QUICK!, think of one of your goals. If you answered with a goal that you wish to accomplish in 12 months or more, then you are like most Americans. The idea of goals has commonly been taught as an ultimate, a final destination in which that ever-elusive principle called success resides. But how many people actually accomplish their goals and become successful?
According to the University of Scranton, only 8% of New Year’s Resolutioners accomplish their goal by years end. So what is it that 92% of us are doing wrong between January 1 and December 31? Are we just simply not as ambitious? Motivated? Smart?
The outstanding answer to the above is a roaring No! You are not fundamentally different. Let's unravel this study and realize that it merely highlights a large discrepancy, but does not address its core, underlying issue. When 66% of all New Year’s Resolutions are fitness related while obesity rates simultaneously hit all-time highs, year after year, there exists a major gap between what we set out to accomplish, and what we actually accomplish. So instead of disastrously deciding that we are the source of the problem, why not begin with the fundamentals of the problem and begin with our very understanding of goals?
We are constantly reminded to set goals, and to set larger-than-life expectations as to not cut ourselves short. From a young age, we are taught to aspire to rank among society’s elite, doctors, lawyers, and businesspeople. Taught to become wealthy beyond our wildest imagination. Taught to shoot for the moon. And while this strategy is great at creating motivation and purpose (although often temporary and fickle), it also commonly leads to this incorrect notion that goals are wishes only for the far future, the works of fantasy almost. With society perpetually encouraging us to have goals that become more and more grandiose, a fancier car, a bigger house, a more prestigious job, our goals simultaneously become farther and farther away.
“What is your 5, 10, and even 20! Year plan?” have all become common questions to ask (I was just a young lad in the womb at the time!). But the largeness and futuristic tense of all of our goals makes us become disconnected from our them. And for many, they become so distant that when presented with the opportunity to achieve their goal, they do not know how to respond to the scope of the task and it seems daunting. To the point, in fact, where we ironically hide from our goals. As Marianne Williamson said, “It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.”
So then what can we do? Rather than teaching our youth to solely be goal-setters, let’s change the paradigm and become goal-getters. Let’s not only teach our youth how to set goals (the manner in which is another problem in and of itself), but also a process by which they can accomplish their goals. Goals are not one-time deals. They shouldn't be passionately conceived and tragically forgotten for the memory bank of retirement. They have to be consciously remembered and actively pursued. The easiest way of accomplishing this is to break down our goals by shorter and shorter time-frames, setting and measuring shorter term goals.
We live our lives one day at a time, so why not organize it one day at a time? Organizing a list of daily mini-goals that you wish to accomplish each day creates a process by which you can measure your goals, and what gets measured, gets managed.
Imagine the power behind a process that could rid you of all worry, from your weight and health to your finances and career. This information will change your life! I would recommend using a dedicated small notepad and pen, not any online program, and especially not only in your mind! Think of how many things you were going to do, but "forgot" or "just didn't get around to do", calling aunt Sarah, paying that overdue book notice, and writing your dream science-fiction thriller. Maintaining a physical to-do list creates a tangible form of accountability. By writing down your daily goals, you will break down the perceived time-distance to your goals and given a chance to take a positive step toward your goals Every. Single. Day. Achieve a piece of your success Every. Single. Day. Have a taste of its glorious experience, Every. Single. Day. (Well don’t taste TOO much if you plan to drop a few pounds) And most importantly, it provides a guaranteed process for reaching any goal.
Achieving a goal is one moment, but the journey is a time-intensive experience. Why not enjoy the experience along the way? By accomplishing your daily mini-goals, you will be on the path to accomplishing your longer term goals. But most importantly, you will be consciously living in success. You’ll find your days a lot more fulfilling. A lot more memorable. A lot more satisfying. You'll be on the path to waking up eager to begin and going to sleep at night feeling accomplished, every day. By investing our efforts and dedicating ourselves to the process, success in attaining our goals doesn't become a matter of chance, but rather choice. If we know our plan and know ourselves, we have nothing to fear. So let's Plan the Work, & Work the Plan
So the next time you're asked on your goals, remember to think about your DAILY accomplishments as well!