We all have big goals in our heads. Things we want to accomplish now or in the future. Often times we fail to meet these goals because the mere size of them seems too big. We place these huge responsibilities on ourselves to succeed at these goals that we fall short of the finish line, many times miles away. The issue I’ve seen and experienced is that we make these big goals one checklist item or one goal alone. If we break these big goals up into manageable pieces then they become much easier. The following are five ways I have found to be helpful in accomplishing those big goals.
1. Baby Steps
I start with baby steps because that is where we all started. We didn’t just pop out and go for a nice run. We stood and stumbled and fell and got up and tried again. Soon we were taking little steps, one and two at a time, until we were full on walking around the house and climbing on toy pianos to get to the coffee table to play with the remote. The holy grail of our baby minds. The adults are obsessed with this, I have to have it! Baby steps can be applied to a lot of things in our lives. Do you want a better body? You don’t need to jump into three protein shakes a day and running five miles after spending two hours in the gym. Start small and work your way up. Go for a fifteen minute walk every day for a week. The next week bump that fifteen up to twenty and so on. As you slowly build you will see results in your ability to accomplish your goal. Those short walks will turn into long walks. Those long walks will turn into short runs. Those short runs will turn into your first marathon and your ability to put an annoying 13.1 oval sticker on your car to show off that you ran once. I’m kidding. That is a great accomplishment. Be proud. Apply the baby steps method to your big goals and find ways to break that goal up into bite sized pieces and make a plan to eat them one at a time.
Chances are, we’ve all written a checklist at some point in our lives. They help keep us on task and remind us of the things we need to get done. Checklists can help us tackle those big goals as well. When we write down the steps it will take to meet those goals we are able to see them in a tangible form, which makes them feel more real and doable. As you do the items on your list you start to mark them out and soon your page is halfway filled with crossed out items and you can physically see that you are halfway to your goal. I recommend making this list a physical list as opposed to a digital one. There is something about putting pen to paper that connects your more to the moment than downloading a checklist app and tapping a circle to tell the computer you completed a task. Write this list and keep it with you or place it in a prominent place in your home or office where you will see it every day and be reminded to do what you wrote down.
3. The Seinfeld Method
A few years back I read an interview with Jerry Seinfeld, comedian from the hit 90’s comedy “Seinfeld” and the new series on Netflix “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.” His stand-up comedy career has been long and highly successful and when asked what the secret to his success was, he told the interviewer that he wrote comedy every single day. Not only did he write comedy every single day, but he got a calendar and he would mark an X on every day that he would write. The goal was to never break the chain. He hung that calendar where he would see it every day and it would remind him that the key to his success was going to be to write comedy every day. If he missed a day then he broke the chain and the only person he let down at that point would be himself. So, he wrote every day and now he’s one of the biggest comedians on the planet. Get yourself a calendar and start your own Seinfeld method. I personally have a few around the house for multiple things. I have one for my morning yoga routine, one for my nightly work-out routine, and one for writing. All of these calendars, while they may make me look like a Batman villain ‘Calendar Man,’ they help me stay on track and help me reach my big goals of being in better shape and becoming a better and successful writer.
4. Accountability Partner
Taking on a big goal is a big task. It wouldn’t be a big goal if it wasn’t. That can be daunting for some and that’s where reaching out to others can be of great benefit. Find yourself a friend or family member whom you trust and share your big goal with them. Ask them to help you stay on course by pushing you when you feel like quitting or simply being there to listen when you are feeling frustrated. Having someone else on your team can greatly increase your chance at success. It is important to choose someone you know will not let you slide too easily. There are close friends and good friends who simply don’t have it in them to tell you the hard truths and really push you. Also, this is a two way road. You need to be able to offer the same in return if they ever need and probably most importantly, you need to stay calm and understand that while they are being hard on you, they are there to help and what they say or do isn’t intended to hurt you. Their external voice is often the voice we don’t want to hear that we already hear in our own heads, but hearing it from someone else can hurt. Try to stay focused on your big goal and take what they say as help. This is what an accountability partner does.
5. Turn to Social Media
One of the greatest accountability partners out there can be the internet. They are loving and harsh and don’t let your forget your successes and your failures. It can be scary to put your goals out there online, but while there will be some haters, you will find there is a sea of very positive and supportive people out there. Some of my biggest supporters for my big goals and my art are people I’ve never met before and we only know each other through social media. I’ve witnessed people make big gains in their fitness life by posted progress pics. That can be one of the scariest goals to share online as chances are our reason for wanting to get into better shape is that we aren’t happy with how our bodies look now. To share that body you don’t even like to look at with the world is hard, but if you lay out your goal and consistently show your audience your progress, you will find a group of cheerleaders rooting for your success.
Take these tips and apply one or all of them to your next big goal. You will soon see that it has become a lot easier to reach those heights than it was without them. Now, this isn’t to say that the process won’t still be hard. Anything worth doing takes work. These tips are simply designed to aid you in the process and take off a bit of that burden of “Holy shit! I can never do that!” Share with me your big goals and I would love to hear about your success stories using any of these tips.