How to Achieve Your Goals in 2018

It seems almost natural at the beginning of the year to create a fresh start to the new year.  Part of that fresh start is to set new goals for the year.  This goal setting practice for the new year is commonly disguised as new years resolutions.

“A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year%27s_resolution

A resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something.  The root word of resolution is resolve.  The original connotation of the word resolve is that something is settled.  So, in making a resolution, the matter is settled that you are going to do or not do something.

However, the statistics around New Year’s resolutions is most people don’t follow through on their resolve.  “When it comes to setting New Year’s resolutions, most people shoot for the moon. We tell ourselves that this will be the year we’ll give up carbs, go running every morning, become a vegan or quit drinking. Inevitably, three weeks later, we find ourselves right back where we started. What gives?

When it comes to health goals in particular, all-or-nothing goals ― which are usually based on unrealistic expectations and don’t leave any wiggle room ― are a setup for failure.

Only 8 percent of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions, according to one commonly cited statistic.”

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/new-years-resolutions-psychology_us_5862d599e4b0d9a59459654chttps://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/new-years-resolutions-psychology_us_5862d599e4b0d9a59459654c

 

Here are 5 things to help you achieve your goals for 2018.

  1. Break big goals down into smaller ones. Goals that require many steps to complete may seem to be overwhelming to even start, must lest complete.   Breaking big goals into smaller ones allow you to take incremental steps that lead to the accomplishment of a big goal.  For example, let’s say you have a goal to lose 40 pounds this year.  This is a good goal if you are that overweight and will improve the quality of your life.  Okay I know that was a sidebar comment.

An approach to breaking this goal into smaller ones is to have a goal for each month or week.  You could say 40 pounds divided by 12 months means I have to lose about 3.5 pounds per month.  Doesn’t losing 40 pounds sound more doable at 3.5 pounds per month?  You can take this same approach to all of your big goals.

  1. Write down your goals and keep a journal of your progress. Memorializing your goals in writing is a great way to first of all keep them in front of you.  Also, over the course of a year you could actually forget what the original goal was.  Writing goals down keeps you from allowing your mind to “play tricks” on you by telling you “you really didn’t say 40 pounds.”

Keeping a journal allows you to measure your progress.  Now it goes without saying, but I must say it, you have to be honest in keeping your journal.  If you fail to do today what you said you would do, write it down and ask yourself, what you can put in tomorrow that is going to make a difference in you being successful?  Developing this type of observation about yourself will pay huge dividends in all areas of your life.

  1. Don’t set goals around what you are “not” going to do. If you are not going to do something, you are going to be doing something to replace that.  For example, if you say I’m not going to procrastinate, it probably means you are going to do things timely.  It is impossible to visualize not doing something.  In accomplishment, you always see it before it becomes a reality.  Replace the not doing something with what you are going to do

Some more examples:

I’m not going to watch as much TV, to… I’m going to spend 4 additional hours in quality family time

I’m not going to be late for appointments, to…I’m going to arrive 10 minutes before each appointment.

I’m not going to lay in bed after the alarm rings, to… I’m going to get out of bed when the alarm rings.

I’m not going to drive over the speed limit, to… I’m going to drive within the speed limit.

When you put things in the action language, you can take the appropriate action to accomplish your goals.

  1. Make your goals results oriented.  There are two types of goals to be aware of.  They are, results goals, and action goals.  Results goals are what is the goal or outcome of actions taken.  Results can be objective or subjective.  The key is, whether the goal is objective or subjective, the goal is measurable.  To lose 40 pounds this year is a result goal.  It is objective.  By the same token, you could have a result goal to have significant improvement in your cardio vascular endurance.  While this may not be objective, you can measure your progress.

Activity goals lead to a result.  Using the lose 40 pounds goal, could include the activity goal of working out 5 times each week.  The activity of working out 5 times each week, leads to achieving the result goal of losing 40 pounds.

  1. Set becoming goals.  Becoming goals are goals around who you will be.  For example, you could have a goal to become an effective communicator.  The goal then, is to have you be an effective communicator.  Consider that becoming goals support you in achieving the results you want to achieve.  You cannot do before you be.

When my boys were growing up, (my oldest is almost 30 and my youngest just turned 27).  Before they left the house I would always tell them to be careful.  I did not tell them to do careful things.  If they were being careful, or careful is who they be, they would be doing things that careful people do.

The same concept is true for achieving your goals this year.  Who do you have to be to do the actions that bring the results you want?

The matter is now settled.  You now are resolved to achieving your goals for this year, or whenever you are reading this blog post.  Your resolution to achieve your goals is directly correlated to you implementing the 4 strategies above.  Go do it.  You, have Winning Posture which is, the mindset, of achievement.

Focus For Excellence

Focus for ExcellenceToday I was noticing as I was coming home from working out at the gym, how the sheriff’s department has been catching speeders at this one spot all week.  For the past few days, they have been at this one location where they can be somewhat out of sight, because there is a curve in the road there.  Drivers come around the curve and “boom” they get caught.   Why is it that so many people get caught speeding?  One thing for sure is that most drivers are not present to what they are doing.

Most drivers are driving with their subconscious.  They allow their minds to wonder or day dream.  Some are on their cell phones.  Make that a lot of them are on their cell phones.  Some are eating fast food.  And, some are more interested in the conversation that they are having with the person(s) in the car with them.   The bottom line is whatever they are doing it is something other than being focused on their driving.

Not being focused on driving leads to accidents and other misfortunes.  And in the case of this week in my neighborhood, you get a ticket.  You might say that you are focused on your driving.  Well, how many times have you drove past the street you were intending to turn on because you were not paying attention?

Consider that in your career or work, if you are not careful you will have the tendency to go into automatic mode just like you do in your driving.  That is the mode where you go through the motions, but are not really focused on the work you are doing.  You are not engaged because you are not present to what is going on.  You are simply operating out of habit.

Human beings will take the road of least resistance.  In other words human beings are pleasure seekers and pain avoiders.  Developing habits is what you do so you don’t have to exert the energy necessary to focus on a particular thing.  Developing these habits are good for some things, but they can be a detriment to your success in others.

Try this little exercise for yourself.  Just observe yourself during the course of the day and see how many things you do on auto-pilot.  Yes, the observation of yourself will require you to use energy and actually be present to observing your actions.  You may be very surprised at how much of your actions are done without actually thinking.  The observation will reveal that in some cases auto-pilot is ok and in some cases it is not.

Being present to the fact that you need your full focus to reach levels of performance that are required for excellence will allow you to put in the effort to be focused.

Effective Action Regardless Of The Circumstances

effective actionThere is a huge difference in affecting something and being at the effect of something.  How many times have you heard someone say “I would, but under the circumstances…”    A good question maybe to ask is what are you doing under the circumstances.  The place to be in not under the circumstance, but on top of the circumstances.  What a person is really saying when they say they are under the circumstances is they are allowing the circumstances to control what they will or will not do.

There is no substitute for action.  Action is the state of movement and energy where something is taking place.  Action is what creates results.  While you would think everyone would have action at the top of the list to get something done, it is overlooked time and time again.  People are busy thinking about taking action.  They say “I’m thinking about what to do.”  I’m not against having a great plan, but thinking for too long is a detriment.  Think less; act more!

Action by itself does not produce desired results.  There has to be effective action.  Effective action is what moves the results needle.  The thing about effective action is that a lot of times effective action is the actions you don’t want to take.   Because you don’t want to take the effective actions that leads to results, you allow other things like the circumstances to keep you from being in action.

How many times have you said you don’t “feel” like doing something?  When feelings stop you from taking effective action, the source of you not being in action is the same as the circumstances.   Circumstances can be external or they could be internal.  External circumstances are those things that are outside of you.  They are things such as the weather, friends, conditions, or hardships.  Internals circumstances are things such as fear, intimidation, feelings of overwhelm, and lack of motivation.

So how then do your get into action and take effective action in spite of circumstances.  The answer is you have to get connected to the “why” you are taking the action.  Your why is what will have you be in action when the circumstances tell you to not be in action.  Your “why” is what motivates you.

It is important to understand motivation.  Motivation is never outside of you.  No one can motivate you.  Only you can motivate you.  Someone may be able to create the environment for you to motivate yourself, but only you can motivate you.

The root word for motivate is to move.  Move in the sense of emotionally moved.  When you have strong identification and connection to your why, you will be moved to action.  And, not just any action, effective action.

Focus Is A Big Key To Success

I love to ride my motorcycle.  I have a Harley Davidson 2008 Street Glide Anniversary Edition and it is a sweet ride.  It is fun to ride motorcycles on winding roads.  Some people call them switchbacks.  What makes it fun is you get to lean your motorcycle through the curves by going from side to side.

tail of the dragon

Tail of the Dragon

There is a road that runs through Tennessee and North Carolina called “The Tail of the Dragon.”  It is a noted road because of the twists and turns.  If you look at the road from up above, it resembles a dragon’s tail.  This road is popular among motorcyclists and auto enthusiasts alike who want to test their skill.

As you can imagine, there have been many accidents on this road.  For motorcyclists to navigate the road successfully it requires focus.   There is a general rule in driving a motorcycle to look in the direction you want to go.  Most accidents involving motorcycle on The Tail of the Dragon have to do with the rider not looking where they want to go.  The get focused on not going off the road and end up going off the road because they are looking not where they want to go, but where they don’t want to go.  Then they end up where they don’t want to go because that was what they were focusing on.

The same is true when you are looking to achieve something that you want.  If you focus on what you don’t want instead of focusing on what you want, you most likely will end up with what you don’t want.

I hear a lot of people say to achieve something is hard.  We can have a debate later about what is hard.  But, if you focus on the “hard” stuff and not on what it is you will get after you complete the “hard” stuff you will get hung up by the “hard” stuff.

To achieve any goal or objective takes focus and keeping your eye on the target.  Break the habit of focusing on the things that actually take you away from your goal versus bring your closer to your goal.

Successful people have a laser like focus on what they want.   If you find you don’t have that laser like focus, start to practice developing it now.  Every time you catch yourself focusing on something other than your target, make the adjustment.  Before long, you will have developed a high degree of focus.

Let me know what you think about this below!