The establishment of a healthy desire is paramount in the successful achievement of any goal. Fortunately, for most of us, that healthy desire comes as a nagging motivator that constantly suggests what we should be doing as opposed to what we usually do.
Meeting our goals is simply taking a healthy desire and succumbing to it—perhaps easier said than done, but certainly no more complicated.
This is made easier if we have just one goal—just one thing—to concentrate on. That one thing we can achieve if we’re determined enough and have enough imagination to construct a worthy plan for change.
The following four steps may help:
1. Plan What’s Right (for You and Nobody Else)
The trouble with many self-improvement plans is they don’t cater for individual differences. If we have imagination, wisdom, and vision (and all of us do) we can develop a plan that is fair and achievable, and even inspiring.
This is about creating rules that work for us—we will own these rules.
It’s also about focusing on the specifics of the goal; getting down to the actual endpoint we wish to achieve. Many times the soul has uttered such a desired endpoint, yet we have continued to ignore it. Now is the time to plan to achieve that right thing.
This is personal. Goals have to be personal; relevant only to us, workable in the context of our lives.
2. Consider Foreseeable Threats
This is the biggest reason that has destroyed our previous plans and which has the ongoing power to implode our future plans.
There will always be threats. Life is not life without them.
Our planning needs to cater for the existence of foreseeable threats. These are things whirring through our minds during the early going and, also, in the maintenance of our goals. Threats both come by surprise and sneak up on us.
A good for instance, regarding diet, is the threat of dining out—how will we plan that event in order to stay within the planned boundaries?
3. Construct/Envision a Schedule
Considering the threats, and knowing the major chunks of what’s right for us, alone, it’s now time to engage in the nitty-gritty of creating a schedule—a plan on paper using dates and times and other necessary details—that we intend to stick to.
This schedule needs a couple of date ranges. The first is the immediate, short-term, goal—something achievable in the first 30-40 days. Our willpower can carry us that far, but perhaps no further, for we will need to anticipate a plan with fresh emphases.
The achievement of giving up smoking or drinking is slightly different in that a one-day-at-a-time approach is most likely the successful one. Perhaps we might plan to reward ourselves at the 30-40 day mark.
30-40 days is the time taken to construct a new habit. We will also need a string of such plans to carry us through the first months, to 6 months, 12 months, and finally two years. Perhaps new habits need a full two years of validation before the change is considered permanent. Two years may seem a long time, but two years comes quickly.
4. Review Progress Regularly
This step is critical to achieving the medium- to long-term result. It’s actually a continual process from day one. It’s using whatever discretionary time (the time we have choice over) we have to create focus in steering us to the goal.
This step, alone, is the most important, for if we can manage the moment—making wise decisions each moment—we have everything we need to achieve the goal.
As soon as we forget to review our progress regularly, though, the energy behind our change process will dissipate and failure will become more imminent. Not reviewing progress regularly is the biggest threat we must manage.
Goals are important. Meeting such an objective is listening to the healthy desire within each of us. Self-discipline is achievable if we follow broad rules. Previous failures, even hundreds of them, have no say over future success!
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.