This is Part Two of a collaborative blog series I am writing with my friend Graham Edwards about how to get things done. I loved the idea of writing this series because I thrive on action and being able to help others meet their goals. If you missed it, here is the link to my last post about getting unstuck.
In this second post, I will show you how to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. In short, this is a pragmatist’s approach to goal achievement. If you implement these techniques religiously, you will definitely get yourself moving in the right direction.
After you read this post, grab a notebook and go over the post again. Identify your goal and then write down everything you need to do as per the directions below.
Think about the end result first. Usually, when we think about our goals, we think about the first thing we need to do, then the second, etc. By the time we reach the third item on the list, we’ve lost interest and more often than not, never start any of it. I’d like to challenge you to take the backwards approach to goal achievement. Instead of just saying what you want to do, start by imagining the end result of successfully implementing the required actions. In this stage avoid thinking about the journey. That looks like too much work and can be discouraging! Think only about the end result of all your effort. Read on to get a better feel for what I am talking about.
Imagine it through your senses. When you think about achieving your goal, how does it feel, smell, taste, sound, and look? Okay, maybe not all goals can be tasted or smelled, but the celebration of your achievement could include some of your favourite food, drinks, or even a cigar. How will you reward yourself? How will you feel once you’ve accomplished the goal? Your emotions are very powerful in helping drive results. Never think about how you will feel if you don’t achieve it. Focus only on the magnificent feeling of achieving. Are you receiving an award? What are people saying about you? Are you being interviewed by the media? The more elaborate your success story, the more you will own the goal and the path toward achieving it.
Now that your goal is complete, what emotions are you experiencing? Speak about your goal in the present continuous tense to make sure your head is in the correct space of making the goal feel real and achievable. Say something like, “Now that I have achieved my goal of… I am feeling very proud and happy.” Again, focus on those emotions in order to keep the goal real in your mind and to generate excitement. By the way, you can do this as a team exercise for corporate goals or as a private exercise for any of your personal goals.
Imagine that you’ve accomplished it and think about how you got there. This may seem a little redundant, but there is a method to this madness. Think about what exactly you did to achieve the goal. What did you buy? Where did you go? What routines did you establish? When did you initiate key activities? How did you implement your plan? Once you answer these questions and any other important ones you think of, you will have laid out the steps to take once this paper exercise is finished.
Drill a little deeper. List people who helped you achieve your goal and what they did for you. Everyone needs a favour, a loan, some muscle, or some type of support from someone else. Who are you asking for help? What are you going to need from them?
What were your challenges and how did you overcome them? We don’t want to get stuck in a rut on the road to success. Give some thought to any possible snags and list any viable solutions. By doing this you will actually eliminate obstacles completely.
Create a project planner with activities, start dates, and completion dates. I love Excel sheets for this. You don’t have to have any fancy project management software unless you’ve got a huge team and a super complicated project to deal with. Excel sheets are simple to use and you can sort the sheet so that the start dates come in chronological order. Pop key dates into your calendar as well. Look at the sheet daily. It is your task list, after all. After you’ve got your timeline all figured out, consider adding a spot for a budget. Will there be costs associated with achieving your goal? Where will the money come from? Plan everything.
Find an accountability partner to keep you on track. Meet every week, either over the phone or in person. Put this meeting in your calendar as a recurring meeting that cannot be cancelled or delayed without a strong reason. Talk about what you accomplished that week, problem-solve when necessary, plan the week ahead and repeat. It never hurts to have to be accountable to someone for fulfilling your personal agreement. That’s what coaches are for, by the way. Everyone thinks coaching is about therapy, but it isn’t. Therapists are for therapy. Coaches help you get things done, on time and on budget. They help you see past the fog and gain clarity so you can get more done. As always, I would be more than happy to assist you on your journey to goal achievement. Feel free to reach out to me if you want my support.
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