In Part 2 of this message, we discussed how you might go about setting your goal. Hopefully you have identified a goal which resonates with you and for which you have a deep, burning passion to fulfill. So let’s now examine the steps behind making your plan to achieve your goal and, specifically, some aspects on which to focus and others which you might be careful to avoid.
Following are some items which I recounted from my book, "Running Inspired - A Journey to Finding Inner Greatness" which I think will be helpful for you to consider:
- Set aside the time needed to truly think though and create a thorough plan. In order to do that, you must limit outside distractions. Realize that your planning process may require multiple cycles to adjust and refine as you think more deeply about how you will tackle the challenges to achieve your goal. You are planning for your success, so give this process the time and attention it deserves – because a worthy goal is worth the extra effort.
- Believe in yourself - even if it’s frightening and you have difficulty seeing how you can achieve your lofty goal. Change can be scary and your friends and family may not understand the change you want to make or why it is so important to you. Keep your eye on the prize and maintain your belief in yourself and your desired outcome.
- Break your plan into smaller, well detailed milestones upon which you can build. You can eat an elephant, but you are better off doing it one bite at a time! Seriously, smaller goals help to build confidence as you progress toward your ultimate goal, and that allows you to remain excited about your progress, energized for the next challenge, and avoid feeling like you completely failed if you have a temporary setback.
- Keep moving forward! Focus your effort on working your plan, and accept that making mistakes is OK and to be expected. Inertia is the greatest enemy in achieving your dreams, so maintain a sense of urgency in your actions. It may help to enlist an “accountability buddy” who helps keep you on task – and they need not be someone that who has done what you are trying to accomplish, but they should certainly be someone who wants to help you be successful.
- Verbalize your intentions and believe that you will achieve your dreams! You need not weave it into every conversation, but don’t be afraid to talk about your plans and dreams. By talking about them, you reinforce your commitment and take one more step toward making your goals a reality.
- Making excuses why you “can’t” do something is a negative action and poisonous to your thinking. Spend your energy on positive actions and focus on what you “can” do. With enough belief and perseverance you can do anything!
- Make your goal a priority and stop wasting your time watching TV or surfing social media sites. Your time is precious and you’ve decided that your goal is important to you – so give it the focus and effort it deserves.
- You are not in control of others’ thoughts and opinions, but you should not be swayed by them either. Sadly, negative feedback you might receive can be rooted in fear, misunderstanding, or simple toxicity. Any negativity which may come from others and your attempts to persuade them otherwise, is not worth your time and energy. Focus those two important resources on doing something positive – for yourself.
- Remember that the original intention was to do something positive for you, and that’s a worthy cause for being a little selfish with your time and energy. Unfortunately, you probably cannot expect to make everyone happy in that process – and you shouldn’t try. You needn’t feel guilty about doing something truly good for yourself in the pursuit of your goal.
- You need not be alone in the pursuit of your goal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There is power in numbers, and you may be surprised by the talents that exist in your circle of friends or the people they know. You never know what may come to you by reaching out, but you’ll need to ask for help in order to tap into that talent pool.
In the final part of this series, we will discuss planning for and overcoming adversity in your journey, as well as the reflection on your successes.