As I mentioned last week, I have some big plans for 2019 and it involves me stepping up my game and planning goals that are not only achievable but that put me on a path for success. While talking to a few friends and family about their resolutions, I noticed a common problem. Their goals are too vague. "I want to make more money", "I want to travel more", or the common favorite "I want to be skinny".
There's nothing wrong with saying these things, but after week 3, they are usually abandoned until revisited 12 months later with no progress throughout the year. Again, I know this because this was a common problem for me year after year, but I finally found a technique that has worked for me and I applied it to 2018 with much success.
1. Clear and Concise Goals.
- "I want to be skinny" - How much weight is that in pounds or how much body fat do you need to lose?
- "I want to make more money" - How much more? Give me a specific dollar amount.
- "I want to travel more" - Where do you want to travel to. How often? Give me exact places and exact times.
When you are too vague with your goals, it doesn't become actionable. How will you know when you've completed your goal? Be as specific as possible.
2. Make a Plan.
Now that you have actions instead of goals, develop a plan. For 2019, I have broken up goals into monthly, quarterly and yearly. Here's one of my goals:
- YEARLY GOAL - Run a half marathon
- QUARTERLY GOAL - Run a 5K without stopping
- MONTHLY GOAL - Run at least one mile 20 days this month without stopping
Suddenly, running a half marathon doesn't seem that difficult or unachievable. The timeline allows me to take action today instead of waiting until November (when the race is) to start training for it. Here's another example of a goal I'm trying to achieve.
- YEARLY GOAL - Read 5 books to completion
- QUARTERLY GOAL - Read 2 books to completion
- MONTHLY GOAL - Read 1 book to completion
I haven't read a book to completion in probably over a decade and it's a personal challenge of mine to change that. I want to learn more but theres a mental block when it comes to books for some reason. I'll read the first 30-50 pages and then put it down (and never pick it up again). Reading a 375 page book sounds exhausting. And then I have to multiply that by 5. It sounds crazy, but here's what my solution has been to staying on track.
I took 375 pages and multiplied it by 5 (for 5 books this year) and then divided that total by 365 (days this year) and it comes out to about 5 pages a day. 5 PAGES A DAY. Now that sounds easy. The first 3 days, I didn't want to read, but I said, ehhh I just have to read 5 pages and then I can put it down. Each one of those 3 days, I read over 20 pages a day. After a week, I'm on page 170.
Now if I would've read 20 pages that first day, I would've compared 20 to 375 and went well shit I still have a long way to go. But because I read 4x what I needed to, it felt like I kicked ass that day and I was four times closer to reaching my goal.
Keep on dividing your number until it sounds easy to you. Break it down into quarters, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, whatever it takes.
Tell someone you know or announce your goals in a public fashion. For me last year this was printing them out on a piece of paper and hanging them on my wall for anyone who visited to see. Sounds like an easy task, but it wasn't. I had a lot of hesitation because I was embarrassed by what someone might say if they saw it. But overcoming that validated my goals for me mentally.
Having a friend or partner aware of your goals gives you an internal sense of desire to achieve something you started. It's easy to break your goals if you are the only person who knows they exist. Mental negotiation is a common problem. If you need to go extreme with this, write a check to a charity of your choice for a monetary value (something that won't kill your bank account, but you'd prefer not to spend) and tell a friend or colleague to mail it out if you don't meet your goals.
Don't cheat yourself and take action everyday. Don't try and read a whole book in one weekend. Do something everyday to work towards that singular goal. For me it was reading 5 pages everyday instead of 100 pages in 4 days. Go a step further and motivate yourself. Two additional goals of mine this month are to workout and wake up before 7am - 20 times this month. So I printed out a mini calendar so I can physically cross off each day that I complete it.
I love crossing it off when I do it, but it also gives me daily perspective on how much I have left so I can plan accordingly.
What are your goals this year and what is your plan to complete them?
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