Friday, November 30, 2007

Goal Setting Lesson 5 The last four steps

Session Five: The other half of seven steps to Goal Setting

In the last session I told you that the seven steps to goal-setting are:

1. Decide what you really want
2. Write your goals out on paper
3. Determine the price you have to pay
4. Make a plan
5. Take action immediately
6. Do something every day that takes you to your goal
7. Resolve in advance that you will never quit.

Two lessons ago, we delved into understanding what we really want. We decided that we don't want money or toys as much as we want emotions like happiness, security, love, respect, affection, and self-respect. Then we also realized that "want" of those emotions is the true bottom line reason behind why we do things like work hard at being a good parent, or pay our bills, or get married. Then I instructed you to set goals, or, more realistically put, decide how you will spend this year's time, based upon the emotions or "states" you need to achieve.

In our last lesson, we took your goals and we refined them to be clear, specific, measurable and time bound. We also accomplished steps two through four. We wrote our goals on paper, determined the price we would have to pay to achieve them and made a plan.

We deserve a round of applause because all of that was hard work. And important work. But today we get to the good stuff.

Why are steps five through seven the good stuff?

Because anybody can know what they want, anybody can write out those goals on paper, anybody can determine the price they have to pay and anybody can make a plan. But not everybody can take action immediately, discipline themselves to do something everyday that will take them to their goal and resolve in advance that they will never quit.

These last three steps, taking action, disciplining yourself to do something every day that would get you closer to your goal and resolving never to quit are the hardest part of any goal, because they are the "heart" of the goal.

Let's start by examining step five, take action immediately. Why is that so important? Why is that part of the "heart" of your goal setting process?

Because, quite simply, by actually taking action on your goal, you physically say you are committed. You tell yourself you believe you can do this.

If you don't take action immediately, there's always a question mark. Sure, you said you could write your book this year, but you haven't even turned on the computer, so do you really think that you can write a book this year?

Or were you wishful thinking again? Do you really have faith in yourself? And if you don't...

Have you chosen the right goal?

The ability to take action immediately speaks volumes about your self-confidence, your capabilities, and your belief in your talent.

Conversely, if you won't take the steps, if you will not immediately do something that takes you in the direction of your goal, it also speaks volumes and you should be listening to what your subconscious is telling you!

Maybe you need to set a different goal?

But there's another reason to take action immediately. The beginning of any project is the hardest. Once you set your goal and then take action, the difficult hurdle of "beginning" is handled. Your goal no longer seems like something off in the distance. Instead, it's something you've already started.

It becomes real, manageable, and you begin to feel the sense of ownership necessary to commit for the long haul.

Simply put, step five, take action immediately, speaks of self-confidence and commitment!

But so does Step six: Do something every day to take you closer to your goal. Except it doesn't merely speak to commitment, it also has two other advantages.

First, doing something every day, a piece of your project every day, breaks your work down into manageable increments and pieces, and teaches you that any task can be handled when taken one step at a time.

Second, working on your goal every day keeps you involved in your goal. You can't forget it. But more than that, you can't fall behind. At least not so far behind that you feel overwhelmed. Working on your goal everyday keeps you active, involved and moving toward the prize.

And that usually clips procrastination off at the ankles. Do you know why? Because most of us procrastinate out of a feeling of overwhelm. Consistently and consciously, do something everyday that takes you toward your goal and you will never feel a sense of overwhelm, and probably won't procrastinate again.

Step Seven: Resolve in advance never to quit. No matter how difficult things get.

This step is the best. The resolution to keep going, no matter how defeated you feel, no matter how far your faith has depreciated, will actually walk you through the hard times. It will get you through the times when you want to quit, when you feel like it's pointless, when your back has been broken by criticism or a rejection.

Face it. You are going to have days when you don't feel like doing your daily portion. You will have days when your plan seems insane. You will get rejections, hear of friends who sold or got agents, get poor critiques, lose contests and face every form of hurdle known to writerkind.

But...If you've made the vow that you will not quit, that you will stick it out for your year (or whatever time period you’ve assigned) or until your book is written or the twenty pounds lost (Susan...twenty pounds...)then you will see yourself not merely face, but also overcome (or outlast) hurdles that might have otherwise defeated you!

Sometimes it really is nothing more than a matter of making a commitment. So today that's what you need to do. Make your commitment. Take your first action toward the goals you've set. Make the initial calls, write the first few pages, start a synopsis, buy the crafting book, find the internet sites...Take all those first steps.

Then resolve to continue on to do something every day.

And then resolve never to quit.

But do one more thing...

Did you ever notice that we can keep all of the promises we make to our kids, most of the promises we make to our husbands, a big percentage of the promises we make to our friends and parents...But the promises we make to ourselves frequently get lost in the shuffle?

Once you resolve never to quit, I also want you to resolve to keep the promises you make to yourself. Don’t shortchange yourself. Don't treat everybody better than you treat yourself.

Keep the promises you make to yourself.

susan meier

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan! I think you hit on a big thing when you state that every goal has to come with the commitment not to quit, even if you slip up (because you know you're going to slip up). Working on goals every day is important but exhausting. You can want something but wish you didn't. I wish I could be happy being 20 (okay, 30) pounds overweight -- how great would it be to eat what I want and still love my body! I read an article the other day entitled, "Maybe you're not depressed, maybe you're just a perfectionist," and it really rang true for me. It's through recognizing the flaws in the world and ourselves that goals are formed. Goals aren't bad, but sometimes a little self-delusion would be nice! Then you could move on to something simpler without viewing even that as a failure. Which brings up the point, is "quitting" ever the right thing to do?