What’s your Dream?
As we set out with hope, there are a number of ways to seize the momentum and ensure we succeed. If we’re serious about making changes, we have to change the usual way we pursue it!
These are my five steps to success: 1. Set realistic/measurable goals, 2. Embrace failure, 3. Employ Kaizen to avoid procrastination and overwhelm, 4. Give myself little rewards, and 5. Find support and accountability.
I like to dream big. Sometimes so big it slips into a fantasy and day-dreams. While it is good to explore the possibilities of where I’m heading, living in fantasy doesn’t get me there.
What does help me is setting a timeframe with several goal-posts as check-points. Once I’ve stirred up my enthusiasm for a dream, I chart a path with monthly and weekly goals that are measurable… and flexible.
Three weeks into creating a significant transition is a good time to stop and reassess the timeline. A little success and failure are certain at this point, and throwing the goal out because the success didn’t satisfy or a failure came up would be nothing short of a tragedy.
Check Point: What’s your time-line look like? Set a reminder to reassess the reality of your goals in three weeks.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
At the start of any goal, I face many stumbling blocks. The first one is my illusion that my first attempt should be a slam dunk, a simple wave of some wand and all things end up perfectly without effort.
However, all the great minds, great inventors, all the greatest in the history of humanity failed repeatedly before they succeeded. Reality check! Success requires persistence in the face of failure, success requires mindfully over-riding FEAR of failure.
The practice I use is to celebrate failure as a sign of progress! It may take a moment to get my feet back underneath me, but ultimately, after I fail, I stop and appreciate myself for trying and take encouragement, seeing the failure as a sign that I’m getting closer, getting stronger, getting better.
Goal Check Point: Has a failure stopped you? What would you get if you tried again, again?
“All changes, even positive ones, are scary. Attempts to reach goals through radical or revolutionary means often fail because they heighten fear. But the small steps of kaizen disarm the brain’s fear response, stimulating rational thought and creative play.”
~ Robert Maurer, One Small Step Can Change Your Life
Kaizen is the Japanese art of continuous improvement – continuously taking small steps.
For me, the biggest obstacles to my success have been the twin demons of perfectionism and fixed mindset. I wrote about them and you can read more about them in my article: Perfectly Imperfect.
The quickest way to defuse these time bombs for me came when I started using the Japanese art of Kaizen. Rather than looking at the finishing line far in the distance, I ask myself, “What is the smallest next step I can take?” Then I take that small step.
The next day, I ask the question again and take another small step.
In this way, I make incremental advancements towards my goal without awaking the boogie monsters of perfectionism or overwhelm. And before I know it, I’m half way to my desired reality!
Goal Check Point: What is one small step you can take today, in fact, what is the smallest next step you can take? Do just that one thing.
“Focus on what you can do, and reward yourself for all steps you take in the right direction.
Find ways to say, ‘Good, I got started.’” – Neil Fiore – Awaken Your Strongest Self
The next big challenge I face with goals is pushing forward until I hit “burn-out.” Burn-out comes when I forget to stop and acknowledge where I’ve gotten and what I’ve done. Sadly, I don’t always feel burn-out I smell the smoke, and then it’s too late!
The solution for me is tied into the “realistic” path I set at the beginning. Each time I reach a goal-post, it is time to celebrate! And to celebrate? Let’s talk about chocolate! I crave chocolate like it’s vital to my survival! So, I know that when I want to reward myself, a bit of chocolate is my go-to!
Goal Check Point: What do you do to reward your accomplishments? What things can you do to build in rewards along the pursuit of your goals?
Accountability and Support
Ask any successful leader or businessperson and without fail they will point to their having someone to whom they held themselves accountable as key to their success. Who in your life can hold you committed to completing your goal?
Find a friend and make a pact with each other to hold each other accountable. Many people find this support through the aid of a Life Coach or Mentor. Perhaps you can join a group and in the same way find the support you need and the accountability that leads to success.
Support needs to be willing to objectively review your progress and explore the shadowy parts of ourselves that have kept us from having already accomplished what we hold as our life dreams.
Goal Check Point: Who is your support? How can you build a stronger support system?