Many people say that you should set huge, outrageous goals. The kind of goals that scare you and make your palms sweat. They say that those are the kind of goals that inspire you to achieve greatness.
I'm sure there is something to that philosophy, but to be honest, outrageous goals don't work for me. Mostly, I find them to be soul-crushing, because I know - right from the start - that I have zero percent chance of achieving them.
What I need is success - and lots of it. Right from the get-go.
I've found that success breeds success - and I'm not saying it's magic, but I'll let you draw your own conclusions after you experience it.
Small goals - achievable goals - are the keys to getting me from intertia to forward movement.
Let me give you an example:
When I was a young mama, and thoroughly overwhelmed with taking care of babies and keeping up with the house and getting dinner on the table, I imploded. The house was a mess, babies were crying, there was no food in the fridge and Days of Our Lives consumed my thoughts. Would Beau and Hope finally get together?
I set a couple of small goals: make my bed every morning, and pick up the clutter for five minutes before bedtime.
Nothing fancy, but for me, these were huge. These goals took ten minutes a day, tops, to achieve, but wow, what a difference they made. I began to feel successful, and that success spilled over into other areas of my life. These two successes got the ball rolling in my parenting, my marriage, and my personal pursuits, and helped me see that there was more to life than Beau and Hope.
Small successes lead to big successes. I'm convinced of it. And after you get some small successes under your belt you can start thinking about those outrageous goals. But, one thing at a time, my friends. Baby steps.
So how can you find the right goal that will start you on a course toward being the kind of person you want to be? Here are three tips:
1. Start with the Simple.
The Obvious. The Thing that's weighing on your mind. Is it your health? Is it a lifestyle habit? Is it a personal wish? A professional achievement? Pick one thing as your target and focus on it. Don't make a bunch of New Year's type resolutions. Zeroing in on one thing is the way you'll start becoming that person you want to be.
2. Find an inspiration.
Seek out someone who has done what you're attempting to do. Research on the interweb. Talk to people. Is it possible to go from the couch to running a 5k in nine weeks? I've found people who have done just that, and it helps me believe that I can do it, too. Are there people who have finished their college degrees while working full-time and caring for children? Yes, there are! How did they do it?
I've found that people are generous with sharing their experiences, and eager to help newbies like you and me.
3. Make a plan.
I've heard it said that the difference between a goal and a wish is a plan. I might have just made that up, I don't know. But the point is, you need a specific action that you can do each day that will propel you to the finish line. Again, don't bite off more than you know you'll keep up with. Right now, the goal is SUCCESS.
Success will start generating its own energy and then you'll be busting at the seams for a bigger goal.
Let's stop here for today. On Monday, I'll share some more tips on how to become the person you want to be. I am still "becoming" that person, and I'm convinced that it doesn't matter how old you are, how many times you've failed in the past, or what you've had to overcome, change is possible.
Growth is achievable. Goals are attainable. We have gifts to offer the world - gifts of grace and beauty and generosity. But we can't affect the world around us when we are sitting around wishing. We've got to take the first step - today - to make a difference. I want you to do this with me.
Question of the Day: What small, achievable goal will you set?
I'll go first: I will sign up for a 5k and walk 30 minutes a day, three days each week. It sounds really pitiful, but that's where I am. This will be a challenge for me, but I know it is also very achievable. My inspiration is Chrystal Hurst, who has made an AMAZING journey toward fitness.
PS This series on Becoming the Person You Want to Be started here.