In the last few blogs, I have shared my perspectives on finding purpose, and creating a vision board to put your dreams on paper. Now, it’s time to make your dreams a reality by achieving one goal at a time! Why one goal? – Research has shown that you are more likely to succeed when you pick one goal at a time and give your 100% to achieving that goal.
Here’s an experience I would like to share with you that ties to this topic.
It was a sunny spring evening in Stuttgart, a manufacturing-hub of Germany. Even though I was zonked after an 11 hour long journey, I was super excited to meet my friends for dinner in the city center area. The place we decided to meet was about a 20 minute commute via a U-Bahn (city’s public transport system) and a short walk from the hotel. Armed with google maps and the local transit system app downloaded; I was ready to take on the challenge of travelling alone without much ability to understand the local language and the signs written in German. I did as google said- walked to the station, got help from friendly local people around me to get my ticket and hopped on the train. My destination was 3 stops away from where I boarded. After eagerly counting the stations one, two, three- I got down at the third station and turned on my google maps to walk to the restaurant. Well, there was a problem… Google was saying I was 4 miles away and based on my walking speed, 1+ hour away from the restaurant…
The problem here was that I took the wrong train and went in the opposite direction. As a result, I was 6 stops away from where I needed to be. I informed my friends that I was running late and again asked my way around to find the right train, going in the right direction- finally landing at the correct stop. Long story short, after exploring the city with my train adventure, I found my way to the restaurant; enjoyed a good meal, great company and laughter with my friends!
The process of setting goals and taking action to achieve them is very similar to my adventurous experience and inspired me to share these 6 steps to setting and achieving goals.
1. Start with Why
When you write down a goal, it’s important to ask some questions around why a specific goal is important to you. What is your motivation behind achieving the goal? How is it tied with your purpose, overall vision and dreams? The stronger the why, the better the changes of you trying to figure things out. My why in the above situation was strong- I wanted to see my friends and have a good time with them. I also didn’t want to not show up knowing that my friends have worked around their schedules to meet me for dinner.
2.Set your goal
It’s important to spend some time on clearly articulating your goal in vivid detail. What does “done” look like when you achieve the goal? I encourage you to make sure your goal is a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) one. The more details you add, the better picture you have. My goal here was a simple one- figure out how to get to the restaurant and meet my friends for dinner at 6:30 pm.
3.Make a plan
Once you set your SMART goal, it’s time to break it down into tasks, measures and milestones you would have to accomplish in order to meet your goal. The key is in the details. My plan in this case included, identifying the route to get to the restaurant using maps and local transport system.
4. Get your tools and infrastructure ready
Based on the mapped out plan, you need to identify the tools and the infrastructure you need to execute your plan. For example, if your goal is to workout 5 days a week at home, you need to plan what space, equipment and resources (workout videos, dumbbells, shoes) you would need to work your plan and achieve your goals. Again, in my case, I downloaded the local transportation app, utilized google maps and had my friend’s numbers handy if I needed to contact them.
5. Be Flexible
It’s important to have a plan and it’s equally important to be flexible and quickly adjust and change based on the circumstances. As you are working through your tasks, take a moment to pause and check your progress and adjust as needed. In my situation, when I realized that I took the wrong train and went in the opposite direction; I had to figure out my way back and inform my friends about the delay.
Often, we are so busy with handling the tasks and moving on to the next big project or next big goal, we don’t pause and take time to recognize our accomplishments and celebrate. Celebration doesn’t need to be this big event or an activity. It could be as simple as treating yourself with a new pair of Jeans if you meet your fitness goals.
Are you ready to apply this 6 step process to achieve your next big goal and celebrate? Don’t wait, it all starts with you taking the first step!