Now more than ever, I am striving hard to stick to the goals I set myself for November. While focus tastes sweet, and goals glow golden beckoning me lovingly, practice is proving to be a challenge. I am sincerely following my motto – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
It is funny how, when we begin with a plan in mind, Universe seems to conspire to keep loading an already full plate. Of course, part of planning is having those contingency plans in place so that I am constantly prioritizing and making sure that my non-negotiables are met. Nobody is stopping me from saying no to some of the stuff, but I would be crazy to turn away work – freelancing is like that. You say no once, and the work has to be done anyway, so the client turns to someone else. Not all clients are loyal, no matter how long you’ve known them.
So how do I find a way to reach those goals?
Which brings me back to the correct techniques for hitting those goals I’ve set. Here’s an example. I set myself a really tight schedule for November. I wanted to tackle regular work and the NaNoWriMo where the goal is to write 50000 words over the course of 30 days, hopefully culminating in the first draft of a novel or a book.
How am I doing so far?
Not bad, I’d say. I am right on track with the NaNoWriMo word count, in fact, better than I expected.
I had penciled in time for the usual client work, but happily, that has increased unexpectedly, and rather than turn it away, I am managing my time better by simply minimizing time online.
I’ve been reading snippets of a book titled “The Pledge: Your Master Plan for an Abundant Life”. The author, Michael Masterson has proven time and time again that he knows what he’s doing. The techniques he outlines in his book are the same that I used during my career in sales and training.
The Pledge is a guide that teaches readers how to start and finish projects they have been dreaming about for years besides giving that much-needed boost to the confidence, with tips to strengthen skills, build wealth and enjoy life.
According to the author, successful people do not sit around waiting for the perfect moment or reassurance that they will succeed. They know life offers no guarantees. When they set their sights on something, they simply set goals and make a step-by-step action plan to help them accomplish those goals. Successful people realize the cost of failure, compared to the cost of inaction. Failure is a stepping stone, another chance, while inaction is pure regret.
Reminds me of the quote:
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt
In this book, Michael Masterson teaches how to be successful in all areas of life. There are tips for making immediate changes and setting long-term goals. Then he offers strategies to become more productive and discusses why simplifying goals makes them easier to achieve.
These strategies have become a sort of blueprint for me today, for every goal I set. This time is no different.
I’ve broken down my month’s goals into weekly and daily goals ensuring that I steadily move towards success. Also, breaking it down is less intimidating, more achievable.
A tiered approach
So the trick is this: a tiered goal-setting strategy that will keep me focused on the daily activities that steadily lead me to my finish line. It is important that I prioritize and shut out distractions that keep me from doing what I have to do.
Which means, I must break down the monthly goal of 50000 words into weekly and daily goals. When I stick to the daily goal, the week will take care of itself. And when that happens, I am well on track to accomplish my monthly goal.
I fondly remember those days when my Mom and I were living on a very tight budget. That didn’t mean we had wants and needs. I often confused my wants with needs, naturally. Rather than chide me for my lofty wishing, she encouraged me to write a wish list and keep it in sight and made me believe I can do it.
Funny thing is, I did, too.
The list gave me focus. I made an estimate for the wants in my list and put a price on them. I knew what I earned. And I became creative, trying to save whatever I could – on a daily basis. The daily savings – walking instead of taking a cab, taking up every opportunity for extra work, working smarter so I could earn more commissions – all added up.
At the end of the week, I’d gloat on what I’d saved so far and that would motivate me to keep it up.
At the end of the month, I’d be so excited. I had a goal and wouldn’t rest until I reached it.
And then, when I had saved enough – bringing those things home was the sweetest thing.
That three-tiered blueprint has now become a template regardless of the situation. It works!
Do you set long term goals? How do you set about achieving them?