By Dan LeFave
Do you have your goals all set for this year? Have you planned for your successes by creating a roadmap to hit them? Goals are great, but without a roadway to reach your destination, you’ll struggle to get there.
Do you have daily, weekly and monthly actions that you can consistently take to reach your goals? Do have a system for taking inventory of your actions so that you can make course corrections and develop replicable goal-achieving practices?
Before I give you the three simple steps to make this the best year, there are four actions that you’ll want to take:
Identify the key motivations behind your goals and get in touch with why you’re personally motivated to achieve them. Focus on your internal drive, nothing external. Certain goals might be important to others, but why are yours important to you? You may have to ask yourself some deep questions, such as, “What’s at stake if I achieve it? What’s at stake if I don’t?”
Record your motivations. I write a series of bullets, maybe five to 10 for each goal. I recommend just listing them until you run out of motivations. These are going to be very important when the times get tough. You want to keep them in a place where you can easily retrieve them and be able to refer to them later.
Prioritize your motivations. You want to identify your most compelling motivations at the top of your list so that you can give them the most attention. Go through the list and rank them. Then write your reordered list in a journal or record it on your phone or computer. You want to have convincing reasons readily available to keep you pressing forward and accomplish your goal.
It’s hard to imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t kept my list of key motivations for my book Stepping Stones to Success. One thing is certain. My current business wouldn’t exist.
Connect with your key motivations. There are two ways to connect. First, you need to intellectually buy in to the motivation as to why it’s important. Maybe it’s some remarkable data you’ve studied, research you’ve done, or an argument you find intellectually compelling.
Second, you need to buy in emotionally. It’s not only important to understand it, but also to feel what’s at stake. You want to anticipate what it would feel like to achieve your goal.
Once you’ve completed your key motivations, you can put into action the three essential steps for guaranteeing their success:
Step 1: Review your goals daily and key motivations once a week.
You can do this in a physical journal or with software or an application of your choice. I recommend reading your goals every morning and asking yourself, “What is the one action that I can take today towards each of my goals that will move me closer to achieving them?”
Step 2: Maintain forward momentum.
Momentum feels great and with every check on our lists, our personal well-being improves. The closer we get to our goals, the greater our sense of confidence, excitement and personal happiness. And that’s exactly why you must persist and not procrastinate. Once you get started, it’s difficult to stop. Once you stop, it’s difficult to get restarted. I learned that the hard way when running marathons.
As previous steps help get you up to speed, you’ve got to stay focused and keep the momentum going. Here’s how I do it. Every morning, I review my goals and find the next action on a specific goal, and I make sure that it’s one of my “big three” tasks for the day that I commit to completing no matter what. Then I take action on it first thing. I want to keep checking items off and maintain momentum at all costs.
Step 3: Celebrate your wins.
If you’re an achiever like me, stopping to celebrate can be very difficult to do. Once I check the goal off, I move on to the next thing. But you can’t let that happen if you’re really going to make progress and if you’re going to have your best year ever. You’ve got to slow down and celebrate the milestones along the way.
When you celebrate the wins, you validate the work. When you skip the celebration, you devalue all your efforts. That’s why it’s so critical to celebrate hitting certain markers. Bring your family into it. Bring your staff into it. But take the time to celebrate. Reinforce it. Let it sink into your nervous system and power you across the goal line.
Put these practices to the test and assess your progress in three to four weeks. We always learn from looking back at our lives but we must move forwards through life.