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Wow, life gets busy doesn’t it? There are bosses/boyfriends/family members/neighbors/kids/random door-knockers all competing for our attention, emails flooding our inboxes, bills to pay, birthday presents to buy, houses to clean, pets to look after … should I go on or are you nodding your head round about now? Well, this is my life too.
Even though daily life seems to take up all day I often find the time to sit and wonder where the years are going. And wondering how to achieve my bigger goals when I’m very busy doing everything else.
The bottom line is simple and harsh: Reaching my goals requires my action.
You can read self-help books, discuss life in depth over a glass of wine with friends, or moan to your boyfriend when boring Nancy gets ‘your’ job promotion. Or you can take consistent action every day towards your goal finish line. It’s up to you.
The only thing keeping you from achieving your goals is you. The only thing that can get you to that finish line is you.
Responsibilities towards the pets, boyfriends and family might make the journey take a little longer but having them in your life sure makes it a lot more interesting along the way.
So take any time you spend now on moaning, reading and pondering, and invest it in taking action. Here are some steps you could take to finish a goal marathon and cross that finish line:
Step 1: Set the goal
First we need to set the finish line. How can we achieve something if we don’t know where we’re going?
Always wanted to volunteer and help save the world? Clean out the basement? Go on a road trip? Make a million bucks a month from your own business? Grow your own berries?
Big or small, the question is what do you want to do?
There’s no right or wrong answer here. Just set a get-done goal and get on with it. You can change the goalpost along the way, but you need something to start working towards right now.
Be very specific about what you want so you know what steps to take to get there.
Step 2: Break it up into miles
How do you get to the finish line of that goal? Mile by mile – you can’t do this race any other way.
Pace your race and set your 1-mile mark, 2-mile mark, 3-mile mark …
One of the best ways I’ve found is to mark your milestones backwards, from the finish line (the goal) back to the start. Take where you want to end up and break the journey into steps backwards from there. Here’s an example:
If you want to plant a berry patch, you could plan it backwards like this:
Finish line goal: Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries growing in the sunny back-right corner of the garden.
5-mile mark: To reach the finish line you need to plant the seedlings.
4-mile mark: To plant the seedlings you need to buy them and the tools for planting.
3-mile mark: Before you buy anything you need to make a list of what seedlings you need, how many, and what tools to buy.
2-mile mark: To know what to put on the list you must plan what you will plant where.
1-mile mark: To plan your berry patch, you first need to do online research about how to plant and care for strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
See how I worked backwards from the finish line to the start?
Step 3: Set up a tracking system
Tracking is one of my favorite things. Really, I like to track everything.
All you need to track is what needs to get done, by when, with a checkbox to tick things off.
Just write down your dates for each milestone you set in step 2, write what needs to be done by that date, then tick off or color in the ‘done’ box when it’s completed.
Step 4: Be ruthless with hurdles
Once you have your steps written out, you have a surefire plan to win – if you implement the steps.
So, if you research, plan, purchase what you need, then plant those seedlings, you will soon be adding beautiful berries to your meals! If you skip a step and don’t go to the store or plant what you buy, you won’t be eating from the garden.
Remember I said that getting things done requires action?
Make each step in your tracker your next priority. No exceptions. You don’t go to bed on the night of a milestone until that action step is done. Follow through on each step when you plan to. That will take you to the end.
Step 5: Not now co-star, I’m in the limelight today.
This step links to step 4 above but deserves special mention.
Sometimes it isn’t the outside world holding us back but the one that’s inside of us. The negative thoughts, emotions and doubts that seem to be a permanent co-star in our reel of life.
My best advice is to tell that co-star to get backstage because there’s only space for one leading lady here – you and your success.
At least try to delay any negativity until you’ve finished the action steps. It sounds silly, but you might find it works.
As you see things come together your negative co-star may have moved to another production company – one that gives her more time on stage.
Step 6: Find someone who has run this track before
Everyone is dealing with their own ‘stuff’. Accept that and you are halfway there.
Just because you want to eat organic, home-grown carrots all of a sudden doesn’t mean your boyfriend will share in your beta-carotene excitement or be willing to hunt down the snail that’s attacking your precious crops.
But know this – somebody, somewhere, has been through what you are going through, and they can offer guidance through a book, blog post, forum, course, phone call or social media.
Someone has run this track before. If you need answers to tick off a milestone, then get online and find a reliable source.
Step 7: Get cheerleaders to push you forward
If you can’t get friends or family members excited about helping you with your goals, then find support elsewhere.
If this is a marathon you will definitely need cheerleaders. There are apps, programs, forums, coaches, virtual assistants and online groups ready to cheer you on or take off some of the load – all you need is an internet connection, a username, and a password you struggle to recall (but luckily there’s a free program to remember that too).
So delegate and automate as much as possible. Make this easy and fun! Order seedlings online. Get your friends to help you dig and plant. Search Pinterest for free garden plans.
Keep looking for ways to make your life simpler and easier.
Step 8: Remind yourself the race has started
You are starting to build up a sweat. The key is to keep going.
Set up a daily reminder of what you want in the end. Make berries your desktop background, stick motivational quotes on your bathroom mirror, create a vision board, make yourself accountable.
Keep it clear in your head what you are fighting for – keep your eyes on the prize – and don’t let the daily grind get in your way of where you want to be.
Step 9: Set up a backup plan for sprains along the way
How often do things go to plan? Ummmm, never. At least that’s been my experience.
Be prepared to encounter hurdles and work around them. Do your stretches and be flexible enough to hop over, under, or work around whatever pops into your path. Expect them and you won’t be surprised or disheartened, you will smile because you knew they would come. Most things can be managed.
Your finish line might move and your goals might change along the way. The berry patch could become a herb garden or a play pit for the dogs, but it’s all okay.
As long as you are moving forward and taking action, you can decide where you want to go as you go along.
Set a goal, break it up into steps, get a tracking system, work around the hurdles, find support, and keep going.
And now that you are part of the Tiara Tribe, you will know that our motto is: Tiara Tribers never, ever give up. Never.
And that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?