By Jeremy Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, USAW
As the Thanksgiving Holiday draws near here in the US of A, and it gets closer to the end of 2012, I find myself taking my annual ritual to give thanks for all that has happened in my life thus far, to all the people who have helped me to get to where I am today, and to reflect and set new goals moving forward. While I typically set 90 day goals, this is the time of year where I take a closer look at the big picture and critically analyze my aim to hit the bulls-eye on the target.
To get a better understanding and more accurate reflection of my past year, I make my lists on a piece of paper. I keep tabs of everyone who I’ve learned from, books I’ve read, and those who have graciously helped me in one way or another in my journey. With all the busy-ness in life, I’ve found that writing things down is key and it better prepares me to perform this task through the little interruptions (ie. fatherhood responsibilities)that may take place during my reflection project. Writing things down also allows me to truly visualize all that I have to be thankful for and get a more accurate snapshot of where I am on my life journey.
Embrace the Positive and the Negative
Due to my Faith and solid perspective on who I am, I make sure to give thanks for not only the positives and successes in my life, but also the setbacks, negatives, and failures. I know I am not only shaped by positive experiences, but also by negative experiences. Negative experiences also help us grow and teach us how to cope, how to adjust attitude, and they tell us who we are (character). Anyone can seem like a great person when everything is going their way! It’s how we react and how we handle the obstacles, challenges, and difficulties in life that helps define us and shows our true character.
Analyze your Plans
These experiences also let us know that some of our plans/steps towards attaining our goals may have been flawed. Setbacks and failures are not bad if you take the opportunity to learn from them. Did they occur because you got off course? Did they occur because you tried to move too quickly? Why did they happen? These are all questions you can address when analyzing the outcome. Stay strong towards your goal and make the necessary adjustments to your plans/steps to get you there. No matter what, be thankful for the journey and growth in becoming who you were meant to be.
Set your goals, and take action
I would like to share with you some simple steps I have learned in setting goals that have helped me tremendously along my journey.
First, take careful, critical self-analysis. Yes, that means being honest with yourself. You need to know where you are before you can layout any plans or steps towards attaining any goals. If you lie to yourself, you will most likely fall flat on your face and never achieve your goals. If you need help with this, find a friend that’s not afraid to be honest with you and doesn’t ‘blow smoke’ or make everything ‘okey dokey.’
Second, establish your vision. I don’t mean get corrective lenses, but rather begin to write down your goal oriented vision.
Create a Vision
Steven K. Scott, author of “Lessons from the Richest Man who ever lived,” in what is considered one of the best goal setting programs available, defines vision as ‘a very precise, clearly defined goal that you want to achieve AND a very accurate roadmap and schedule to achieve that goal.’
Notice that it is not only important to have a precise, clearly defined goal, but it is also important to create a roadmap or scheduled plan to attain that goal. A goal without a roadmap or a plan is merely a dream or a wish. Creating a detailed and accurate plan, and executing the plan are the keys to achieving the goal.
Another one of the goal setting experts and mastermind of success, Napoleon Hill, mentions six steps to obtaining your goals (‘Think and Grow Rich, p. 36).
These six steps according to Napoleon Hill are:
Step 1: Set a goal. Know exactly what you want, and be specific.
Step 2. Determine exactly what you will give in return for what you want to receive. Determine what you will give up to ‘go up’ (the success ladder). You may need to give up extra time hanging with friends, going to the movies, going to the prom, etc., to put in the necessary training time to attain your goals.
Step 3. Set a deadline for your accomplishment. Part of creating a schedule is having a deadline in mind.
Step 4. Create a definite plan and put it into action immediately, whether you’re ready or not. Action is the enemy of thought—too many people will never think they’re ready and will never get started.
Step 5. Write out a clear concise statement with the 4 steps above, what your goal is, what you will do in return to achieve it, the date you intend to get it, and describe the plan through which you will acquire it.
Step 6. Read your statement twice daily, in the morning and at night, and “as you read—see and feel and believe yourself already in possession of your goal.”(Think and Grow Rich)
By following the above steps, you will be well on your well towards achieving your goals. Remember, be honest with yourself. If you are 6’4”, and 110lbs, and have a small skeletal frame, don’t make your goal to be the World’s Strongest Man in 6 months—that’s not realistic, and it would be difficult to devise a roadmap for that goal. A more realistic goal would be to win a local strongman competition, in the lightweight division, on a specific date and at a specific location. You could set goals for each specific event and create a roadmap to achieve each.
In the end, it’s all about being realistic and knowing exactly where you are before you start your journey towards your goal.
Knowing where you are will help you develop a more accurate roadmap to where you want to be. Set your goal, create your map and take action!
“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.”—Les Brown
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