Whether we want more emotional intelligence, a job we actually love, or defined abs, there’s a process to getting everything we want in life.
All goals require action. Here are seven steps to accomplishing any goal.
1. Be clear and specific about what the goal is.
“I want to be happy” is not a goal. What will make us happy? Be specific. Then break it down even further. Say we want to get into shape. Okay, describe what “in shape” looks like. I want to lose ten pounds. I want to increase my strength. I want to be faster at body weight movements. I want to look good in this dress. I want to run a marathon.
Hopefully, we have more goals than we have time to accomplish. So, we have to stay focused or we’ll get nothing done.
Start off with one goal at a time and be as specific as possible. I want a stronger connection with my wife. I want to write a children’s book. I want to learn how to communicate better. I want to be a better lover. I want to learn how to cook. I want more followers. I want to build a practice online.
2. Break down the steps to get there.
We’re lucky. The internet allows us to learn how to do anything without leaving the house. Research people who’ve accomplished what we want to accomplish and study them. Look for common patterns.
Then put it through our own filter and make a list of small, manageable steps that work for us. Write them down on a giant piece of butcher paper.
It’s always more effective when we can actually see the steps.
If the goals are just floating in our head, they may feel unobtainable and we will feel overwhelmed.
Put the ideas down on paper. See the path.
3. Get obsessed. This is key, but most of us drop the ball.
We lack motivation. We doubt ourselves. We fear failure, rejection, or not finishing.
The shortcut to getting past our doubts and distorted thinking is to immerse ourselves. Force ourselves to dive in.
Using my story as an example, I started with one blog and one post that was just four sentences long. I never set off to build an online therapeutic community or an online practice. My goal was simply to create a dialogue and hopefully help some people along the way.
But, I got obsessive about it.
I wrote and answered questions for hours on end. I sat in coffee shops and blogged until the sun went down. I documented my life and shared my story, showing people that therapists are, in fact, flawed and have their own struggles.
I did this for nearly four years. Every. Single. Day.
Today, my blog has over 6,000 posts. But, I don’t really remember writing any of them. It feels like I started it last week.
That’s because I immersed myself. I lost track of time. I got obsessed. Sometimes taking the plunge is the only way we’ll learn to swim.
4. Use our story as leverage.
Ask ourselves what’s at stake if we don’t accomplish this goal. For me, it wasn’t about accumulating a following. It was about building something of value to me, something that I did all by myself with no one’s help and was proud of.
Blogging was about expressing myself in a truthful way. No longer hiding.
Accomplishing this goal would meant that I had grown. What kept me going was the idea of a new me. There was nothing else I wanted more, which meant it was extremely valuable.
This fueled me—writing my ass off, expressing my truth, and not caring what others thought.
What’s at stake for we if you don’t accomplish our goal? Make sure what’s at stake has internal meaning and it’s tied to our story. If there’s nothing at stake, we’ll just spin our wheels. Using our story as leverage will give us traction.
5. Notice our gains.
There’s nothing more powerful than results. Period. we need to see that there’s progress. Building on that will create momentum, which is the sweet spot. It’s where stars align.
For many, results won’t match expectations. That’s because we all have a vision of how things are supposed to turn out. We use these expectations as a measuring stick for what’s happening in real life. This is like throwing tire spikes in our path.
Instead, focus only on our gains and lean into them.
Let go of everything else. We never know how things will pan out. All we can do is focus on the things we have control over. If we are seeing results, we have control over that because we’re doing something right.
6. Be tenacious.
Grip what we want as if someone’s trying to take what’s ours. Because it is ours.
We own our goals.
All we have to do is go get them. It may not be easy. But, what of value in this world comes easily?
Being tenacious may mean getting support. For example, if our goal is to get sober, chances are you will not be able to do it alone. Tenacity may mean budgeting, getting less sleep, swallowing pride, practicing forgiveness, making some phone calls, taking cold showers, and fighting self.
7. Take complete responsibility for the learning.
This is the nectar. Know that what we learn is the gold. Not the goal.
There will always be more goals. But our new understanding of ourselves will give us tools and new lenses to accomplish more. It’s also what will give us a sense of worth.
Accomplishing goals is really about rebuilding ourselves.
Setting and accomplishing goals make a better self.
This means no blaming. No complaining. No pouting. No excuses. Growth is a gift and the gift is always in the process.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock / Editor: Renée Picard