Think about the big picture, you’re losing the forest for the trees, don’t get lost in the minutiae. All the clichés about keeping your end goal in mind seem to forget the obvious; you can’t get to the end without taking all of the necessary steps first. This is not to suggest that setting big goals is wrong or foolish, rather that each step requires attention as well. As Anne Lamott suggests in her classic “Bird by Bird,” your next step only requires you to complete what you can see through a one-inch picture frame.
In the last post, Small Steps to Success, I discussed the idea of making your Next Step Plan (NSP). This allows you to get moving towards your big goals without having the big picture all worked out just yet. Focus on what you need to do right now to get the ball rolling. As you start to experience success with this method, you will want to expand on this, to provide a structured path to success on whatever your goal might be.
There is a simple five step method for accomplishing your goals. This method does not require having a clear picture of the ultimate goal. Rather it requires a direction that you want to go in, and the resolve to keep going. Here are the five steps:
- Short List
- Follow Through
Let’s tackle these one by one. First, research. Think about the necessary skills, knowledge or tools that you will need to accomplish your goals. Pick one of these and study the options available to you.
Second, make a short list of the options that are easily accessible, affordable and seem most interesting to you. Just making this list already puts you way ahead of most goal setters. You have taken a big step towards changing your future.
Now make a commitment. Sign up for the class. Buy the diet book (or borrow it from the library). Get the running shoes. Rent the instrument you want to learn to play. Register for that weekend event you have been dreaming about attending for years already.
Fourth, make a time for this on your calendar. Many goals languish merely due to lack of scheduling. Do not let this happen to your dreams. You deserve better than that. If you signed up for a class or event, add it to your phone’s calendar or to your email calendar (many email calendars are connected to your phone’s calendar as well). If this is not an event, make sure that you lock in a time, preferably in the next few days, to take that next step.
Finally, follow through. Go to the class, go running, start the diet, save your first $100, write your first article. This is so critical. You can make the most amazing plans, have super clear goals and written charts for tracking results, if you don’t take action you will get nowhere. You deserve better than this.
Now you know how to accomplish any goal. Research, make a short list, commit, schedule and follow through. That’s all there is to it. Give it a try, you deserve it.
Tell me about your goals and any questions you have about the five step plan. I love to hear from you.