In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about methods that help us define and develop goals.
Once you’ve clarified what they are, the next step is breaking each goal into down into manageable steps, so we can set out with a plan on how to accomplish them. This plan may need frequent adjusting. This is not only OK, but a healthy part of the process.
As we move along and things clarify, we sometimes find that part of a plan simply does not work. This is NOT to be considered failure, it is a mini-success because with the adjustment in our plan we align ourselves more closely with the end goal.
Ultimately, if we take steps on a daily basis (no matter how small) we can attain our goals. It’s important to remember that we may not reach our goals on the intended date. Some things are out of our control. And if you’re a parent, lack of time and energy are real obstacles that may hinder rapid accomplishment. Fear not, it’s still possible, as long as you become crystal clear about what you want and how you’re going to get it.
The good news is that if we do this ourselves, we wind up teaching our kids how to do it, too. It’s a winning situation for everybody.
Here’s snapshot of what my mentor, Zig Ziglar, says about the goals process. His fantastic book, See You At The Top, goes into great detail about this subject (see a full list of recommendations at the end of this article).
1) Identify EXACTLY what I desire
2) Spell out exactly why I’d like to reach these goals
3) List the obstacles I need to overcome in order to get there
4) Identify the people, groups and organizations I need to work with to get there
5) Identify what I need to know (learn) in order to reach these goals
6) Develop a plan of action
7) Set a date on it. When do I expect to get there?
One additional thought. If this all seems overwhelming, that’s normal. You can’t possibly answer all of these questions all at once. If you’re just starting the process, you may not be able to answer any. But if you allow yourself to believe that you can do this, you will. If you believe that you can’t, you won’t. In other words, your perception will create your reality.
SPEAKING OF KIDS
It’s never too soon to help our kids learn to set their own goals. By this I do not mean us setting goals for them, that’s different (and also necessary).
For instance, my son Max is in kindergarten. I shouldn’t expect him to be able to answer the following: “So, what are your plans to get to college?”
But I can help him set some goals for the coming school year. Any extra-curricular activities he might want to partake in (ie: swimming or track and field…) I also like to discuss future goals with both him – from career to family plans. I do this with my 3-year old, too. It helps my boys develop their frontal lobe, which is so important in decision making and problem solving.
There are too many young adults that have not idea how to set a goal, or what to do with their lives.
I’d like to take a deeper look at the kindergarten to college analogy. ANYBODY who tried to look at this scenario as a point A to point B endeavor would be completely overwhelmed. Here’s a way it can be broken down:
Kindergarten (where I’m at) to College (the goal)
the step-by-step approach to accomplishing my goal:
– Section it off by grammar school, middle school, high school and college.
– Now break it down by grade (year): kindergarten, grade 1, etc.
– By semester
– By month
– By week
– By day
– By class
You get the idea. Each step leads us to the ultimate goal, but it’s much easier to build upon if you start from the “by class” goal. Now it’s manageable – a small enough bite that you can actually chew on it, instead of choke on it.
Family goals could be anything from spending more time together, taking a family vacation, helping each other get in shape, fixing up the house, etc…
Sometimes an individual’s goal becomes a family goal. For instance, my son Max wants to be a NASCAR driver.
This is his goal. But since he’s only 5, it’s my job (and my wife’s job) to help him attain it – making it a family goal.
My first step is bringing him to a kart race to gauge his interest level. Once he sees exactly what kids’ kart racing entails (this actually exists for kids his age), what does he think?
My responsibility is to help both boys set goals that are realistic and attainable (but not necessarily easy). I can’t expect Max to drive a full-sized car right now, but there are karts he can drive, or he can play a driving game on the Playstation, etc…
If we make goal setting a way of life for ourselves and our kids, we can all expect more fulfilling and less frustrating lives.
Is it easy? NO.
Have I accomplished everything? Hardly.
Is it worth it? Absolutely.
It’s a long road, but the sooner we get on the better off we’ll be.
And remember, you are not alone…
For further reading & listening: