Have you caught yourself wishing you were organized, wishing you were thinner, or wishing you had a better job? I used to be a “wisher” and then a few years ago I learned the power of setting goals. French writer (1900 – 1944) Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
It is impossible to achieve a wish. It is possible to achieve a goal. What is the difference between a wish and a goal? The most important difference is in your perception. If you think wish then the desire will remain just that: an unfulfilled wish. A goal setter uses a plan to turn a wish into reality.
Here is a five step plan for turning a wish into reality.
- Visualize the end result. Be specific and write it down. If you achieve your goal what will it feel like? What will it look like? Create a picture of success in your mind. Cut out pictures from a magazine and make a vision board.
- Your goal must be measurable. Saying “I want to reduce my clutter” is not measurable. Removing two bags of give-away items per week is measurable.
- Allow a realistic time frame to achieve a goal. Set a starting date and an ending date.
- Create a tracking system for your goal. A spreadsheet or journal works for most goals.
- Build in accountability. Share your goal with one or two supportive people who will encourage you. In some cases working with a coach or trainer is necessary to achieve the final goal.
I’m going to toot my own horn now. I set three specific goals at the beginning of the year and I am well on my way to completion.
One goal I set was to lose thirty-nine pounds. I have lost twenty-nine of the pounds so far. My original target date was June 30, 2010. I began the plan on January 1, 2010. Have I failed? No. I did not have a realistic time frame. It took me fifteen years to gain thirty-nine pounds. It was not realistic to lose the weight in six months. These last few pounds take much longer to lose. I have now adjusted the target date to December 31, 2010. I created a journal on my computer to track my progress. It is a simple table set up in MS Word with the date, my weight, and a place for comments. It is very cool to have this record to look back on my progress. I honestly believe that without this tracking tool, I would have abandoned my plan.
One important thing that I have discovered is that my vision is about more than just being thin. It is about being healthier and having better muscle tone especially around my mid-section or core as the industry calls it. Just losing pounds will not increase my muscle tone. This will take some hard work. These are muscles that haven’t been used since I was a teen-ager. I’ve tried some exercises that I’ve seen in magazines but I don’t think that I’m doing them properly. I have decided to work with a fitness trainer next month so that I can learn the proper techniques. My experience proves that sometimes you need to learn new skills or get new tools to help you achieve your goals and that this is not always apparent until you start working your plan. A flexible plan is a successful plan. – Karen
Are you working on a goal, or just wishing something will happen? Take a few minutes and jot down some goals that you can get started on. You can start anytime. Think of a personal goal, a business or educational goal, and a financial goal. You can work on all three or work on one at a time. Use the steps listed above to write out a plan. Remember a goal setter uses a plan to turn a wish into reality.