Do you remember the last time you finally arrived at a decision to do or change something in your life, only to recognise few months later that you have done nothing (or very little) towards turning that decision into reality? Yes, most of us know that feeling of self-frustration, helplessness and under minded ego when yet again, we for some reason let ourselves down. At the same time, we all know someone in our lives who just seems to do whatever they set their minds to in all areas of their life. We must wonder, “What is it they do, have or are that makes them different from me”? Although there is no universal answer to this question, as an Life Coach, I often find that the main differences between the two groups of people are not their personality traits, intelligence or their social status, but the way they approach the goal at hand. The key to success for many people seems to be their motivation to achieve their goals and just as importantly their commitment and persistence to reach the final destination. I can now hear you say, “Easy said, not as easily done”. That is true, but fortunately, just as many other things in our lives, goal setting is a skill which can be learned, and with repeated practice and a supportive environment, we all can start reaching our goals rather then just talking about them.
Research suggests that one of the most common reasons we do not achieve what we strive for in our lives because we fail to plan and consequently put strategies into place. We need to realise that it sometimes takes weeks, months or even years to arrive at the point of a decision to take action; yet, we often expect things to happen by themselves, without any obstacles with our 21st century “ASAP” timelines. It is often simply a lack of planning and our irrational expectations that can set us for failure.
“So what can we do to start achieving our goals?” A great start would be to run a reality check on our current situation to find out whether we have the necessary resources to achieve our goal. For example, do we have enough information, financials and time available to successfully launch into action? Ask yourself, “how does my current life have to change in order to start moving towards the goal?”, “Am I willing to make those changes in my life for this price?”. All those questions need to be considered carefully to gain greater awareness of the impact, both positive and negative, that our proposed plan will have on us. Furthermore, change in our lives will often affect the lives of others and therefore we need to consider the consequences of our actions on those around us; their support will be a crucial factor on our journey to victory.
Once we have laid down properly grounded foundations, it is time to think about the ‘size’ of our goal, how we feel about it, and consider whether we need to break it down to a few smaller, more manageable sub goals. It is those smaller victories (when we achieve the smaller objectives) which keep us motivated and focused on our journey towards the main goal. Additionally, having these sub goals as the check points on our road to success helps us to connect how to get from one to the next. By creating strategies we map out each step needed to get us closer to our goal, and establish the timeframe needed to reach each of these steps. For instance, it can be a phone call to the bank to open a new savings account for a long deserved holiday, then reducing three coffees per day to one a day, making savings of $1825 across 12 months as a result! It may happen that our original strategies do not produce the desired results, and that is OK. Instead of seeing our overall plan as a failure, we need to pinpoint the fault in our strategy and address it appropriately. Moreover, keeping an honest journal of our actions and their results helps us keep track of our progress against our mapped out strategy.
Motivation, commitment and persistence all have a common underlying attribute - they can be achieved only by our positive outlook on our adventure and its up and downs. Even though things may not always go according to plan, every one of us has a choice to perceive the situation as a lesson and adjust our plan of action accordingly. This is when the support of our family and friends is particularly important; they can help us to realise our strengths and past achievements when our current frame of mind may not let us remember ourselves. The best part of this whole helping process is that as our skills, abilities and achievements grow they will have a positive impact on the lives of our family, friends and people in our greater environment. For those who may feel that they currently do not have that supportive environment around them, think again. Could finding that supportive environment be your first goal to really be accomplished? That is exactly what I did, because assisting my clients to become more focused, empowered and aligned with their purpose makes me also part of that positive and inspiring environment where a person’s potential can become their reality. You also have a choice, a choice to live a comfortable life of unrealised potential or a choice to become a person who dares to challenge the fear of the unknown and live a life where ‘if only’ is obsolete. What will it be?