You are Not a Tree

In my last blog I talked about the steps one needs to take to reach their goals and dreams. Now, let’s talk about various reasons why people don’t reach their goals. What keeps them stuck in the same place, day after day?

FEAR

Don’t let the fear of a little discomfort or what other people will think of you stop you from your ultimate happiness.” – Lori Harder

Fear is the biggest of all the goal crushers. It can be absolutely crippling. Fear can keep you in that rut you have been in for the last year. It can keep you in that same dead-end job that you hate. It can keep you from stepping out of your comfort zone and it can steal your dreams. Let’s be honest here. Fear is nothing more than your imagination running wild. Choosing to live in fear is a choice. Your choice. You can make a different choice!

How do you beat fear? One way to overcome your fear is to imagine two scenarios. First, think of something that you are scared of doing and ask yourself, “What if I do this and it all goes wrong? What is the worst-case scenario?” The only thing that you cannot learn from – or recover from – is death. (If your worst-case scenario is death… please rethink taking that step!) Everything else is a potential life lesson. Learn from those life lessons and try again. Second, ask yourself, “What if I do this and it all turns out great?” Those awesome outcomes are your WHY! Focus your thoughts on what can go right and your brain will do its best to make those thoughts a reality!

Another really good way to work through your fears is to take daily action toward your goal. That daily action can be large or small, many actions or one single action – As the saying goes, even if you were to take one swing at a tree with an axe every day, sooner or later that tree will fall. Take at least one action EVERY DAY toward your goal and sooner or later, you will be successful.

You will beat that fear that was standing in your path. When you beat it once, you will build your confidence and be more prepared to face it again and again. You will become addicted to the amazing feeling of facing your fears head on and conquering them one by one.

NO PLAN

It doesn’t matter what you are doing, if you don’t have a plan, it is much harder to reach that end goal. Whether you are remodeling your kitchen, writing a book, or taking your business to the next level, you have to have a detailed plan to get it done. Sure, you might eventually experience some success without a plan but I guarantee it will take longer and potentially cost more money if you don’t think it through, document and prioritize the steps that need to be taken, and finally, determine your timeline.

How do you build a strong plan? First, you will want to brainstorm everything that needs to be done. I usually use Post-it notes and put each step on a separate note. Next, you will want to put the steps in the order that they need to be done. For example, you don’t want to install new appliances in your new kitchen before you paint the walls or finish the floor. Next, put a timeline to your plan. Each step needs a due date so you have a good idea when to order the appliances, etc.

NO TIME

I have a family that is busy with sporting events. I travel out of state for work every week. I work 40-50 hours a week and between working out and eating, sometimes there is only an hour or two for working on my dream. I get it. Life happens. Sometimes I just want to relax at the end of a busy day.

How do you find the time? Once you have a plan to reach your dream, schedule time on your calendar to work your plan and commit to that schedule. Seriously. Block off time on your calendar and focus. If you only have 30 minutes a day to work your plan, stay focused for those 30 minutes. Athletes, for example, know exactly what hours they will train every day, when they will have lunch and dinner, and when they will rest. Get that detailed. Schedule time for working your plan, for research or reading, for rest, for working out and if you need to, for meals. If you don’t plan for it, it will be too easy to say, “I will do it later.” Before you know it, “later” becomes a week, a month, a year, five years, or TEN years later! Be smart and disciplined with your time.

One important note: Share your schedule with your family so they understand and have clear expectations for when you are working your plan. They can help you stay focused by understanding the schedule and not distracting you from the dreams that you have for yourself and your family. I have struggled with this and have found that Saturday mornings are the best time for my family. I get up at 5:00am on Saturdays and work five hours. That way, I am done by 10:00am and can spend the rest of the day with my husband and kids.

THE NEED FOR PERFECTION BEFORE ACTION

“You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward” – unknown

I have fallen victim to this one several times in my life. Yes, you need to have a plan, but don’t wait for it to be perfect. Take my first blog, for example. I can’t tell you how many times I edited and re-edited that piece before I finally hit the button to publish it. I do the same thing with presentations and reports for my clients as well. I am usually editing documents until the last second because I want everything to be just right.

How do you fight the need to be perfect? Let’s face it. Nothing will ever be perfect. Someone will always find something that could have been said differently or that could have been added or shouldn’t have been said at all. The biggest thing that has helped me is to give myself a deadline. I do everything that I can up to that deadline and then I put the report down, save the presentation, send that email, or press that publish button. If you focus and do all that you can to make things as close to perfect as you can … If you did your pre-work, you will be fine.

“Success doesn’t just come and find you. You have to go out and get it.” – unknown

There is no such thing as luck. There is only hard work. If you want the life of your dreams, you must do the work because your dream is not just going to fall in your lap. (At least not for the majority of us.) If you are not where you want to be, there are no excuses! It is all in the choices that you make every day. Take 100% responsibility for your life and where you are right now. You can choose to stand still or you can choose to take action. If you are ok with standing still. Take responsibility for the fact that you probably won’t reach that goal. If you are not ok with where you are, take that first step toward your goal. Then the next. And the next. And the next.

You are not a tree!

Goals – One Step at a Time

Steps to Goals“There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.” – Zig Ziglar

Everyone has goals. Whether they are personal, professional or family goals they are all important. What kind of goals do you have? Did you make New Year’s resolutions for 2017? If so, we are now half way through the year. Are you on track to accomplishing your goals? Do you even remember what they were? If not, you are not alone. In a University of Scranton study, they found that only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are achieved. Why is that? It doesn’t matter if you are a teacher, a house wife, a CEO of a large business or in the military, if you need or want to get something done, you have to have a plan.

Having a plan to achieve your goals is important for so many reasons. If you are on a budget, you need to make sure that you stay within that budget or you risk running out of money before you run out of month. If you are up against a timeline, you need to be clear how you are going to meet that timeline. For example, if you want to write a 180-page book in six months, you can’t just keep saying that you are going to write the book. You have to have a plan and take action. Six months equates to 30 pages a month or about one page a day. Saying, “I’m going to write one page a day” sounds so much more doable than, “I’m going to write a book.” I can do one page a day!

After 18 years in process improvement and project management, I have read my fair share of blogs, articles and books on achieving goals and motivating people. I want to share what I have seen work for me, my teams and the organizations that I have worked for. I have been identifying and putting action plans together for more people and more teams than I can count. Whether you are an individual, manage a team of people, or are the leader of a large organization, you need to know what those goals are, prioritize them according to what will make the most impact on the company’s bottom line or get you closer to your dreams and develop a plan to get to that finish line.

Step One: Brainstorm

Write a list of all the various goals and dreams that you have and give them each a timeline for when they need to happen. You might have goals that you want to happen in the next month, the next year, 2 years, 5 years, or even 10 years. Don’t hold back on your list. At the same time, be careful to list the goals that are attainable. For example, don’t expect to become a doctor in one year. Not possible. Do your research. Talk to people that have reached the goals that you have identified so that you set goals that are attainable and realistic.

Step Two: Pick 2-3 Goals

Select 2-3 goals that will make the biggest impact in your life or for your organization. I usually try to pick one-two short term goals and one longer term goal. This may seem like an easy step but, depending on your list, it can easily become very difficult to narrow your focus to 2-3 goals. Don’t make the same mistake that I’ve made in the past and try to accomplish too much at once. Focus your energy on 2-3 goals. There is only so much time in the day. Remember that every time you complete a goal, the feeling of accomplishment will push you to attack the next goal, and the next, and the next. If you take on too much at once, you risk becoming frustrated and giving up because you can’t meet your timelines. Set yourself up for success!

Step Three: What is your WHY?

Document your “why” for each goal you have selected. Why do you want to do this? What about it inspires you to take that next step? How will attaining this goal benefit you or your team or your organization? You and/or your team will be much more motivated to stay on track and complete each goal if you have a clear understanding of how important the goal is to the business’s overall success or to your personal growth.

Step Four: Outline the plan

Now that you have your goal(s) identified, you need to break them down into smaller action items. You can break them down as far as you need to but make sure that each step is very specific and, most importantly, is in an order that makes sense. Brainstorming the various steps with a team or with people that have had experience reaching a similar goal can be really helpful and ensure that you don’t miss anything.

Step Five: Develop the timeline

You will need a timeline for each action item that you outlined in the previous step. When does each step need to be done? Is the step dependent on any of the other action items in your list? In other words, does each step need happen after the previous step or can you start the next step before finish the current step? Make sense?

Step Six: Identify potential barriers

Once you have your tasks outlined and a timeline in place, you and/or your team need to brainstorm barriers to success. What are potential issues that you could face while completing each task? Document each of these potential issues and discuss how to either avoid them or deal with each one if they were to happen. I’m not saying that you will think of every road block that you might come across but you will be a lot more prepared to meet them head on if you have already thought some of this through.

Step Seven: Get to work

At this point, you will want to get to work on your plan! (Not that you haven’t already done a lot of work to get to this point!) this is where the real fun begins. Do at least one thing every day toward your goal.

Step Eight: CELEBRATE!

Celebrating your success when you reach your goal is one of the most important steps! Reward your team for reaching that goal. Reward yourself for finishing that project. For losing the weight. For running that marathon. The reward can be a party, a monetary reward, a massage, new clothes, a trip… whatever makes sense to you or motivates your team to continue to give their all. Note:  If you are working with a team, take the time to find out what motivates them. What is going to get them excited to reach these goals?

The effort that you put into your goals… identifying them and the steps you take to reach them, will determine your success. If you put in a little effort, you will get a little success. If you make a huge effort, you will have a huge success. Just take one step at a time. When you finish one step, take the next step. If you hit a snag, work through it, and take the next step. If something isn’t working, try something new. Just keep going until you reach your goal. Then celebrate your success!

These are the steps that have helped me reach success in my life and with my teams. Are there things that have helped you that are not included in this list? I welcome your feedback. I only ask that you make it constructive feedback. We are all learning how to be successful in this thing called life.

If you need help with any one of these steps in your journey to success, let’s book a complimentary transformational session. Let’s take your life from good to great!