Happy Friday friends! I’m back and ready to rock and roll after an awesome Spartan Race in Amesbury. This year was quite a challenge, but I am happy to report that not only was I able to conquer their challenges (no burpees for this guy!) but the folks who participated as part of the team also performed stellar and as much as I helped push them to their best, they in turn, helped push me as well.
But I digress.
3 Days of soreness and a voracious appetite later, I am ready to start delivering unto you more delicious brain food!
Today, our topic will be about creating a “Road Map To Success.” To throw this into lamens terms, we’re going to talk about goal setting and how you can help get yourself on your way to accomplishing said goals.
A dream without a plan is just a wish. One can wish as much as they want for things to happen, for things to change. But unless you are willing to be the change, or make something happen, they will remain just that, nothing more than an idyllic wish.
But … change is hard. There is no way to sugar coat that. We are hardwired to feel comfortable with repetition, routine, and the conservation of energy.
And let’s face it. Things that are effortless are appealing because of just that: They are effortless.
We’ve discussed before strategies for setting goals and accomplishing them, but today, I wish to share with you a new strategy I’ve been implementing and using in my own life to help keep me on track!
Yes, that’s right. In case anyone was wondering, I am in fact human! I have human qualities and traits, including susceptibility to becoming “comfortable.”
What I have discovered in my short time on this mortal coil is that comfort, while it is great, is the killer of ambition. It speaks to me as if it were honey in my ears, lulling me into a sense of false accomplishment. After all, if I am comfortable, have I not been successful?
Like many of you and others, I go through cycles where I am quite productive and find myself accomplishing goal after goal only to then run into a lull, or hit a rut where I just cruise on the coattails of my past accomplishments. I dub this, comfort.
So how do we beat this? It is only human to seek comfort, and a life filled with nothing but tension and uncomfortable uncertainty doesn’t necessarily sound very appealing.
So what I am proposing is that our goal should not be to spring forward with leaps and bounds towards all of our hopes, dreams, and wishes. Instead, it is merely to increase the duration and frequency of these cycles of “accomplishment.”
Que up: “The Road Map To Success.”
As silly as it sounds, it is literally a map. Written out, drawn out, illustrated, demonstrated, and any other form of expression that I need to give my dreams and wishes structure and direction helping me avoid the ruts, the plateaus, and the “comfort.”
To make your very own roadmap…
STEP ONE: first consider what the goal is you want to work towards achieving (Nothing is too lofty!) For example, I have chosen my goal of publishing my first book.
So this becomes our end point, our destination, our “X” on our treasure map. Draw it, write it, express it however you have to on your map.
STEP TWO: Now, consider where you are. What is your beginning point? For my goal that I have chosen, my starting point is the Blog I currently author. It is my testament to myself, that I am capable of this (even if it takes a year!) Consider the following: I have now been blogging for a year, one article a week, 52 weeks in a year. If you take the average number of pages of each article at 3, that’s 156 pages in a year. For what I want my first book to be, that’s perfect.
Now not only do I have my starting point, but I have a good idea of the time frame I should a lot myself to help keep me on track.
STEP THREE: We have a beginning and an end, but what we are missing is the meat! What steps must we take to get from point A to point B?
This step requires a lot of objectifiable thinking. We have to try and break down the unknown and mysterious “middle” into the several or hundreds of steps that we must first take to get to that end destination.
Where are we going? Well … regardless of whether you get the amount of steps, or even all of the steps correct, having one step is the biggest step forward you can take towards your goal. It gives you a direction, even if it doesn’t give you a plan.
For my example, my first logical step would be to plan out the skeleton of my book, to decide what the chapters will be about and what the message is that I want to convey with it.
So I may not have anything concrete, but now I know what I have to focus my mental energies on. I know what the “problem” is before me that I should be consciously and subconsciously working towards uncovering.
STEP FOUR: I reiterate, whether step three yields a hundred steps, or only one is irrelevant, once you have that first step, you may move on to step four, and the final step in the cycle of creating your road map.
Now we have a beginning, an end, and the first step of our journey. So it is only natural that the next phase involves breaking down our step!
So if my first step is to create a skeleton, to identify the message of my book, I need to dissect how I will accomplish this (note: that is not to say I must SOLVE this conundrum now, but I must a lot myself the time to figure it out in my schedule.)
With that in mind, I need to consider the question. I need to MAKE TIME!
So, I will commit myself each day to give this thought consideration for a solid 30 minutes. Scheduled time set to the same frame each day. I once read that a common trait of creative people, specifically writers, is that their method involves a structure. For example, Maya Angelou always rented a hotel room when she was writing (regardless if your goal is writing or not, giving an idea a schedule allows your brain to make that time the “active” time for “considering” that idea.)
If I accomplish nothing towards that step during that allotted time, so be it. If I am struck with a moment of brilliance at some other moment in the day, I will immediately jot down a note to myself so that I may remember it for when I enter into that structured time for that idea.
STEP FIVE: Repeat step three and four as many times as necessary to reach your destination.
Have a few steps in mind that build off each other? Use step three and four to plan those out as well.
Run into a new direction while achieving one of your steps in your road map? Return to step three and four as well!
STEP SIX: Keep your roadmap handy, visible, and accessible. The key to this idea working is that you must have it somewhere that reminds you to keep yourself honest. You need it handy and accessible so you can modify it as you see fit. You need it around, so you always have a map towards your destination.
So I hope this has been helpful for all of you! I know it has been for me in many things I have done and accomplished in just the past year alone.
My last bit of advice to you is this. Should you ever get lost on your journey, there is no shame in throwing your map out and starting over. To be honest, I’ve done that myself many times!
Especially when I feel like things are getting stagnant, or stale and I’ve been stuck on the same step for longer than I’d like and I start to get that creeping feeling of “comfort” I throw out my map, and I redraw it, reconsidering all of the steps along the way.
Also, there is a new section open on the site called “The Challenge.” Here I will be undertaking a challenge I have set for myself and all of you are welcome to follow along, and even participate! Check it out.