Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Staying on Track With Your Goals

Almost as soon as you decide to make a change in your life, obstacles will appear to test your commitment to your goals, often in the form of conflicting priorities. To keep on the path and reach your destination, it’s essential to have an accurate map, a reliable compass, and a workable plan.

Be clear about what you want

What is the outcome you’re seeking? “Getting in shape” is too vague. Do you want to fit into a pair of jeans you used to wear or keep up with your grandchildren for two hours at the beach or run a mile without being out of breath?

Think of something specific and measurable that will tell you when you have realized what you set out to do. Now you have a reference for making moment-to-moment decisions that will move you closer or farther away from your goal. “Should I take the stairs or the elevator?” “Should I order the chef salad or the hamburger?”

Remember why you’re doing it

A compelling “why” will provide the motivation that propels you on the road to mastery. What will you be able to do or have when you achieve your goal? The vitality to pursue your dreams? The satisfaction of accomplishing something difficult and worthwhile? The confidence that you can meet a challenge and succeed? Make a list of the “goals behind your goal.”

Also, think about how you want to feel as you work toward your goal. Acknowledge the courage, dedication, focus, and integrity you are cultivating. It makes the effort a reward in itself so that you’re already winning even before you approach the finish line.

Smoothe the path to action

Create strategies that make it easier to say yes. The fewer steps it takes to practice the behaviors you want, the greater the chance of success.

Commit to specific time or situational triggers that support your goal. For instance, put your aerobics or yoga class or gym workout on your schedule like any other important engagement. Plan to go for a walk right after supper. Pack your workout clothes before you go to bed.

If you want to trim down, eat an apple or banana before you have dessert. Drink a glass of water before you have coffee, tea, or soda. Use a smaller plate, cup, and bowl than you used to. You get the idea.

Congratulations on taking steps toward the life you want to live. May you discover strengths you didn’t know you had along the way!

Copyright 2010 by Eugene Y. Smith, III. All rights reserved.

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