Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Goals. How to achieve them?

Loads of ink (or bandwidth, here in cyber-space) has been committed to talking about goals.That's not going to stop me from piling on, however! I'm going to focus on one aspect of a good goal setting program- achieving goals. This is an area in which I've recently learned some hard lessons and eaten some crow, so I know of which I speak! Like my old friend Kenny Rogers sang, "Promise me son, not to do the things I've done".

Once you've got your goals set, how, exactly do you reach them? Of course, you'll have a plan in place, with clearly defined action steps. But how does one commit oneself to sticking to the plan? This is an area I've struggled with all my adult life- follow-through, commitment, long term plans. The answer, I'm finding is not sexy or fun. It's not a program I can download to my smart phone or iPod. It's the same way you eat an elephant. A little at a time.

Zig Ziglar says in order to make a change in your life you have to stick with it for 3weeks- at that point it becomes a habit. It's kind of the way that investing over time slowly builds up interest.

I had a new project that, despite my initial enthusiasm and complete belief in, was going NOWHERE fast. I just wasn't putting in the time to get anywhere with it. I started out going great guns, but over time found excuses to work on other, newer projects. Over time my original project’s momentum slowed, then stopped completely. This, of course,bugged the crap out of me. But not enough to motivate me to jump start the project. I would make sporadic, “drive-by” efforts once in a while, but nothing to really move the thing forward.



I got inspired by the analogy listed above, how creating a good habit works in much the same way that compound interest grows money.
I like money. Just like my financial idol, Gene Simmons.

What I did is commit 15 minutes a day to working on my new project. I mean, anybody can spare 15 measly minutes, right? I wrote myself a giant reminder note and posted it on my computer every night when I left my desk, so it would be the first thing I saw upon returning. When I got to my desk, I doggedly set about putting in my 15 minutes of work.


A funny thing happened. First of all, it quickly became a habit. I even started looking forward to it after a while. 15 minutes wasn’t so bad! I could knock it out and move on to other projects. And then I found myself putting more than 15 minutes into it on a regular basis. Soon I was focused and really getting somewhere with it.


This method can work in just about any area of life. In saving money, in physical fitness (15 minutes of yoga, stretching, or simple exercise every day can be life changing over time!), relationships (spend 15 minutes a day talking to and really listening to your spouse and see what happens!), anything.

The hardest part is the initial process of getting started. There’s no magic formula. Like the great Larry Winget says, “if you want to change, just change.”

Go for it! You’ve got 15 minutes to spare, don’t you?




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