Accomplishing goals with tangible, clear deadlines.
New Year is knocking on the door, and with it the motivation of a fresh 2013 start. People in Gokwe, Zimbabwe and Geneva, Switzerland and everywhere else in the world will be making goals and looking to make big changes in their lives. You will probably also be joining the "big goals in 2013 club."
I make yearly goals that scare me. So as soon as I'm done, I go scuba diving or bungee jumping to make them seem less scary. Then the month to month and week to week goals also get put into perspective. In bungee jumping, the fear lies in "the rope could snap and I could die." In activating an idea, the fear lies in "it might fail." The latter seems juvenile compared to the former fear. Goal setting is daily, but at the start of a year the Giant Goals must be written. It's fun.
One of my life goals is to launch 100 ideas into businesses and reach over 500,000 people by 2025. That's what Emerging Ideas is about.
A lot of people (90% of the world) make goals and don't meet those goals. It could be because when they make their goals, it's only to get a quick high for themselves that makes them feel like they can order another dessert. Or it could be that they set the bar too high. To realize success when you set out to accomplish something that's uncertain, you've got to make the bar so low that you can fall over it. "A laughable achievement." Don't set the bar so high that it seems unattainable and therefore you never go for it. Set laughable goals that you achieve.
But that's just half of the equation.
Create Actionable Chunks & Deadlines
This past month, I took my family on a road trip across middle America en route to Memphis, Tennessee. It threw me into the past; as a kid, driving to Memphis always seemed to take forever (7 hour drive one way in total). But as soon as the mileage signs starting showing distance markers to Memphis, it seemed as if the trip began to speed up in time, because now I had measurable cities to hit before we arrived at our destination.
I would sit in the back sucking on a lollipop thinking, "Ok, Memphis is 100 miles, it's ok I can make it 15 miles to Brinkley, Arkansas." Then after those 15 miles, it was another 25 to Forrest City. After Forrest City was West Memphis, then we had arrived. I can do this.
Because the signs clearly set out the mileage into actionable time frames, it was manageable and I was mentally able to attain focus on arriving at grandma's house sane. It's a simple illustration, but it highlights the point.
The same is true when setting goals. Let's be honest with ourselves. If you've never gained 15 pounds of muscle, how will you honestly know how to set the correct goals before you accomplish it?
Or if you want to lose 30 pounds (or 15 kilos), but don't know where to start?
That's why breaking your goals into actionable chunks is pivotal to accomplishing a gigantic goal. So if you want to lose 30 pounds, then your first goal should be to read about proper nutrition for the first month. Second goal is to sit down with a nutritionist and map out a DO NOT eat list. Third, put the list up on your fridge and tell your friends to punch you when you eat anything on it.
Maybe you've just come up with a brilliant idea. Don't set a goal of making millions in revenue (or billions like one startup I recently met with). Set a goal of having lunch with one new connection per week. Set a goal of meeting with someone who has succeed in your industry; interview them over lunch (that you pay for). What were their successes, what's their story, how did they fail, how can you learn from them? Next steps will probably be found after that one is taken.
I referee soccer matches cause I love to do it and 90 minutes is a daunting amount of time to be running full out. In a typical college/professional match, I run 12-15 miles. Add that with the mental demands of dealing with 22 players, coaches, etc, and you can lose your focus very quickly.
So I break the game into manageable chunks. I like to break the game into 3-5 minute segments. Rather than "I can go all 90 minutes." I self-coach myself, "Alright, let's stay focused for the next 5 minutes until we hit the 40th minute mark."
This takes my mind off the clock so I can focus on the flow of the game, my field position, player management, and consistency in what I'm calling.
"I'm going to double my business this year" is not tangible or actionable. Break it down to be laughable.
- You need 2 new clients per month to grow.
- When you guest blog on other sites, you usually get 3 new conversations started and 1 of those turns into a client.
- So decide to write a guest post each Quarter
- When you have 2 coffee meetings a week, then you usually close a deal once a month.
So, instead change the goal to: "I will focus on 2 hours of writing blog content and 90 minutes of emailing and connecting with new relationships each week."
It's actionable. Then if you do that for 6 months, you'll see the results. (Unless you're terrible at writing and terrible with people. If that's the case, do something else).
And then you can take large life goals, break them into actionable yearly goals, and break those goals down even farther into the laughable. Set the bar low, and in turn you'll be climbing higher.
Remember, it's not a fast race, and it's not as scary as bungee jumping.
What are your goals for this new year? Do you have any life goals? We'd love to have you share them here and let us help you break them down into actionable chunks.
Photos: Francois de Halleux & Chris Lawrence
Posted on December 13, 2012
by Tim filed under