How much time, effort and sometimes even money have you already spent on trying to figure out how to build a user friendly and easily reachable set of goals? I bet like me until I figured it out, you became so frustrated that you finally just stopped trying and winged it instead, which, incidentally, probably also left you feeling frustrated. One’s interest, motivation and all enthusiasm start to wane after a few weeks or months of trying. Or how about this; you just finished a great summer program and perhaps you were given a goal chart with specific instructions on how to achieve your goals within a particular time frame which in reality makes no sense to you. How is that working?
We make such a big deal about this particular process when in reality it is such a subjective and simple procedure. Because each of us is internally wired differently, use different inner languages, exhibit different motivational systems, traits and behaviors and make different choices I hope you can understand that no one plan works for everyone. Think of finding your goals and creating a plan of action as a very unique and personal process that will give you the satisfaction of doing “it” your way on your own time table. There is no one way to get to your goals. This is the best kept secret in the world.
“Never mistake motion for action.” – Ernest Hemingway
Decide what you want, why you want it and how you plan to achieve it. No one else can or should do this for you. Are the benefits, intentions, and purpose of accomplishing your goal real or just some pie in the sky wish or some unrealistic fantasy?
Logically how long do you believe it will take to accomplish this goal? We all have a particular way of moving through time that works best for each of us. So keep YOUR pace even if it doesn’t follow someone else’s rules. There is no right or wrong, better or worse to any of this. You just need to find how this process works best for just you. Remember that in essence it is first creating a goal, then a plan of action to reach that goal which simply let’s you know where you are right now, where you want to go and your estimated time of arrival, nothing trickier.
Try this: Write down one small goal which doesn’t even have to be about your singing career. Make it something that could perhaps be accomplished within a week’s time. Write down all the good things, the perks that you will gain because you accomplished this goal including how you will feel. Next, list all the perceived problems, sacrifices and events that reaching this goal might cost you. Last but not least ask yourself truthfully, “Is it worth it”. That is one way to start this process and clearly help you decide what it is you do want.
Crystallize your goals. Make a plan for achieving them and set yourself a deadline. Then, with supreme confidence, determination and disregard for obstacles and other people’s criticisms carry out your plan. Paul J. Meyer
Often we are told there needs to be some big structure to hold all of this “goal and plan of action” in place. This can be important and work for some people and there are a plethora of these systems out there so look around and ask others if this is how it needs to be for you. What I eventually discovered was that for me I need to have a sort of nebulous time frame for the ultimate goal (making a full time living as an opera singer) and then work one week at a time on what I know has to be done now that will eventually get me where I want to go. Find what works just for you. You will feel so in charge and motivated.
Ultimately you do need to get your plan of action down to what work needs to be accomplished week by week and break it down even further to a daily “to do” list that by the end of each week will fulfill one of those really small goals and help inspire you to move on to what comes next. This is a journey and not just a means to an end, so expect failure, mistakes and falling off the horse occasionally. Every successful person experiences this. What matters is how you choose to deal with these “blips” as you go. Remember this is how we learn anything and is simply feedback. Don’t beat yourself up, just look for the lesson in what you have done and continue to adjust as you go. Progress in and of itself can then become the reward.
You are responsible for what happens in your life. You can’t blame anyone else. So if you want to change your way of thinking about this process and create a new improved habit: first ferret out and collect the evidence that helps you confirm how this process works for just you and store it in an accessible place. Next notice what transforms that information from rational information into an emotional imperative; you really are psyched to do it because it finally makes sense. Then as you feel the excitement of this discovery, you have a sense of what to do with this information and start noticing more opportunities to put it all into action. And finally there comes to you a very clear moment when you make the choice to use this information and know you will have a way to measure your progress because you have found a solid, stimulating and user friendly tool. Almost without hesitation you set goals and engage your plan of action. Yahoo!!! This is called the Feedback Loop. You can use it to change behaviors and habits of any type. You will notice that most times we stop trying because we don’t have enough or any information that is helpful or relevant and the results can’t be measured in any useful way.
“A desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal which is worth achieving.” – Ayn Rand
So once in play, knowing that having your own goals set within your own timetable is in reality, just a way for you to check in from time to time (usually daily) to see if you are moving in the direction you want to be going within your own time frame. You can easily measure your success by looking at the results and outcome of what you have just done. And because you are now more flexible and curious about collecting data about everything and anything, you can now start exampling even more you unique, authentic self.