A goal without a plan is just a wish and to achieve any goal, you must make a plan and commitment to make it a reality.
A goal is not some wishy-washy hope - one thing today and another tomorrow, or an empty New Year's resolution.
Commitment means never losing sight of the goals you want to achieve. You can see them, smell them, taste them, and it's worth the effort. You believe that they are things that you want and that they are worth making sacrifices.
Write your goals down and reflect on them every day when you wake up, and before you go to sleep.
Outcome Goals vs Process Goals
To make your goals happen, you need to divide them into small, short-term action steps. Identifying what steps, or process goals, you take every day that will lead to the outcome goal.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight. The outcome goal may be to lose 5 kilograms in 10 weeks. To do this, you may decide that it needs both exercise and consuming fewer calories. So what could the process goal steps be?
- A positive first step may be to clear the refrigerator and house of all "unhealthy" foods by the end of the first week.
- Not drink alcohol during the week and limit consumption on weekends.
- Limit fast food (I love pizza!) to once a week.
- Join a gym.
- Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes, working up to 60 minutes, a day.
- Eliminate all added sugar in tea and coffee.
- Record the daily consumption and energy output.
- Review my performance of these steps at the end of each day and week.
Another useful step is to set milestones against which to measure the progress towards the outcome. For example, lose 2 kilograms by the end of month 1 and another 2 by the end of month 2. These may be early indicators whether the plan is working.
Use the process goal method to achieve outcome goals in both personal and business life.
Achieving Your Goals
Day to day life has many distractions and temptations. So you constantly have to be asking yourself, "is this action taking me closer to my goal?" Or am I zig-zagging through life? Busy all the time but achieving very little.
Chasing one shiny object after another. Moving in one way and another distracted and disillusioned. Leaving a trail of shattered dreams.
Most of us will waver, giving in to wasting time and doing activities that make us feel busy. But don't take us closer to where we ultimately want to be.
People dream about getting fitter, getting thinner, making more money, getting healthier or about what they'll do when they retire.
But you can only turn these wishes into reality through action by setting goals and making plans.
Remember that nothing happens until something moves.
In the best-selling book Atomic Habits by James Clear he details a practical method for step-by-step improvement. Providing a system for building habits that will turn our hopes, dreams, and wishes into realities.
You may be like me. Someone who has had their dreams dashed by entirely unpredictable events. You had dreams about what you wanted to do and were put off either by your own negative thoughts or the criticism of others.
These are hurdles but not insurmountable barriers. In a way, they are tests to find out if the goal is real.
Accept it that in the past, you have probably been your own worst critic and enemy. But it doesn't have to continue to be that way.
In a book by Dr Benjamin Hardy, he makes it clear in the title: "Personality Isn't Permanent: Break Free from Self-Limiting Beliefs and Rewrite Your Story."
Now's the time to change. Now's the time to make a plan and craft your future. It's time to say, "This is what I want to accomplish, and this is by when I will accomplish it".
It is a clear theme of how you're going to live your life—travelling from where you are right now to become your fulfilled future self.
External Support and Guidance
This journey can be an overwhelming challenge if you try to do it on your own. So look for helping hands or guiding lights that will support and guide you through the challenging stages. Think about whether you need a coach or mentor.
- Define your goals using the SMART format. That is, the goal must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic or Relevant and Time-Bound.
- Make a plan. Your life is not a dream. It's a never-ending voyage with many ups and downs. It's your choice whether this voyage is filled with happiness and achievements or sadness and regrets.
- Decide the lifestyle you want. And don't short change yourself with negative or limiting thoughts. Set out your goals and milestones (times for rewarding yourself for achievements!) so you know you're on the right path.
- Visualize achieving your goal—experience how good it feels. When you get discouraged or want to give up, get back into 'how good it feels' mental space.
Conclusion - A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish
Write your goals down. If it is not SMART and not written down it is not a goal.
To make them happen, read them and visualise them every day when you wake and before going to sleep.
Believe that you can achieve them. With the right mindset and commitment, you can make your wishes your reality.
If you think there is anything I could do to help you start, or get over through a rocky patch on your journey, please reach out to me, and I'll do what I can to help.