You have two choices when you look at today’s calendar. You can think “It’s August. I can’t believe this year is more than half over! What happened to all my goals?”
Or, you can think “It’s August. That means I still have nearly half a year to crush all my goals!”
If you’re a faithful reader of Roc’s Ramblings, you’ve dodged all the goal-setting pitfalls. But it’s still not enough to get you up off the couch. In fact, it’s a good bet that you know exactly what to do.
You just need the motivation to do it!
Firstly, sigh. Secondly, stop it. You should demand better of yourself. You deserve it after all.
STICK YOUR FINGER IN THE WOUND
Remember the moment you decided you needed to change and improve? I searched for a shirt that hung past my waist-band because I couldn’t button my pants. Maybe you backed out of a group dinner at the hot new restaurant in town because your credit cards were maxed out. I’ve actually done that too.
Remember the pain you felt, and the humiliation? And remember how you swore, and I mean swore, that this year was going to be different? You probably want to delete these thoughts from your memory. But quite thankfully, you can’t.
Instead, draw on this reservoir of hurt to bolster your resolve when you want to skip a workout, or eat a donut, or buy a set of speakers that you can’t afford.
If your goals this year included “Lose some weight, learn Japanese, launch the next Facebook, build your dream home from a D.I.Y. kit, climb Mount Everest …” well, no wonder you feel like a failure.
Goals are supposed to enhance our lives, not make us miserable!
So give up.
And start over.
Pick two or three goals that you can realistically achieve by year’s end. Maybe a personal habit you’d like to change immediately. And two longer-term goals you can steadily chip away at in the weeks and months ahead.
Ignore the critics, internal and/or external, telling you that two or three goals is not enough: Bringing laser-like focus to a smaller list will guarantee your success.
ADD SOME SWAGGER
Some experts stress stating goals in positive rather than negative terms, while others suggest phrasing goals as if they’ve already happened.
A better tactic?
Goals so exhilarating and juicy that the rest of the world fades into the background when you think of them, and you should think of them often. So, “Make more money” or “Lose weight” just won’t work. Instead, be specific. If details go in during planning, detailed results are produced.
I’m tired of being broke. I’m launching a zero-overhead restaurant consulting business during my night and weekend hours. In one year’s time I’ll make enough money to quit my day job. And I’ll never work for anyone else as long as I live. Who’s the boss now? Me!
I’m tired of being fat. That’s not who I am. I can lose 25 pounds just by cutting out the junk food and fast food, and walking more. Come New Year’s Eve, I’ll rock that Size 6 little black dress that’s been collecting dust in the back of my closet. Have your smart phones ready, world, because I’m definitely posing for pictures.
TAKE MONEY OUT OF THE EQUATION
For each goal, come up with a list of 100 fun, easy and (almost) free steps you’ll need to take to reach that goal. If you are trying to lose weight, your list might include: “Use a side entrance to avoid the candy jar near the front door” and “Walk the dog while I listen to my favorite Eve Online podcasts” and “Use Pinterest to find healthy breakfast and lunch recipes that I’ll enjoy eating.”
The entrepreneur might write: “Get a library card and read one business or marketing book a week” and “Join my neighborhood business association and start networking” and “Find a struggling restaurant and offer them consulting — in exchange for a video-taped testimonial.”
Begin to strategize how you can absorb these small steps into your everyday life.
GIVE YOURSELF A PEP TALK
Use the device of your choice: smartphone, wristwatch, kitchen timer, whatever, to chime every hour on the hour. When it does, silently reinforce your goal with a mantra that will bring a sly little smile to your face: “I’m an unstoppable freight train. I’m losing 25 lbs by New Year’s Eve. Consider yourself warned. Get in my way, you will get hurt.”
Or “Business books will be written about my dogged persistence. Harvard will dedicate a management course to my meteoric climb. One day, the Fortune 500 will want my consulting advice. I’ll try to fit them in.”
Each day, give those mantras a fun, creative twist. And If anyone asks about the hourly chime, you can honestly say: “It’s a technique I’m using to make sure the day doesn’t get away from me.”
PROGRAM YOUR DREAMS
Instead of counting sheep before you go to sleep each night, conjure up relaxing images of your success. Maybe it’s you, meditating, all beefy and ripped, looking amazing in your clothes. Maybe it’s you, unwinding with a nightcap, delivered by your butler, from your study overlooking Manhattan’s Central Park.
Drift off to sleep with these empowering images in your head.
When you wake up in the morning, spend five minutes in bed visualizing your successful self blasting through the day ahead. That’s you in the medium J.Crew shirt turning heads on the subway. That’s you, wearing a hand-stitched Italian business suit telling your driver there’s been a change in plans – instead of heading straight into the office downtown, you’re stopping uptown to meet a prospective new client.
Write all those delicious images down, so you can use them on days when your creativity is waning.
DITCH THE EXCUSES
You must spend at last 60 minutes per day working toward your goal. What’s that, you say? You don’t have the time? Really? There is a phrase about how if you want something done, ask a busy person. Time management is an essential skill all unto itself. You’re never too busy to prioritize yourself.
Even if your goal has nothing to do with fitness, realize that you are lying if you say you don’t have the time to dedicate 60 measly minutes per day toward your goal. Make it happen.
You can break it up if it’s easier. Work on your business plan for 30 minutes, twice per day. On especially busy days, work in four 15 min. intervals. Go back to your list of 100 ways to achieve your goal and identify the ones that can be done in little spurts of time.
If you’re trying to lose weight, spend 30 minutes per day on meal prep and planning, and 30 minutes per day at the gym.
Bottom line: Give 23 hours a day to The Man, your spouse, Eve Online, your kids, your commute, Twitter, sleep and whatever else is tugging on your time.
But you deserve 60 minutes per day to make your dreams come true. Don’t you?
SHOUT IT TO THE UNIVERSE
Do you think you’re the first person to want to lose 25 pounds, or become their own boss? Of course not. And you certainly won’t be the last. So what if you used your journey, your ups and especially your downs, to encourage others? Sound familiar?
If people at work see you dropping pounds by packing your lunch and skipping the candy jar, they’re likely to do the same. And if friends and relatives see you taking small, persistent achievable steps toward financial freedom, it might embolden them to make wiser budgeting decisions.
Imagine the ripple effect if all the people that you’ve motivated, in turn motivated others? There is, quite literally, no end to the number of people you could inspire by your grit and determination.
You could also inspire the masses by starting a blog. Who knows, maybe one day that could turn into an eBook that you sell on your site. You know, something like “Roc’s Rules”. How cool would that be?
You could also become an instructor, a consultant, or a motivational speaker, or all three. You could command big money to help people learn from your mistakes, and your successes.
Moreover, by making your commitments public, by shouting it from the rooftops, you’re far more likely to stay on task yourself. Trust me, public accountability is a huge factor.
Well, there you have it – inspiring strategies for getting this year’s goals back on track.
Which of these tips do you think will work best in your life? If you put them to use, I want to hear all about it.
Oh, and one more thing: When you’re basking in all your accomplishments come New Year’s Eve. think to yourself “WWRD?” and smile at the memory of our journey together.