On May 29th, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to return from the summit of Mount Everest. Accomplishing this feat took planning - they didn't just take a walk outside and end up at the top of the world's tallest mountain.
Many of us live our lives "going with the flow." We wake up, eat breakfast and see where the day takes us. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months and before we know it, years go by and we start wondering where our life went. Think back to 1997: back then, where did you expect to be in life by now? If you're not where you expected to be, it's possible that you had dreams, but no goals. We all want to be rich, in good shape or successful, but without goals, we wander around aimlessly, hoping things will go our way.
The good news is that setting and achieving our goals is easier than we think. We simply need to follow these four steps:
Define your desired outcome.
Identify the skills and resources needed for your desired outcome.
Create a detailed action plan to reach your outcome.
Follow your plan.
When defining your desired outcome, it's important to state it so you can easily determine whether it was achieved. Saying "I will be in good shape" is not as effective as "I will lose 25 pounds" or "my body fat will be below 12%." It's also necessary to include the date that you'll achieve it by. Again, an exact date is better than "by March" or "by next year."
Once you've decided what you're shooting for, you need to identify any skills or resources needed for achieving your goal. It's important to also include anything you'll need to overcome the obstacles that can hold you back. Edmund Hillary needed to overcome restrictions set by the Tibetan and Nepalese governments before he could even get to the base of the mountain. You may find similar obstacles in your path and it may require creativity to overcome them.
Someone once said "we didn't plan to fail, we failed to plan." Before the days of in-car navigation systems and cell phones, it was important to get directions before driving somewhere for the first time. Otherwise, if we did get to our destination, it usually took longer than it would have had we planned out our route in advance. An effective plan is a series of mini-goals or milestones for us to periodically check our progress.
The place where we have the toughest time with goals is executing our plan. Whether it's our focus getting pulled away or an unexpected obstacle, we're constantly hitting bumps. I've found that these bumps can actually be a good thing because once you overcome one, it builds your confidence and reaffirms your commitment. In other words, it increases your personal investment in achieving your goal.
So if there's something you really want to do, write it down in detail and commit to a date for achieving it. Identify your resources and develop your plan. Then commit to following your plan. Sir Edmund Hillary used this same methodology to conquer the biggest obstacle on Earth. Imagine what you can do.
C 2007 James Feudo (First Rights)
James Feudo is a speaker, author and consultant specializing in communication skills. James has developed a series of seminars to help people improve how they communicate with themselves, others and to groups. You can learn more about James at www.jamesfeudo.com.