Last week, Tom and I were settling into bed - he, with a scholarly book, and me, with Facebook on my phone. (No comments, please, about which of us is the brains of this operation.)
As Tom flipped the covers back, I yelped, "There's a SPIDER!"
On the bed.
A brown recluse spider.
On. The bed, y'all.
If you don't know what a brown recluse is, don't do yourself a favor by googling it. I'll just tell you . . . they are extremely reclusive, but will bite if brushed against. And the bites can cause horrid, horrid damage, and not just psychological damage.
We did not sleep well that night.
And the massive cleaning/vacuuming/spraying effort that ensued this following week has been unequaled. Every bed, piece of furniture, closet, pile of clothes, drawer and miscellaneous item in this house has been turned over, inspected and cleaned.
And while we've been at it, we've purged closets and dressers of an amazing amount of stuff.
I ask you: WHERE does stuff come from???
I dropped a Suburban-load of stuff off at a local charity, and another load will be set out for the trash pick up tomorrow.
All of this, because of one spider.
(Well, also his ten friends, two of which were behind our headboard. But let's not think about that.)
It's made me realize how small things can have huge impact for lasting change.
An encounter with a spider made us do something that should have been done long ago. "Purging and Cleaning" is perenially on my list of big goals, but somehow I never seemed to get around to it.
Apparently, I needed the proper motivation to get it accomplished.
Maybe you have a Big Goal that never gets off the "To Do" column and into the "Done" column, too? Losing weight, getting in shape, writing a book, learning a new software program, sailing around the world . . . if you're like me, you've struggled to get to the finish line.
Here are five secrets to accomplishing a big goal.
1. Be specific
In my case, I specifically wanted my house to be completely safe for my kids and grandbaby. A fuzzy goal like, "Get Organized" is too easy to put off, and too broad to make any lasting change. I needed a defined task to get me going.
Instead of "Lose Weight," try "Lose Four Pounds." Instead of "Eat Healthy," try "Make One Healthy Meal Each Week." Being specific makes you zero in on what you want to accomplish.
2. Cast a Vision
I pictured what I wanted my house to look and feel like. I imagined the joy of setting up the baby bed in the guest room, knowing it was clean and beautiful and spider-free. I let myself feel the freedom of being clutter-free . . . and when I was up to my neck in piles of stuff to sort, it helped me power through.
What will you feel like when you can run up stairs without gasping for breath? What will a size 8 dress look like on you when you lose the weight? How will it feel to get that diploma? Take some time to envision your success! Close your eyes and savor the moment.
This is the part where you take "bites of the elephant." Break your big goal into small, manageable pieces. "Today I will accomplish _______________." Focus on today's task and don't get bogged down in thinking about tomorrow's job. I find that my goals often stall because I've failed to set up a system to reach them.
Also, invest in the proper tools you need for your daily goals, and keep them handy. Nothing halts your progress like having to look for things you need to do your job.
No one can do this for you. No one can make you reach a goal unless you decide to do it. Make a decision today. Write it down or tell someone, so that you are accountable for your actions. Then you must do it.
And you CAN do it. You WILL do it. Because you are tough and strong, and made for more than mediocre living. There is an amazing YOU in there, able to take on the world.
5. Have a sense of urgency
Every goal needs a deadline. When things are left open-ended and vague, you'll never reach your destination. Notice how quickly you can clean your house just before a party? Remember cramming for a test, when you had all semester to learn the material?
Put something on your calendar: a 5k run, an event, a party, a meeting, a conference call. Then work toward being ready for it. You will be amazed at what you can finish when a deadline looms!
Our Spider Emergency reminded me that big things can truly be accomplished when we put our minds to it. So often, we let day-to-day circumstances dictate our decisions, rather than putting ourselves in control of our goals. We wish away our time, rather than simply getting up and getting after it. These five secrets will jump-start your goals and get them into the "Done" column!
Tell me: what is one specific goal you are working toward?
P.S. If one of your goals is to create a housekeeping system, here is a great post to help you do it!