Last post I discussed developing a passion for your dreams and goals. Developing mental clarity in your goals is a good start. It helps you to visualize success, it builds your belief and confidence, it opens your mental awareness so that you recognize opportunities. But no amount of daydreaming about your goals will convert them into reality.
Faith without works is death.
Here is a three step plan to realize your goals:
1. Take Action. Start. Act. Move your body. Do something. The biggest objection that I hear from people is “But I don’t know how!” When people say that they don’t know how, what they really mean is that they don’t know how to finish. But everyone knows how to start. I guarantee it.
- Want to lose weight? First action step: put on your shoes.
- Want to make more money? Ask someone who makes more than you what to do.
- Want to marry a pretty girl? Open your mouth and say something to her. If it’s something embarrassing, she’ll probably think it’s cute.
- Want to write a book? Find a piece of paper and write. I know something about this. I started writing my book, then two weeks later came up with a subject and title.
There is no point in worrying about the endgame when you haven’t started playing. (that’s probably suitable for tweeting)
The second objection is, “What happens if I come across obstacle X?” You cannot anticipate every setback on a new endeavor. Why? Because it’s new. Yes, some force will try to keep you from changing your life. Most of them are minor problems that are given enormous weight through the fertilizer of procrastination. Remember, often our anticipation of problems is worse than the problems we actually face.
“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” ~Mark Twain
Which is why you are better off just starting with some activity of any kind. As you progress and run into a problem, face it there rather than battling an imaginary future phantom. You cannot beat an imagined problem.
2. Adjust. Evaluate. Aim. Once you start, you develop momentum. Once you have momentum, you don’t stop and re-aim. You simply adjust and improve along the way. Now is the time to seek advice and counsel from qualified people. And the simple fact that you have already started gives you much more credibility.
If you seek advice from an expert in any field, they will have more respect for you if you say: “I’ve started doing X, what do you think…?” than if you can only say: “I’m thinking about starting X, what do you think…?”
Why such a big difference? The world is full of people that have thought about doing something. The expert knows that if you’ve already started–even if you’re going about it in a sporadic, disorganized, possibly crazy method–you’ve already overcome the hurdle that stops most people.
3. Persevere. Keep going. Continue. Never quit. If you move towards your goal, if you adjust your path along the way, then you will reach it as long as you do not stop.
My favorite quote on the subject of perseverance:
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. ~Calvin Coolidge
The good news is that once you reach a certain point (I’ll go ahead and say 21 days), inertia begins to work in your favor. When you first start out, passion is the driving force that gets you moving. Eventually your daily activity becomes a habit. Once you have a habit, it requires less and less energy to keep going.
Yes, people still quit after 21 days. If you feel your energy and enthusiasm waning, then it’s most likely because you stopped doing the thing that motivated you to start the process. Revisit your goal. Are you still thinking about it and talking about it? If you are, you’re not becoming weary. Slogging along for the sake of activity is just being stubborn. Slogging along to achieve is rewarding.
Remember, all of this began with thought. Guard you thoughts because your thoughts become words. Your words become actions. Your actions become habits. Your habits determine your character.
One final observation, if you will turn your attention to the white board. When you change your character, your thoughts will change. Achieving goals itself becomes a habit. Once you are on a track to success, it becomes a track that leads to continual success. There is a reason why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Everyone participates in this process, whether they know it or not. We are always in the process of growth or decay, and the thing that determines the direction we are headed is our thoughts.
Have you made a conscious decision anytime recently to grow in some area of your life?