One of the best paths to success I have seen is coming up with a goal (make sure it’s one that is a stretch goal and excites you for one reason or another) and then take daily action steps. In my experience, both aspects are key to success. If you make a goal and don’t take daily action steps, the goal is likely to occur and conversely, if you are taking a lot of action but aren’t sure what you are moving towards, you also are likely to feel stuck and a lack of progress even when you are busy working.
If you haven’t done this, I recommend blocking off a bit of time from your calendar and doing a bit of soul searching about what bring you a lot of satisfaction or quality of life. Perhaps there is something that you already have in mind that you would like to do but just haven’t gotten around to it. If you are new to this process, I recommend choosing a goal that is medium sized so that you do not get overwhelmed, something that will take some effort on your part but is not overwhelming. If you are ready for a bigger task, and have staying power with goals, choose something larger. There are some goals that are many goals in one, so it’s important to recognize this. In choosing your goal you might ask yourself, why you want this goal? You may be surprised by your answer! If you do not like the answer you provided, you might want to choose a different goal. Choose a goal that feels like a stretch, if it’s too safe or easy, you won’t feel motivated. I like goals that make me feel a little terrified but that is me ;)
Once you have identified your goal, start to make a list – what are some things you will need to do to make this happen? Let’s say you have always dreamed about writing a book but don’t know where to start. I’ve included a sample brainstorm below to give you’re an example of what this might look like.
Goal: Write a Book
Action Steps Brainstorming:
· Research books on writing a book
· Read books on writing a book
· Brainstorm book ideas/topics
· Seek out blogs on writing and publishing
· Find and subscribe to podcast for writers
· Buy a notebook or journal or start an electronic note to keep information you learn
· Enroll in a class or join a writers group
· Read different books in the genre you like and identify what you like or don’t like in books
· Research writing/publishing conferences to attend
· Commit to writing 15 minutes a day
Now that you have some ideas/outline a schedule plan for yourself. I make mine weekly. On Sunday or Monday, I choose 5 to 7 small action steps to take that week. These could relatively small like read a blog post about writing, writing 15 minutes, research similar books to the one you want to write, etc. Choose action steps that don’t take a long time, but give you a sense of progress and movement towards your overall goal. You may be amazed how doing little things like this regularly leads to huge change in the long term. If you want to read more about this, I recommend the book The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. This book is all about how small things when done regularly over a period lead to huge results. They key to this is consistency. The good news is that once you get into a habit of doing these things, it actually gets exciting and you will likely want to keep going. Lay out a plan at the beginning of the week to do 1 small thing every day. At the end of the week assess and make a new list for the next week. In this way, you can build momentum and keep your focus on your overall goal. It also helps to ensure that the work you are doing is focusing on a goal that is important to you. We have all gotten stuck in the pattern of being busy and then not having much to show for it. This helps direct your energy to something positive and rewarding. This tactic also helps to break down goals and make them feel less overwhelming. This can be used for just about any type of goal.
Once you have accomplished a goal, I recommend identifying a new goal. It could be in a new life area or it could be related to something completely different. Maybe you are so jazzed about writing that you want to write another book. Maybe you want to buy a house. There are no right or wrong answers but by using this technique, you can ensure forward movement and momentum towards the goals that you want in your life.