We have known for some time that success isn’t easy. It requires hard work and discipline. We are even willing to do that, but for some reason, we aren’t moving toward our goals as we would like to be. It gets discouraging. Maybe, it was the wrong goal, or maybe the plan wasn’t well thought out or executable. Or sometimes, it is just a timing thing. Whatever the case, I believe the time is now, and you need to believe it, too!
Believing that you can control your actions, your behavior, your choices is the first step toward success. You have to want it and be willing to put yourself out there, regardless of the goal you have set.
One of my current goals is to completely declutter and deep clean my house by the end of the year. It sounds simple, right? Just clean and purge! And yet, I am doing this while working seven days a week, during a busy holiday season, while trying to close the year on two businesses, dealing with my health issues, along with starting a YouTube channel. (I’ll keep you posted on that!). It sounds impossible and crazy. Don’t I have enough going on? But if now isn’t the time to do it, when is the time? The answer is, there is no time like now. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet, so all we have is today.
In order to do this, I had to break down my goal into manageable steps. I created a 30 day decluttering plan. I also looked at the problems I’ve faced in the past when I’ve tried to do this and didn’t succeed. I looked at my strengths, my weaknesses, the threats to my success, my opportunities, and lastly my fears. And I problem-solved.
My strengths: I’m good at organizing, excellent at purging. Less is more and I truly believe that! Plus, I love it!
My weaknesses: I am easily distracted by my boyfriend, daughter, grandson. My energy level varies depending on the day.
My opportunities: There are days that I have more time than others to devote to this goal. I marked those on my calendar and planned the most time-intensive areas for then.
Threats to my goal: Time-wasters (I’m addicted to Seeker’s Notes), motivation, lack of “me-time”, procrastination.
My fears: What if I finish decluttering and deep cleaning my home and I don’t feel less stress? Don’t feel happier?
And then I planned some more. I addressed each and every issue. I created My Daily Routine for maintenance cleaning and wrote out a plan to address one new area each day. I also plan my day out every morning, making certain to put at least one thing on my list for each goal I’m working on. Those are my priorities, everything else is secondary, well…except for appointments! I don’t always finish everything on my to-do list, but my priorities, I do my absolute best to finish. I encourage you to see each day as a new day and create your to-do list daily. We don’t always know what each day will bring so be flexible when you need to be, but never forget that you are a priority, too! I made this easy to use Daily To Do List. I laminated mine so that I could simply reuse it daily. I don’t need to remember what I did yesterday, I simply need to focus on today.
If you filled out the No Limits Worksheet, you should know which of your goals are best suited for you right this minute. The SWOTF worksheet, helped you narrow down your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and fears. I like to plan by addressing my threats, weaknesses and fears first, then looking at my strengths and opportunities. So how will you overcome the things that have kept you from achieving your goals in the past? Once you know this, the planning becomes much easier. Use the Goal Worksheet to make the plan for each goal. List the major steps and then break them down with daily tasks in your daily to-do list.
I prefer to plan backwards. But a true goal has a “final” date. I will declutter and deep clean my house by the end of the year (i.e. December 31, 2017). That is a final date. Whatever goal you give yourself, make sure to have an actual date. Sometimes we say, we’ll do it in the next three months. I’ve found this doesn’t usually work. We need a calendar date. Something to circle and keep ourselves accountable. So instead of three months from today, we’ll say March 18, 2018. It makes it seem much more attainable and decisive. So working backwards from your date, mark down all the tasks that need to happen in order for you to achieve your goal. Short-term goals should have daily tasks when you want to achieve them as quickly as possible. You have three months. Try to get it done in two. I bet if you actually do something for your goal every single day, you’ll get it done faster than you think.
When you have extra time in your day, add in another task to help you take one step closer. If you’re visual, try creating a graphic in your notebook or put it on your refrigerator. Something you can look at daily like a thermometer tracking your goal.
Make each line representative of the number of tasks required to achieve your goal and fill it up as fast as possible!
I would like to caution you about making goals that may not be fully in your control. Weight-loss is one of those goals. For years I tried to “lose weight” and I failed miserably. I was unaware until a couple of years ago that I had a medical condition that made this very difficult. I was always discouraged and depressed because I could achieve any goal but that! I felt like a failure, despite the fact that I had accomplished so many other things in my life. While I would still like to lose the weight, I have changed the goal to something within my control, “Lead a Healthy and Active Lifestyle.” This is completely in my control. There are things I can actively do to make this a reality, and I’m doing it. Now, after a year and a half of working out, most of that with a personal trainer, I am finally losing weight…slowly. But not because I am trying, and not because of my awesome trainers. It is actually a result of finally getting my medical condition under control.
My doctor told me in April, that I could work out and diet all I wanted, but I wasn’t going to lose the weight until I found the right management for my condition. So I began looking for something new. That was when things began to change, when I stopped looking at the scale and started looking at my lifestyle. I found a new doctor who helped me find those areas that needed my focus more than my weight did. Stress-reduction was a huge part of it. Supplements and sleep also played a huge part. Now, my focus is simply on living that healthy and active lifestyle that I want to live. What do I really care what the scale says so long as I feel good in my body, have more energy, less pain? These changes are so much more than I ever thought possible that I don’t think about the extra weight the way I used to. It is truly liberating. I encourage you to ditch those goals that make you feel depressed and discouraged. They are the WRONG goals.
The last thing we need for true success, is to evaluate our progress on a regular basis. Look at your progress weekly. If you are on track, great, how can you speed it up? If you aren’t on track, why is that and how do you address it now before it gets out of hand? Every day is a new day to get back on track. Just because yesterday was difficult and you didn’t get anything done, doesn’t mean that today has to be more of the same. Get up, make your bed, and get on with your list!
Wishing you all the best!