Achieving GoalsAuthor: Byron Pulsifer, ©2012
The prospect of achieving goals means that that there is something that you seriously want to accomplish in your life. If the achievement of this goal consumes your desires for the future than how do you go about doing so? Let's go on a little journey to answer that question.
Achieving A Large Goal Not OvernightNothing that you want to accomplish, especially if it is a large goal, is going to be accomplished in a day or a week or a month. The mistake is to see your goal as one that is so huge that you also do not know where to start.
The best way to approach a goal is to first break it down into very small bite size steps. Each one of these steps should lead logically to the next step to be completed in a linear order. But, before any of these steps can be launched, there is a vital part that is already missing. That vital component is the design of a detailed plan that, when finished, gives you the end result you desire.
First Step To Achieving A GoalBefore any beginning, there needs to be a plan of how you are going to get to the end. If you do not create a plan, it is like deciding to play football without the ball. This means that before you begin, the real task is writing a very detailed plan that shows you clearly what each step will be taken. The detail of the plan depends on the complexity of the desired outcome.
For example, if you are planning to open a factory that makes metal parts for appliances, you would have to include such things as a financial aspect that shows you how you will secure enough funding; you will also need to outline what kinds and types of metal working machinery you'll need, and everything from planning location, employees, training, sales and shipping. As you can see, the level of detail in this example will be of substantial size and detail.
A Personal Example To Achieving A GoalYears ago, I wanted to complete my graduate studies and was in a big hurry to get on with it. However, part of the requirements meant that I had to not only complete a two-year degree program but that I was also required to write a thesis.
As much as I wanted to be finished, there were necessary elements to complete over the course of several years - there wasn't a thing I could do to hurry the process.
What it meant for me was to take each day, each week, each month as another stepping-stone to complete the requirements. It meant that I needed to be able to appreciate that each new step was a necessary building block to the next and that each was just as important as any other.
When it came time to start to think about writing a thesis, it looked like a huge task. The question for me was where do I start?
The Easiest WayAs I mentioned earlier, the easiest way to start any large project is to make a plan, a plan that would dissect the project into little bite sized chunks so that it would not seem or appear to be overwhelming. This approach to starting to move forward was, as it turned out, to be one of the best teachers for life that I found. It meant that I could plan actions so that nothing ever appeared to be too big or difficult to tackle and complete. The beginning for me was simple - that is, to decide what it was I wanted to end up investigating through the assimilation of data, and a complete review of available material.
The next step turned out to be a real challenge until I realized that the best way to proceed was to write one section at a time, one word at a time. As time progressed, the words accumulated, the paragraphs built, and the chapters written. The worse possible thought, in this example, was that of trying to picture the final draft before I had even outlined what it was that I was going to research and talk about. In other words, the lesson here, and for all other types of projects, is to not put the cart before the horse.
Achieving Goals More Than Following A PlanIf you think that simply following a detailed plan will be all that you have to do to achieve a goal, you'd only be partially right. Think of the process of following a plan but being stopped in your tracks because of an unforeseen difficulty or obstacle that you had not anticipated. Is it then easy to keep going or is it more of a challenge? How does one keep going?
The answer to these questions lies in the understanding that following a plan of any kind may mean the adaptability to overcome unexpected issues or problems. The most successful people have one trait in common that has allowed them to succeed where others have failed. And, that common trait is perseverance.
One Key Secret To Achieving GoalsPerseverance means that achieving a goal is not an "if' possibility but, instead is a "definite" passion. To adopt an attitude of perseverance despite the odds potentially being stacked against you means that you can endure despite problems; it means that you have such a burning desire to succeed that you will not accept defeat; to demonstrate perseverance means that quitting isn't in your vocabulary or thoughts; and, that adopting a persevering attitude means that obstacles, issues, problems or set backs are only there to test your desire to achieve your goal.
Goals Should Not Be Overwhelming But Should Stretch YouHere is another aspect of goal setting that I should mention before I leave the subject. A goal doesn't have to be daunting. It only has to be understood that every little piece supports the addition of other little pieces until the end appears. If you think that your goal is too easy, however, it may be that you are not willing to stretch yourself to achieve all that you can. The idea of stretching yourself means that you will have to work hard and possibly have to give up some things, like time with friends, in order to obtain what you desire.
A good example of this is college or university studies. It may be that some of your friends find that their studies come easy to them but you don't. Nevertheless, your friends keep inviting you to go out at night for several hours when you know that you should be using your time to concentrate on various subjects or papers that need to be written. At this point, you will need to decide whether you can really afford to take time away from your studies or will you decide to forego any invitations?
The decision is yours to make. You cannot allow someone else to decide your priorities or else you set yourself up for failure.
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:"Your goals must be as specific as possible, with not only details about what you want to accomplish, but how and what you are willing to sacrifice in order to attain your goal." Donald Allen
"I'm always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning . . . Every day I find something creative to do with my life." Miles Davis
"The greatness comes not when things go always good for you. But the greatness comes when you're really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes. Because only if you've been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain." Richard M. Nixon
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