How to Achieve Your Goals: The 6 Steps Including One Everyone Seems to Forget
No experiences, aside from loving and being loved, are as intense and rewarding as achieving your goals (and the greater your goals, the greater your joy at achieving them.) This applies whether your goals are in the area of your career, hobbies, health, relationships or any other aspect of life.
You will certainly benefit from delving into the ideas, creation and wisdom of others, such as those of Donna Gates and Body Ecology in the health realm – it is impossible, in fact, to grow and achieve without building from what others have to give. But ultimately, your goals and the pursuit and achievement of them belong to you.They are your creation, your baby. They are your purpose.
You need to routinelyachieve your goal there in the most powerful place of all, your imagination, in order to keep yourself motivated to achieve it in reality. Keep your imagination “in tune” with a free subscription to the IntenseExperiences.com newsletter
Before getting to the six steps to achieve your goals, though — and even if you follow the ongoing insights in the free IntenseExperiences.com newsletter to a tee – remember that you will not always achieve your goals.
You will sometimes still fail; though they don’t feel that way, these failures are even more essential than your successes to achieving your other goals and the overall goal of happiness. It is important to acknowledge this, and then move forward toward achieving your goals with all your heart and soul anyway.
That said, by following the advice below … and by continuing to teach, remind and inspire yourself via the new articles at IntenseExperiences.com and elsewhere … you will greatly improve the odds that you will achieve your goals.
Without further introduction, then, here are…
THE 6 STEPS TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS
1) Experience the Achievement of Your Goal Before You Achieve Your Goal. And Do This Routinely.
Daydreaming is essential in many areas of life, especially this one. You need to routinely achieve your goal there in the most powerful place of all, your imagination, in order to keep yourself motivated to achieve it in reality. So visualize it.
What will it feel like when you reach the goal? What will you do? What might it change? How might others respond if it impacts them, too?
I recommend writing your goal in a single sentence on a piece of paper and then adding “How will I feel when I reach this goal?” or something similar underneath it, and taping this paper somewhere you will see it every day. Perhaps above your desk, on your car dashboard, or on your refrigerator. And when you see it, answer it every day, experience the answer everyday, to keep you motivated to achieve your goal.
2) Make a Plan to Achieve the Goal, and Be Sure to Make It All Specific.
“I want to be thin” or “I want to be rich” or “I want to overcome my high cholesterol” are not goals. They are wishes. Wishes only become goals when there is a plan made to attain them … a plan with specific targets. This starts with making your overall goal specific, as in, “I will lose 25 pounds by December” or “I want to be worth $1.5 million by January 1, 2009,” or “I want to get my LDL levels below 150 by August 1.”
Reaching your goal, whatever it is, is a project. As with any project, you need to break it down into achievable steps. This must also include measurable targets and measurable results. Instead of “I want to be rich,” establish a specific timeline with goals at one month, six months, one year, three years etc.
Establish specific measurable targets at each of these target dates, such as reducing your debt by X amount at one month, being debt-free in six months, and having Y in the bank in one year. And then establish the specific tasks you will do (and in the case above, the specific sacrifices you will make) to achieve each of these specific goals within the big goal.
As with any project, you may not hit your target every time, but you should even plan for penalizing yourself if you don’t, such as not being able to eat out for a month if you don’t reach your money-saving target the previous month. Swear to yourself that you will follow through on these penalties … or else. This will motivate you not to fudge, make excuses or otherwise get lazy in hitting the targets within your goal.
3) Review the Progress of Your Plan Routinely.
Just as you should keep the above one-sentence definition of your goal and the reminder to experience it somewhere you will see it daily, keep the plan for your goal somewhere you will see it at least weekly (or more frequently depending on the timeline and tasks to achieve your goal.) At the least, set up a routine reminder in your cell phone, organizer, PDA, etc. to review your plan, but it is even better if you can have the actual plan pop up “in your face” on a routine basis so you won’t be tempted to ignore it or put it off.
You will be able to stay on top of your tasks and their timelines this way; if you see yourself slipping: a) be sure to penalize yourself as noted in the step above (but don’t confuse this penalty with getting down on yourself; most people have a tendency to slack off to varying degrees, and the penalty is your motivation not to again, but not a self-insult); b) be sure to experience the achievement of your goal in your imagination every day as indicated above, to maintain the desire of doing so in reality.
4) Keep Your Goal and All of Its Component Parts SIMPLE.
When you define your goal, when you develop the plan to achieve it including all of its component tasks, keep it all simple. Limit the overall definition to one phrase, such as “I will not be working at Hell, Inc. anymore by May of next year.” Limit the definition of each task within the plan to one phrase, such as “By September 1 I will have sent 50 copies of my resume to organizations that seem like a good fit for me.” Complexity = confusion and catastrophe. K.I.S.S. applies here, too (Keep It Simple, Stupid… though I think you are anything but stupid!)
5) Share Your Goal and Your Plan to Achieve It with Someone Who Cares
Who will support you? Who will kindly crack that padded whip if you give them permission at the outset to do so?
Even if you only make one or more family members or friends aware that you have set out upon this goal it is a powerful thing, as you have now created witnesses to your character. This only increases determination, strength, and focus; it is typically far easier to give up if we know no one else knew we started in the first place, so make sure someone else who cares about you knows.
Better still, if there is someone who might be willing to be your coach for the goal, ask them to be. Describe your desire to them, what you will feel like when you achieve your goal, then give them your plan for the goal and ask them to check you – or harass you – at every timeline of the task. Give them permission to figuratively whip you if you slack off (or literally whip you, if you’re into that), and to make sure you stick to the penalty you set for yourself.
A final note: make sure those you make aware, and those who coach you, are not the sort to make fun of you, discourage you, or otherwise not be fit for the job. If the goal is important enough and no one falls in this category, consider hiring someone trained to help such as a life coach.
6) Don’t Let Your Goal Become a Monster Who Consumes You. Maintain Balance, Beauty and Enjoyment.
It is essential to fit your plan to achieve your goal into the greater plan you have to live your life in balance.
So many people seem to forget this one, or they never learn it in the first place … but one of the main reasons people fail to achieve goals is because they allow the attainment of that goal to swallow the other aspects of their life, creating a monster that they end up despising. This is especially true of the big goals, like losing 25 pounds, or eating healthier to overcome a disease, or getting a six-figure job, or writing a novel.
In short it happens like this: you so desire to achieve your goal that you spend increasing amounts of your time, focus and energy on doing so.
Eventually it crosses one line – you sacrifice time, focus and energy spent on something else of importance, such as leisure activity. Your stress, your being disturbed, increases because of this one essential loss and the consequential life imbalance; you may or may not start to become annoyed at the goal because of it.
Then it crosses another line – you sacrifice time, focus and energy spent on another thing of importance, such as your family. You become more stressed, more disturbed, at this next essential loss and now greater imbalance in your life … and you likely are now annoyed at the goal because of it.
Then it crosses another line, and so on, till you have created a monster, till you despise the very thing you seek and naturally break down and fail at achieving it.
This balance is most crucial to achieving your goals … and to a healthier, happier you!