Business expert and motivational coach Chalene Johnson says that to accomplish your goals you will need to do one or more of the following: invest time, invest money, exert discipline. I think we all instinctively know that, but how do we get from knowledge to execution? One way is by creating an environment for success. Here are some suggestions:
1. Stay off the battlefield. If your goal is to save money, and you lose control when you go to department stores, stay out of the mall. Is it hard for you to resist gooey mac and cheese? Stay out of restaurants. It’s much easier to just avoid the places that cause problems than to try and stay in control when you go. Make it easy on yourself.
2. Create a reward in advance. Find something that you will do for yourself once your goal is complete. Make the reward consistent with the goal. For instance, if your goal is to finish writing a book, plan a reward like a weekend getaway. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, maybe your reward could be a few personal Pilates classes or new workout gear. Thinking of a reward is one of the best parts of working on goals. Take some time to enjoy the process.
3. Maintain momentum. Imagine yourself on a swing. It takes some effort to find the right position and get yourself moving back and forth. But once you’re moving, there isn’t much that can stop you. You’re enjoying the air on your face, and your legs are only pumping a little to keep you going. With your goals, decide that you’re going to do something six days a week, even if you only do 15 minutes. A few minutes a day keeps your goal at the forefront of your mind, and if you only work on your goal for 15 minutes a day, six days a week, that is one and a half hours a week or six hours a month. If you’re writing a book, you could probably complete two chapters in six hours a month. Are you trying to earn more money on the side? Depending on what you do, you could probably earn at least $100 in six hours. Just keep moving.
4. Stay open to change. If you don’t seem to have time for what’s important to you, examine every hour of your day. What can you do differently? What can you stop doing? What activities can you postpone? A few weeks ago, I started observing the Sabbath day on Saturdays. It was something I had thought about trying for years. Now I attend a 9:30 am church service on Sundays. After making these two changes, I have several hours on Sundays to work on my projects. This radical change in my weekends has made a huge difference in what I’m getting accomplished. Additionally, because I don’t have anything that I feel that I must do on Saturdays, I love the idea of a clean slate. I give myself permission to have no plans for the day or if I have plans, to change them without guilt. Reconsider how you spend your days and hours.
5. Be realistic. I think we often see friends, relatives and celebrities exceling in some area, and we want to achieve our goal yesterday. Accomplishing goals usually takes more time and more effort than we anticipate. Life will happen and will disrupt your plans. As you consider what you can accomplish in a particular amount of time, factor in that there will be storms, sick children, a spouse who needs your attention for a few hours, and dozens of other things that you can’t pencil in. This doesn’t mean that you’re letting yourself off the hook, it simply means that you’re looking at your life as a whole as opposed to the individual parts.
What is one small change that you can make to create an environment that promotes your success?