Simon got stuck in the process of writing his goals and did not know what else to do. He is convinced that 2019 will be his year but he seemed he would not be able to put together a plan. So, he’ll just wing it as he usually did. “Whatever comes,” he thought to himself “Baba God always has my back”.
Then he remembered a quote that had been haunting him for a while: “Life happens to those that do not take charge of their lives.” He decided to research how he will achieve his goals. He stumbled on an article that seemed to be written particularly for him not to just achieve his goals but to also surpass them.
1. Write all of your goals down
Write down all the things that you are looking to achieve. These are the two reasons:
1. To know all the things that you have in your heart to achieve.
2. To be able to make reference to the important things when you get distracted.
The bluntest pencil is better than the sharpest mind– Anonymous
When a friend of mine made this statement over a decade ago, I thought it was just one of those quotes but since then life has shown me that writing things down is very essential for growth.
Once you write your aims down, you can easily refer to it when you need to. The mind is as fragile as it is strong, things can distract it easily. This is particularly true especially now we are living in the age of distraction with a plethora of things calling for your attention.
Write down all the things that are important to you and ensure that your goals must be SMART (I’ll share more about this in my next post)
2. Whittle it down to the most important
“If you have more than 3 priorities, you have none” — Jim Collins
You have to cut the clutter to make the most important goals stand out. If you do not prioritize, you will not be able to achieve your goals.
I fell into the trap of wanting to do more in limited time and with limited energy. When you tend to chase too many diverse objectives at the same time with limited resources, you will be overwhelmed and fail at most of them.
After writing all your goals, your next aim is to write your goals in the order of importance from the entire list you put together then select the top 3.
Your criteria for selecting this top 3 should be the goals that are important to you and how it will springboard you to the next level that you seek.
3. Note specific steps necessary to achieve your goals
What do you need to achieve each of the goals that you have prioritized?
If you are looking to get another degree or do a professional course, will your current job give you enough time to study properly? Will you need to get a more flexible job? Can you talk to your boss to find out if you can have a more flexible time while studying for the exams?
You have to note the things that are necessary for you to get to the desired end point.
Must you learn a new skill?
Do you need more discipline with your finances?
Do you need to write more?
Once you can highlight the specific steps, you need to start taking ACTION and ensure that you follow through.
4. Daily steps towards achieving the goal
It is not enough to know the specific steps, you need to do these things on a daily basis. To be able to take daily steps, you’ll have to pre-plan your day. It is quite simple and will take only a few minutes.
Draw out your to-do list for the next day just before you head to bed. On your to-do list, put together all the things that you aim to achieve, write them in order of priorities.
This way, you can squeeze the little things that can assist you in achieving your goals into your day no matter how busy you get.
For instance, if you want to read more about business in 2019, start by reading a chapter of a business book per day. It might be in the morning before heading to work, during your commute to or from work or just before you head to bed.
Once you plan for it, pick out a book that you want to read and start reading a chapter daily, you’ll be surprised at the total number of books you’ll be able to complete before the end of the year.
5. Review on a daily and weekly basis
There will be many things that will take your eyes off the goal.
This is why it is important to review your goals daily and weekly. Meditate every morning (after prayer if you are a praying person) and look at your goals.
Ensure the journal with your goals written out is by your bedside so you can have easy access to it. Look at it at night before you sleep so you can know the things that you did that day towards your goals.
Constantly look at your goals and keep working towards it.
Take a day on the weekend (Saturday or Sunday) to critically look through and highlight the activities of the previous week that helped you towards your goals.
During this weekend review, you should also plan on improvements the coming week to help you to quicken your process.
6. Your timeline is your lifeline
Working with your timeline is a major factor in achieving all the goals you have written. I’ll share my personal story of when I wanted to buy my first car and how the timeline helped me.
I had written that I’ll buy a Toyota Corolla to use for Uber so I could have a passive income stream. The date to achieve this was November 31. As of September, although my savings was about 75% of the total cost of the car, I started looking for a good deal.
There were many cars that looked great although they were not the exact specification I was in search of. Then I saw the car I wanted and although I knew that I did not have the funds for it then, started engaging to buy it. After countless phone calls, I was able to raise the funds to make the purchase and paid for it on November 18.
If I did not give a timeline that I took seriously, I would have let go of the goal and maybe put it up for next year. Note that the pressure you feel when the timeline is close helps you think creatively about ways to achieve the goal. Do not keep shifting timelines when you have not used up ALL available prospects.
7. Hold yourself accountable
Do not just feel bad when you miss your targets. You have to take responsibility for your actions or lack of them.
You might have to get an accountability partner that will support you in achieving your goal. There might also be a need for you to do something as a punishment if you fail to commit to your goals.
An instance, if your aim was to go to the gym at least 2 times a week, you can pay your accountability partner a certain amount of money if you miss your gym days.
It has to be a sum that will hurt to let go of and your accountability partner really has to be someone that can hold you accountable for your actions.
However, there will be times that things will go out of control and it will hurt you. Go through the pain and pick the lessons so you will not have to go through it again.
“In the life of a champion, there are no failures. There are successes and lessons. Learn from your mistakes” — Mobolaji Atolagbe
Mohamed Ali lost the championship belt to Joe Fraizer and the very next day he was back to train with the lessons learned from the fight. As a champion, keep going every day and hold yourself accountable.
8. Do not focus on the plans but on the planning
“Plans were nothing but planning was everything” — Dwight Eisenhower
During World War 2, the Allied Forces had to find a way to quash the Nazis so they made a way across the English Channel to Western Europe.
General Dwight Eisenhower planned the largest seaborne invasion in modern war history and they succeeded with the hybrid utilization of deception and pure guts to successfully complete the invasion of Normandy which was tagged “Operation Overlord”.
However, nothing went according to plan. On the day of landing in France, they had 9,000 casualties with 4,414 confirmed dead.
This will have devastated any General but General Eisenhower actively used 12 months to plan the strike and knew how to be flexible once it was required.
Eventually, the invasion was a huge success and dealt a huge blow to the Nazis. That was a major point which culminated to the end of War World II.
This is the same way you should think, have a rigid goal but flexible plans so when one tactic does not work out, you do not fall flat on your face.
Head back to the drawing board and re-strategize on how to get to your desired goal with the resources you have used in your planning.
9. Manage your time.
“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” — Peter Drucker
God has granted every single person in the world with the same 24 hours. What we do with this time determines the outcome of our lives. It is the proper management of our time that will determine the output of our life.
We might live in denial but that is the stark reality. You, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Aliko Dangote have the same time but because they have found how to efficiently utilize theirs and have amassed lots of wealth and influence in the process.
Learn to say no to things and people that do not align with your dreams. Also, know how you can efficiently apply yourself within the time that you have.
Quick Points that you should hold on for 2019.
1. Write all of your goals down. Your mind can only hold as much information consciously at a time. Have your goals written out.
2. Prioritize to the most important If you do not reduce your goals, you will be overwhelmed. Focus on the vital few.
3. Note specific steps necessary to achieve these top 3 goals. There are certain action points you need to do before you can achieve the written aims.
4. Daily steps towards achieving the goal. Babies do not stand and run. They keep taking one small step forward until they get to what attracts them.
5. Review on a daily and weekly basis. Just like brushing your teeth, the more frequent you check your goals, the clearer the path to achieving it.
6. Your timeline is your lifeline. Set timelines that allow you to put in your best.
7. Hold yourself accountable. [/b]Take responsibilities for things you can change and learn from the things you can’t.
[b]8. Do not focus on the plans but on the planning. The planning matters, with knowledge of the resources available, you will know how to be flexible when life attacks you.
9. Manage your time, manage your life. The ticking clock is your life. Manage it properly.
P.S: Know that it is not just about you reaching your goals, it is about building a system of habits that you will continue to groom, Know that you cannot rest on your oars after achieving a particular target. Keep working on improving your habits.
Once you have good habits, you can improve them to be great habits. Achieving your goals is amazing but you are not meant to relax, you need to keep grooming your habits such that there is a 1% daily growth in the important aspects of your life. These habits that will ensure you are successful long-term and not just be a flash in the pan.
Quick example: Love him or hate him, why do you think C. Ronaldo is still a great footballer although he is past the peak age of most footballers?*
*He has wired the concept of continuous practice in his head. His workout routine ensures that he is still in the best shape and can play at best possible personal standard. He has delivered results in every league he played because he has built habits that ensure he is at a peak state, physically, mentally and emotionally.
The end game is not just to achieve your goals. Your end game is to learn how to build healthy habits.