The other day I was looking at myself in the mirror (again) when I started talking to myself. “Del, you’ve been working out for years, where’s your six pack – why am I not ripped like a supermodel?” Yeah, questions I shouldn’t really be asking myself because it’s not like I live in the gym or really been working out that hard or consistently anyway. So I should not be expecting the six pack results.
in any case all this thinking got me thinking about success planning (yes I think too much lol). In my 30 plus years on this earth I’ve accomplished a few good things in my life and I’ve noticed a certain pattern in my behavior. It took me a few weeks thinking about this to synthesize my thoughts and ideas into 7 points and these are the points I’d like to share with you.
I’m a very goal oriented person and every year I set for myself a few things to achieve or change, but of course some of these things never get done. However for the ones that do get done there’s a certain pattern that’s followed which leads me to success. What I’ve come to realize just recently is that I need to formalize this pattern in myself in order to rise to even more consistent and greater successes.
1. Clearly define your goal
All 7 points are important but this first point is the anchor. Michael Lee-Chin once said this at a conference, “if you aim at nothing you will hit it with absolute accuracy”. This little quote packs a huge punch, we need to be precise in our goal setting. Without question, you must know what you want and you have to be able to articulate it clearly, better yet write it down.
Example: I want to reduce my body fat from 29.7% to 15% by November 19, 2014.
2. Clearly explain the reason/motivation for your goal
This is all about the why? Why we do things is very important, it’s the fuel in the engine that keeps us going when disappointments and distractions get in the way. Your goal has to have a purpose connected to it. We are emotional beings and everything we do is emotionally driven. Take a moment to think about this and you will agree it’s true. All our successes to this point had an emotion attached to them, there is always a real emotional reason driving us forward.
Example: I want to reduce my body fat so I can walk the beach with my shirt off and feel good about myself. I want to feel like a superstar.
It doesn’t matter what your reason is (I don’t think it does), however it does matter that you are honest with yourself. You have to be sure to tap into the right emotion(s), your true reason. If it’s not the true reason your emotional connection to your goal will fade. Your car needs gas to keep going not cooking oil, but gas. Do not ever lie to yourself.
3. Set a target time to achieve goal
Linked to point 1, you need a timeline, this will also lead right into point 4 below. Besides being emotional beings we also think linearly. This whole process success planning is really about self programming. Fixing a timeline will get your mind working on the “how questions” before you even get to them. For example, losing five pounds in five days is way different from trying to shed five pounds in five months. Time makes a huge difference on the methods you use to arrive at your goal.
Another key to consider, no matter your timeline your starting point should be immediate, you should always start now.
4. Lay out a detail specific plan
You will never know everything (particularly if it’s your first time driving at your goal). The necessity of this point is to get you to think of the magnitude of the investment required to get to your goal. These are the how steps, write down everything that comes to mind. If you get stuck, you could consider getting help, write down the possible resources you could go to for help.
5. Identify the risk factors
This is a critical point, particularly for myself. As the saying goes “goals fail for lack of planning” but I’d restate it as “goals fail for lack of risk mitigation planning”.
If you need to be in the gym at 6am, then you must be in bed early enough to get adequate sleep. What are the things/activities getting in your way of getting to bed early? Clearly identify these risk factors. If you are going to bed at 9pm but still waking up feeling tired, it could mean you were out drinking with friends after work or maybe you are not eating well enough. Maybe you need to get your health checked.
My point is, you need think this through careful and identify the things that could get in your way of driving to your goal and plan for a way around them.
People fail for lack of risk mitigation planning.
6. Identify resources for help and accountability
As the poem goes, “no man is an island” we all need each other. Seek sources of strength outside yourself, find a mentor, coach or an accountability partner or simply tell someone else about your desired goal.
For two good reasons you should not underestimate the power of this point. Firstly as mentioned before we are emotional beings and generally speaking we do not like to disappoint others or to publicly acknowledge failure. This reason alone will help us to move forward.
However is this first reason is not enough, a coach, a mentor, whoever we seek out should serve as a source of strength and encouragement. It’s even better if this person has done it before and can show you the way forward.
It goes without saying but I’ll say it, please do avoid negative people and nay-sayers.
7. Regularly review and adjust plan, and measure progress
Nothing works perfectly as planned particularly if you are doing it for the first time, so it’s important to keep a close eye on your plan and progress on a regular basis. Over each cycle look for ways to tweak your plan, maybe you will identify new risk factors that you can now mitigate. Maybe your timeline is not realistic and you need to make adjustments.
You need to stay on it, keep it active and fresh in your mind. Share your progress with your supporters and build momentum. Reward yourself for small accomplishments.
The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” Genesis 11:6
We as humans are remarkable beings, with careful planning and executive we can can do almost anything.