“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” ~ Yogi Berra
“We’ll eventually get somewhere.”
Imagine you are embarking on a cruise. You’ve spent months thinking about, planning and preparing for the trip. Your imagination is dancing with thoughts about the places you’ll go, the people you’ll meet, and the things you will see. You are ready for this adventure and ready to go.
As you settle into your stateroom, the captain’s voice comes over the intercom. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are minutes away from leaving port. We have a beautiful destination in mind but we don’t have any idea how to get there. So we’re going to get started and see what happens. We’ll eventually land somewhere and I know you can’t wait to see where we end up.”
What do you think of your cruise now?
“I can’t get any traction.”
When Mary (*not her real name) contacted me about receiving coaching, I was frankly a bit surprised. Using information I had shared with her previously, she had determined a few areas of her life where she could make some positive changes. She had developed workable goals in these areas.
But she was making no progress toward any of her goals. “Steven,” she said, “I just can’t seem to get any traction. I may take a step or two but I’m not sure if I’m doing the right things. It’s been over a month and I don’t really have any progress to show. What am I doing wrong?”
I told Mary that having a good, workable SMART+Plus goal was a necessary step toward creating her best life, but it is only a step . . . a beginning step at that. She needed to develop strategies – a detailed goal achievement plan – to help her progress toward achieving her goals.
The Goal Is The First Step
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Written goals are important components for self-development and for creating your best life. Working toward a goal can be a positivity-booster as well.
But, as I told Mary, developing the goal is simply the first step. Once you have a workable goal written down, now you need to develop a detailed, step-by-step plan for how you will go about achieving your goal. Ideally, your plan breaks your BIG goal into small steps that you can take each day to move steadily toward your goal.
Your Personal Goal-Achievement Strategy
Here is a technique you can use that transforms your personal problem-solving style into a goal-achievement strategy. (You can download a free copy of “My Personal Goal Achievement Plan” here.)
Imagine that you are blindfolded and led onto a plane. You fly for some time – you don’t know how long or in what direction. Eventually, you parachute from the plane and land safely on the ground. And you have no idea where you are.
Now, considering your situation and your desire to return home (your goal), what is the first thing you would do? Write it down. (You can use the “My Personal Goal Achievement Plan” worksheet by downloading a free copy here.)
What is the second thing you would do? Write that down.
What is the third step? And so forth.
Write each step down, until you have succeeded in reaching home again. Suggestion: Make the last step a celebration at reaching home and achieving your goal.
Creating Your Strategy
Look at the steps you have written down. Now, write each step again, but in more general terms.
For example, many people have for their first step some version of “Find out where I am.” A more generalized wording is “Assess the current situation.” Or, you might write “Find out if there are other people near by.” A higher level way to put that might be “What resources do I have available?”
The idea is to transform the strategies for your specific goal — “Get back home” — to a generic strategy for all your goals.
A Simple Goal Achieving Strategy
When I led Mary through this exercise, she came up with a strategical list she could use for all her goals.
Strategy 1: “Where am I now?” – what’s working, what needs to change?
Strategy 2: What obstacles are standing in my path?
Strategy 3: What potential obstacles am I not seeing?
Strategy 4: What can I do to minimize these obstacles?
Strategy 5: What resources do I have available?
Strategy 6: What is my next step?
Strategy 7: How can I care for myself during the journey?
Strategy 8: Reach the destination — CELEBRATE!
The Action Plan
Once you have your strategies in place, develop action steps for each one. The “My Personal Goal Achievement Plan” helps you organize your strategies and actions using the “My Goal Strategy” worksheet.
Some goals may require only 1 or two steps, but others require careful planning and multiple steps. Make each action step small enough that you can accomplish it in a minimum of time – ideally, in a day or less. If a step seems too big, you are likely to procrastinate doing it. If this is the case, break that step down into smaller tasks.
1. If you don’t have a specific written goal that you are aiming for, start with the Goal Achievement Excelerator, a set of tools, based on research from Positive Psychology and other sources, to create your individualized goal achievement plans.
2. With your specific goal in mind, download and use the “My Personal Goal Achievement Plan” to design your own goal achievement strategies and action steps.
3. Take the first step.
4. Continue taking each step until you have reached your goal.
A Strategy Is Not Enough
You now have a strategy to achieve your goal based on your own intuitive approach to problem-solving. This is your Excelerated goal plan. But a strategy alone, no matter how good a plan, is not enough. You must take the first step! Then the next one, and the next. Why not take a couple of minutes, right now, and schedule when today you will take the first step toward your big, exciting goal? You have a destination and you have a plan to get there. Start today! That is embracing the Excelerated Life!
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Excelerated accomplishment — achieving meaningful objectives — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life, a life of flourishing, of well-being, meaning, and purpose.
My Personal Goal Achievement Plan <http://theexceleratedlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/My-Personal-Goal-Achievement-Plan.pdf>
SMART+Plus Goals <http://theexceleratedlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/SmartPlus-Goals.pdf>
The Goal Achievement Excelerator <http://theexceleratedlife.com/resources/excelerators>