Thursday, June 19, 2008

Goals or Just Daydreams?

Originally uploaded by rachywhoo

When someone asks you about your goals do you:

1. Tell them you have some but you prefer to live minute to minute and take life as it comes.

2. Tell them you have lots of goals, but, when pressed, can't remember the top 5.

3. Tell them you have lots of goals and offer to show them your list and your plans.

If you answered 1 or 2, you do not have goals. You have dreams. An like dreams, they may or may not come true because you're leaving them to chance.

The first step in the myriad of goal setting programs offering advice you can probably figure out for yourself, is to make your goals solid by writing them down. Writing, the kinesthetic act of writing, adds power to what you want to achieve. To set your goals before you is to establish a destination. Much like driving to somewhere you've never been before, it is very difficult to visualize the end of the trip. You need a destination and, most importantly, a road map...a plan.

It really doesn't matter who you listen to about goals. Brian Tracy's "Goals," or Stephen Covey's "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," or any of the others. Write down your goals and then develop a plan for achieving them. A goal without a plan is also just a dream.

"But how do I develop this plan of which you speak, oh sage Joe?" Easy, really. Imagine what it would be like to achieve your goal. I mean close your eyes and visualize your life at the point you complete your goal. sounds a little flaky...but go someplace quiet and give it a try. Once you have a good picture of your life at that point, think about the step just preceding the accomplishment of the goal. Was it sending that last mortgage check? Was it seeing the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon?

Then go to the step before that....the second to last check....last 3 miles of the marathon...etc. Work backwards all the way until today. Write it all down. When you finish, there's your map!

You don't have to work on all of your goals at the same time. Pick the ones that are most important and work on those. Visualize achieving your goal and work backwards from there, one goal at a plan at a time.

The next post will be about the challenges in execution of the plan.

You have probably heard someone ask "How do you eat an elephant?"

Answer: "One bite at a time."

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