(7) Seven steps to achieve a goal or objective

June 21, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.


Step 1: Define clearly what your goal is

Most people want to get an objective, but they can’t even specify what they really want. Then, how do you pretend to get something that you don’t know well? This story illustrates what I want to say: One day, MP stopped working, drew her chair up to mine and told me: “Eddy, I know what I want to be: An artist, I want to be a singer. You, by the way, are a terrible singer, but good at giving pieces of advice. I’m sure you can help me,” she said.

“Do you want to be an amateur or a professional singer? A soloist or a member of a band? And since a question brings another, do you want to be a member or the leader of the band? What kind of public do you want to sing for? What kind of music do you want to sing?”

“Too many questions,” she told me.

MP made a small band and started to play the piano and sing. Years later, the band broke up, her goal evaporated and she never, never sang or played the piano again. For me, it would have been very easy to tell her on that day: “Learn, practice and work hard.” After all, these general guidelines are what people and books usually say. Obviously, that it is not enough, and the proof is convincing: Most people do not usually get the goals they set out.

When you specify your goal, the distance becomes shorter (you can take a shortcut!), your goal is less complex and easier to achieve. What is easier for a boxer, to fight only one or eight boxers simultaneously inside a ring? Let’s start from here: Define your aim and fight just one boxer.

Step 2: Identify things that prevent you from getting your aim

Perhaps you do not know exactly how to get the goal you have set, but I am sure that you are aware of what things deter or prevent you from getting it. If your goal is to buy a house, to stop squandering money is as important as to find a way about how to improve productivity for your finance. Not to drink excessively or smoke is as necessary as to eat healthy food and exercise frequently if your goal is to be healthy. Find as soon as possible these negative elements, bad habits and buried them. If you can do that, you already have in your hands between 25% and 30% of your desired goal.

Step 3: Divide your goal into small an easier to achieve objectives

When objectives take a long time to be achieved, people tend to look at the place where they are now and they worry about how far they are from the end (goal). Finally, they end up giving up. It has happened to almost everybody. To avoid this situation, divide your long (or difficult) goal into consecutive small goals that can be achieved in a shorter period of time.

I live on the top of a small hill, steep enough to see ships from the balcony of my apartment. In the evening, after work, I usually walk home to keep my body in good shape. On days when things don’t go off smoothly, the slope looks steeper than ever and my apartment further. Instead of fixing my gaze on the hill to think about how far I am from home, I look for the nearest lamp post and say to myself: “The only thing I have to do is to get there.” Once I get the post, my next goal is to get the next one and so on, and almost without realizing it, I am opening my door. You cannot lift 200 kilograms, but if you divide your heavy load into several small parts, you can take it everywhere.

Step 4: Make a plan and hold on tight to it

“To have a bad plan is always better than to have nothing,” my father always told me when he taught me how to play chess. When I grew up, I realized how true his words were and how important to apply plans to our lives is. “I want this” is an emotional phrase that can give you at most some sporadic motivation. A plan about how to get what you want is the real and rational thing that will help you to get the aim. Make a plan, write down the way you can get your objective, the means you already have to get it, the means you lack and need, how long it will take to get it, obstacles, write down what you have to do every single day, etc. Make adjustments when necessary, but remember: Hold on tight to it.

Step 5: Be persistent and consistent

People generally give up working on their projects because their actions are pushed by emotions. Bad decision: Emotions are transitory and usually last for days only. You don’t get any good goal in that way or in a short period of time. The plan in the step 4 will make you think and subsequently act in a logical and objective way. It will teach you to work hard on what you want, to keep hammering the head of the nail until you don’t see it anymore. That is called persistence and those who know this word can tell you how hard to be a persistent person might be, but also how helpful this characteristic is.

As for the other idea, you cannot expect to achieve an important objective if you work on it whenever you feel motivated or whenever you remember that it has passed a long time since the last day you were working on it. To be consistent does not mean you have to work every day on the same matter, but you should have at least regular intervals. Consistency is vital to achieve a goal and it is extremely related to persistence: When you are persistent, you are consistent and vice versa. But how can we be consistent, how can we get the strength to get this difficult characteristic? The next step will give you the clue.

Step 6: Monitor every day the plan you made to get your goal

This is the key of everything. When you made your plan, you assigned a specific day to each activity to be carried out in order to get your objective. Do not go to bed without reviewing what you did on that day for your goal. Done tasks will provide motivation, and above all, confidence to go for the next one. To check every day what you want will keep your mind focused on your goal, will help you not to forget what you are fighting for and, therefore, it will help you with your lack of consistency.

Step 7: Set feasible goals in life

To achieve a particular goal makes people feel satisfied, not happy as many people wrongly believe. I have seen hundreds of people fighting, struggling to achieve a goal and when they finally get it, sometime later, they say: “And now what?” So, don’t run after things that are evidently beyond your capabilities since it will make you feel frustrated for a long time, and even though you get them, the same question will arise: “And now what?” Instead, I recommend you to fill your life with multiple and practical goals that involve not only your personal accomplishments, but peoples too, goals that help to improve people’s lives as well as yours. It is the real goal that can bring long lasting joy to your life, and when the tiresome question (and now what?) arises again, you will have a nice answer for it: “I will go for another goal!”

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