I counsel clients who have an idea of a goal they want to reach but are having trouble working on it or even getting started. Maybe you feel that you’re in the same boat with your goals. Here are a few suggestions I give my clients to kind of jump start their motor and get them going in the direction they really want to go.
Success: Is it Your Dream or Your Work?
You’ve known what it is you really want to do with your life for a long time. You’ve day dreamed about it, what would it be like to really be doing it successfully, and yet your “real life” can be completely different from that end-goal. Well, no blame. You’ve probably had to work your “day job” much longer than you had planned just to keep your life running smoothly. You may have a family, kids, even grandkids, or parents to care for, a house to support, and all your time has gone to keeping that core functioning correctly.
Honestly, how much time, commitment, and effort have you, or do you, put into that so-far elusive goal of yours? Not much, you say? Likely that’s the reason you haven’t made much progress toward your goal. Here are some things you can do to change that and start moving down the road to goal-success.
1. Enlist the people around you. Just like if you undertook a weight loss or health change regimen, you can be more successful if you create a “buddy system”. You enlist a friend or family member to assist you in reaching your goal. Each week, you’ll give your designated buddy a progress report of steps you have taken toward reaching your goal. On your progress report, you and your designated person decide on your goal for that week and at the end of the week, you have to produce the results of what you did to meet the goal. If you didn’t meet the goal, why not, and what’s your plan to remedy that? Having an accountability factor built into working toward your goals with someone you have to answer to, helps motivate you to keep moving forward.
2. Is Your Goal Clear? You’d be surprised at the number of clients who want help and motivation towards reaching a goal yet don’t really know what their goal is. Many of them will say, well, I just want to do something different, maybe open my own business, maybe do something creative, or maybe switch into a completely different job. To that I answer, if you started out on a road trip with those vague destinations, you may wind up lost. It’s not clear where you want to go. So, the first thing to do is clearly define what your goal is and your strengths and weaknesses towards achieving it. For example: I want to open my own shop to sell the furniture I’ve been making for many years. Give your goal a name, just like it’s a newborn child. Write it down on paper: Making and Selling My Furniture. Now that you’ve clearly defined your goal, “raising” it through a Plan of Action is much easier.
3. Raise Your Goal. Raising your goal involves deciding exactly what actions you’re going to take to breathe life into your goal-baby named Making and Selling My Furniture. Just like raising a child, you have to do very specific things to keep them growing toward maturity successfully – feeding them, sheltering them and providing love. “Feeding” your goal involves all the actions you need to do to make your goal come alive. Giving it “shelter” involves creating a place for your specific goal to grow and survive. In this case it would be renting a shop somewhere for you to build your furniture and invite the public to view and buy it. Providing “love” to your goal is the commitment, time, and effort it will take to make your goal successfully grow into a thriving endeavor.
Creating a clear Plan of Action will have all these objectives in it. If you don’t know everything to include in your Plan of Action just yet, then consult mentors who can help you flesh it out. Who knows, after you’re successful, you may want to write a book to help some other entrepreneur reach their goals. Your clearly documented Plan of Action may really help someone else.
There are a whole lot of reasons why older people drag their feet in getting/staying committed and moving forward toward their much dreamed about goals. It can be heavy obligations of time, money, caretaking, but sometimes it can just be anxiety of the unknown. Having a “goal buddy” can really keep you on track with your plan of action of how to raise your “goal baby”. Knowing which path to follow can help you avoid the detours and pitfalls along the way and help you get there faster.
Dale Brown, B.S., M.A., C.E.C.
Certified Empowerment Coach