Principle #1. WHAT is Most Important
When you set out to bake a batch of cookies, while you might have all the intentions to make something yummy and sweet. You might know that you want it to include chocolate chips because you have a bag in the cupboard you want to use. But unless you know exactly which recipe to pull out of your cookbook, you have no direction and what other ingredients to include. You must define exactly what it is you want to accomplish and only then can you set the plan to complete your goal and bake a yummy batch of cookies.
The same is for goal setting. Unless you have the ‘what” then you will have no idea the recipe for success. Running is a good example that requires a specific goal in order to know how to proceed. You can decide to run and say you want to finish a race, yet, every distance requires different training plans. A marathon schedule is different from a half marathon training schedule and so on. You wouldn’t train for a full with only the miles put in for a half.
The same is true for losing weight. If you want to lose 12 pounds by the Holidays – December 25, to be exact, then you must devise a plan that will get you there. In fact, you’ll need to strategize a number of ways. Will you settle for only a few pounds? Will fitting into an outfit be your goal or will you look to the measuring tape to tell you if you achieved your goal. If you want to fit in the jeans, then maybe it’s not only to cut back on calories and food intake, but strength training may be necessary to tone up those flabby thighs.
The first step to getting things done and accomplishing your goals is to dig deep and drill down to an exact and specific goal. Know where you are going and only then can you celebrate your accomplishment.
The “what” in achieving your goals is most important. It gives your compass direction. It sets your heart on fire. It tells you when you reached your goal. It gives you the necessary information to set the steps necessary to actually reach you goal.
Once you know what it is you want to accomplish, then you can dig deep to identify the “why” – principle #2. At this point both will work in tandem. You’ll have both to carry you along. When you get discouraged and have a hard time seeing the end goal in sight, then focus on your “what” knowing that that steps you take towards achieving your goal will, indeed, bring you to the end.
However, if you get discouraged in all the steps necessary to reach your goal and you feel like giving up, then look to the why to carry you further along. You can reflect on both and before you know it you’ll find a way to dig deep and preserve to the final glory.
Principle #2: Nail Down Your Why
This is probably the most important principle to consider when the going gets tought. If you want to accomplish your goals, you need to have the “why” defined in your head. Why do you want to reach this goal? Why does it matter to you, to the world, to your community, to your family? Once you know the why, then you can come back to it when you need the biggest push to dig deep. Digging deep to accomplish your goals just doesn’t come somewhere out of the blue. It comes from within and then you must tap from within to reach a goal.
If your goal is to finish a marathon, then you must first come up in your mind why it is you want to finish the marathon. To lose weight isn’t a why because you can lose weight without running a marathon. What does finishing a marathon do for you that you cannot get anywhere else. It may want to cross if off your bucket list as something you have done. You may want to raise funds for a cause and only running the full marathon will generate the raised funds.
When I ran my first marathon, my daughter yelled from the sidelines “how bad do you want this?” I was at mile 21 and it was the best thing she could have yelled to me. I needed to remind m self the reason I was running the race to begin with. I wanted to reach the finish line because it was simply something I wanted to do. It was a goal that I had set forth in my mind about 6 months earlier. I wanted to prove to myself that me, a 48 year old housewife could cross the finish line. I dug within my core to remind myself the prize at the end.
If I hadn’t thought of the “why” at this point, and, in fact, if I didn’t have a reason to run the race already in my head, I could have thrown up my arms when my legs were simply plodding at a snail’s pace to quit. But instead. I revisited my reasons and motivations. I had to think of my “why.” This didn’t come from anyone else, but only from within my own being.
Here’s your challenge – the next time you have a goal that you truly want to accomplish. Perhaps it is to finish a 10k race, win a marathon, publish a book, or lose 30 pounds. Whatever your goal, you must write down the “why” and even hang it up in your office or work space so that you are reminded of it. Then, soon it will be engrained in your mind when you need it the most. You may not have someone on the sidelines to remind you to tap into your why like I did to finish the marathon. So, if you have the visible to you, soon the image will be stamped in your brain. To work towards your goal and to complete it, your motivation and “why” will be there at the forefront. You won’t have to figure it out on the go. You will not lose sight of it and it can be there for you when you need to dig deep to the end.
It will be tough at times. You will create excuses. Goals will sideline and your determination will waver. But if you keep the “why” in your mind, you will have the information you need to dig deep within when you need it the most. Moving towards your goals is easy at first. You have created the goal and your reasons are fresh in your mind. Or, you might be the kind of person who can keep a regular schedule as you plod to the finish, but there will be times when you are diverted. It happens to everyone. This is when you have to dig deep. When the finish line isn’t in sight, but you know that you have to keep moving forward towards something, then you can reach within to put that finish line image back in your mind. Only you can do it. Only you can dig deep.