skills do you have or need to acquire to accomplish your goals? Who are the people you will need on your team to help you achieve your goals?
You may have to take a class or do an in depth self-study on a particular subject to educate yourself on a new skill or re-educate yourself on an old skill that you will need. Trust me; you are going to need help from others. Don’t be ashamed or too prideful to ask for help.
You can’t do it alone. You will need the support, encouragement and someone to share ideas with. Identify and acquire the resources, skills and/or people you will need and go to work.
8. Demonstrate a progressive attitude.
Setting goals is easy, but achieving them is a different story. You must find a way to implement a healthier routine to yield the results you desire. No matter how small or big the goal you set, you must create and implement new habits.
How do you expect to achieve your goals with the same tired habits you have failed with year after year? Nothing will change unless you make daily changes. You will continually fail to achieve your goals if your daily habits do not change.
Forming new habits is hard. It requires daily action. The promise of rewards will drive you in the beginning. But if you don’t remain consistent and committed, after a couple weeks, your drive will fizzle and you will return to business as usual. If you want your new habits to stick, believe you can change, and take action.
9. Take action.
What actions have you taken to turn your goals into reality? Once you have a written goals plan it is time to take action. It is your responsibility to make daily decisions to do something to move forward.
You can’t wait for the right deal, the right people to support you or the right situation to happen before you take action on your goals.
You could have written the most captivating, compelling and challenging goal possible, but if you don’t take a course of action to implement your plan, your goal will remain just a wonderful dream. Once you have a desired goal, you can use our Goals Matter! Planning Sheets to properly set your goal in detail and then take immediate action.
10. Monitor your goals regularly.
As you move forward with your goals, you will need to periodically monitor them. It is important to know where you stand in your goals progress in order to make any necessary adjustments or changes.
You may find you need to go right instead of going left or you may have to extend the time of when you can complete an action step or the overall goal. You may discover that a goal you may set needs to be eliminated because it no longer aligns with your overall life’s vision.
Monitoring your goals regularly will give you the view of where you are and whether or not you are on the right course to completing your goal. The Goals Matter! Planning Sheets are great documents to regularly monitor where you are on your goals progress.
11. Reward yourself.
I don’t want to make achieving your goals all work. You have heard the saying, “all work and no play makes you dull”. During the process of reaching your goals you need to implement rewards that follow key steps in your action plan. This will enforce your desire to move forward to the next step on your way to accomplishing your big goal.
Please make your goal achievement a fun and exciting process. Now don’t overdo it with rewards because you still have an overall goal to reach. Your minor victories deserve applause!
You can establish bigger rewards as you accomplish more steps to your overall larger goal. This recognition will enforce where you are going and provides an incentive to get the job done.
12. Keep moving forward.
Please know that when you take action, opposition and obstacles will try to take you off course. They will come at you daily with a relentless arsenal trying to hinder your forward progress. I admonish you to:
a. Commit to your specific goals path regardless of setbacks, challenges or failures.
b. Continually surround yourself with people who will encourage your forward movement.
c. Consistently show up every day to do the work necessary to achieve your goals.
d. Confidently operate in your abilities, talents and gifts.
e. Courageously fight through the temptation to quit.
If you are ready to create an effective goals plan, sign up for our FREE blog updates and download our Goals Matter! eBook on our website.