Achieving our goals in life can be a lot like running a race…so came to my mind during a recent exercise run on a beautiful spring day in Denton, Texas. Where was I going? How was I going to get there? What happens if something gets in the way? Can I really do this?
The approach athletes use to successfully train for and win a race applies equally to any goal we have in life.
You can finish strong too!
When you cut it down to the very basics, there are just a few steps to “winning” our foot races in life. I include quotes around winning since we each define what winning means to us. For some, that means finishing in first place. For another, crossing the line faster than ever. For others, it might equate to “I finished”. A key element is that it is your goal. The steps include:
- Writing SMART goals
- Building an action plan that addresses the obstacles in our way
- Remaining flexible during the journey
- Maintaining the right attitude
Writing down SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonably High, and Time-Bound) significantly increases the chance that you will achieve them. Vague goals simply do not motivate nor keep you focused the same way as specific goals will. And if they are written then they can be reviewed regularly. Otherwise, the goals become forgotten—put of sight and mind. Then the goal date is suddenly approaching and the only thing left is hope. Besides, you can’t run all the training miles the night before! A big “Complete my first 5K on the 4th of July” sign on my bathroom mirror works.
Building a plan that addresses obstacles immediately builds confidence. For the runner, an obstacle may be the perception of “I have no time to train.” A quick solution may be to schedule it on your weekly calendar. What happens if we don’t have an action plan? Obstacles get in our way, overcome us and, discouraged, we may just give up.
Likewise, new challenges will present themselves or we will simply trip along the way. So, we assess, regroup, adjust the plan if needed, and then press on without looking back. Looks like this: I missed a run because I was sick, I get healthy first, and then I continue forward with a slightly adjusted training plan.
Fundamental to all of the above is winning with a positive attitude. With each step we tell ourselves “I can”. When we complete a step such as a training run we re-inforce the truth of “I can” and begin to transform it to “I will” and even more so “I am.” This is especially true if a run was hard, we felt bad, it was raining, etc. We don’t let the inner voices of doubt drown out our “can do” attitude. If doubt wins then we become dejected and we may begin to accept the status quo; then instead of steady progress towards success we are actually heading backwards.
You probably followed along and realized how this really translates to life the goals we set personally, professionally or in our businesses. So what should you do?
Write down your goals and build that action plan. When new challenges appear dust yourself off and alter the plan but keep moving forward with action. Always make progress no matter how small. It will boost your confidence and build momentum.
You will then achieve your goals and fulfil your dreams, whether we are talking about a first 5K, a personal best in a marathon or achieving a new high of revenue/income, business growth, or balancing work-life. Start with those first steps we discussed.
You too can finish strong…you know it is in you! Take action today!
By: Brad Kearney, President of CBK3 Consulting