Two ingredients to accomplish your goals
By Executive Coach, Karen D. Nutter
Do you know anyone who wouldn’t like to achieve more? It seems everyone I know would like to achieve more success, more love, more recognition, or more peace in their life. Many people have great ideas, and great intentions of turning those ideas into something enriching and valuable but doing so can become a daunting task. There are usually several steps required in any accomplishment, and when there is a lot of minutiae required prior to seeing any real results, even the most exciting projects can lose their appeal. So, how can we overcome stagnation and achieve more?
Having spoken with and coached countless people, I have found one of the most common roadblocks to success is an inability to stay focused and dedicated to a primary goal. Finding and keeping your focus is the first step in achieving your goals. To do that, I like to start with WHY?
- Why do you have this goal?
- Why is it important to you?
I recommend making a list of whys, and thoroughly looking at your reasons. Sometimes, we decide we want a particular achievement because we think we’re “supposed” to, but when we are really honest with ourselves, it isn’t something we truly care about. If we try to push ourselves to accomplish something that isn’t in line with our personal values and intrinsic motivators, we are not likely to complete the task, or, if we do, it probably won’t be our best work. So, it’s really important that you make sure the goal(s) you’re pursuing are things YOU really want to spend time on, and not “shoulds” you have accepted from other people or forced upon yourself.
To further clarify your focus, ask yourself WHAT achieving the goal will do for you.
- What will it bring you, and is that something you REALLY want?
- What will you feel if you achieve this goal? Will that feeling inspire you to do more great things, or leave you feeling uninspired?
If your Why and What don’t align, and you’re having trouble staying focused on your goal, maybe it’s not the right goal for you. On the other hand, if your answers reinforce your dream and make you want to keep pursing it, you are on the right track and now we just need to keep you moving forward!
Staying dedicated to a goal, even one that ignites us, can be challenging at times. To stay focused and dedicated,
- Do something towards the goal every day – a little something every day adds up to a big success. Make a list of all the things you need to do to achieve your goal, and then break it into small, digestible tasks.
- Make sure the tasks are truly productive and not time-wasters. It’s easy to create a cycle of immobility by engaging in activities that don’t really move us forward, but which we rationalize as necessary. These rationalizations may include: doing more research, over-analyzing, being overly-critical, or perhaps coming up with the excuse of “I can’t do this until I do that.” Sometimes, we have to just move forward and fine-tune as we go along, or we will never make it to our destination.
- Have reminders everywhere that inspire you to keep going. I had a friend whose #1 on her bucket list was to go to Macchu Picchu. She hung a poster of it in her office so she saw it every day when she glanced up from her computer. She signed up for travel alerts so she could stay on top of the lowest airfares. And she made the home screens on her phone and computer show pictures of Macchu Picchu. Anytime she didn’t feel like doing extra work, (which would pay for the trip) or wanted to buy something she didn’t necessarily need, she saw these things and was reminded of her Why. She initially thought it would take her a year to get everything in order for her trip, but ended up so inspired and focused that she was able to go after only 3 months of dedicated focus.
- Engage in actions that work for YOU. Some people work best when they put tasks on a timeline, others find that too restrictive. Maybe staying dedicated is easier for you if you incorporate a little “time off” so you can recharge your batteries occasionally. Or, maybe you work better with a buddy who has a similar goal. You don’t have to work together on one project but can be a sounding board and encourage each other along the way. Recognize what you need to stay on task, and incorporate those things as needed.
Anything you want to achieve starts with a clear focus, a dedicated mindset, and persistence. If you’ve been struggling to actualize your success, don’t feel bad. While some people are so clear about their dreams and goals that they seem to easily visualize and achieve them, most people find it challenging to accomplish their personal and professional goals. Whether you need to overcome procrastination, or refuel your motivation, find your focus and do something every day to stay dedicated to your vision. Before you know it, you’ll be celebrating your accomplishment!