There are few satisfactions greater in life than setting goals, working toward them, and achieving goals. Of course, it also stinks when you fail miserably at a goal, but let’s pretend that doesn’t happen. Setting goals is step zero in the process of doing just about anything. Next, you should
Set aside an hour a day to learn
This is helpful regardless of whether you have a goal in mind. Spend an hour every day learning a skill, doing research, reading on the topic, taking a webinar, or whatever. Maybe your goal is to live on the streets, you could spend your time observing the survival skills and techniques of the local unhoused population. Perhaps, this will inspire ideas like giving your possessions to them and trading places like that horrible ‘80s movie with Eddie Murphy. Knowledge is the power that your goals plug into.
Use the Googles
The reason we are doing everything better and faster than past generations is that we learned from them. We are not reinventing the wheel. And, if you want to experience the biggest gains, you need to learn from what’s available. Fortunately, we have all the knowledge in the world at our fingertips.
Please tell me you’re not looking at your fingertips right now. I’m talking about using your fingers to rub on your phone or type on a keyboard to search Google. There is useful information out there but be wary of “secret tricks.” You may also want to reach out to people with experience in the field. Mentors are underrated.
This is probably the most important and hardest step. My dad always told me that the walk of a thousand miles begins with one step as he dropped me off in the middle of a forest and sped off. And, you know, he was right. My walk out of that forest didn’t begin until I took that first step. Even if you know absolutely nothing, you need to get started if you are going to do anything.
Break your overall goal down into small manageable steps. And, instead of being overwhelmed by your overall goal, keep your focus on completing the next step. This will keep you from scrapping the whole thing when you feel like you are moving slowly.
Also, understand that you will take two steps forward one step back quite often. Just make sure you are moving in the right direction. When you do experience a small failure or mistake – a natural part of getting better at something – take the time to learn from it. Ignore the time you are putting into the project/skill. It will take however long it takes. Enjoy the journey.
Be a real life (fake) scientist with you as the guinea pig! You can experiment with yourself and your ideas. For instance, if your goal is to run a marathon, as you are doing the classic running training, see if different changes to your diet help facilitate your goal. I know when I was training for a half-marathon (I’ve done half a dozen of these: pretty good for a fat man), figuring out the right diet to avoid pooping myself was an important part of it.
I’ve discussed journaling quite a bit, but it is incredibly helpful for documenting your progress and fleshing out what does and does not work. This is also where you solidify the lessons you have learned. My wife does Bullet Journaling, which may be your jam. I’m a writerman so everything I do is in boring paragraph form in a word processor.
Take a minute to learn about the remarkable life of Dashrath “Mountain Man” Manjhi. His wife died from injuries sustained while trying to cross the Gehlour hills. So, he spent the next 22 years of his life chiseling away at that mountain until there was a 360-foot path through the hill.
With persistence, you can literally move mountains. Any goal worth achieving isn’t going to happen overnight. You must stick with it. Plan on it taking longer than you expect. Eventually, though, your persistence will pay off.
Have you ever achieved a goal? Please brag about it and share your tips below!
James Brains is the founder and owner of Brains Report, a humorous product review and responsible consumerism website. His work has appeared on hundreds of websites. James holds a master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Oregon. When he is not writing, you can find him creating unique sushi rolls and playing roller derby. Not at the same time.