With a new year, new goals are imagined, set, and hopefully achieved. However, sometimes those goals are forgotten or left unachieved by the end of the year.
With that in mind, here’s a method that has worked for me when trying to reach my goals:
- Start with a big, compelling goal written down with a completion date.
- Then, break it down into smaller, more manageable (or believable) parts that can be measured or ‘supporting goals’ that also have completion dates. Main goals are usually two to five years in length, and supporting goals are more like a few weeks or a few months.
- Tell someone who will be supportive and someone you can trust what your goal is and ask them to not only be encouraging but to hold you accountable. This helps because, when the going gets tough (as we all know it will), that is the time when help from parents, friends, and mentors counts the most.
- Give yourself some reward for achieving those supporting goals. The idea is to measure progress and to make it as fun as possible. The more compelling the goal is, and the more fun the rewards are, the more likely you will succeed.
If this method sounds familiar, it’s because it is very similar to the way I work to help my students reach their Martial Arts goals. I believe Martial Arts is the perfect training ground for goal-setting, whether your goal is fitness, reducing stress, or anything else you can think of. In Martial Arts, the big goal for many is earning the Black Belt, which takes an average of four years of hard work and commitment. The different belt ranks are the ‘supporting goals’, which can be achieved every three to six months along the way. The reward for passing the test of a supporting goal is a new belt rank and the new status it carries.
Feeling rewarded is important to achieving goals because we are a lot less likely to quit when we’re celebrating the progress we’ve made. Think about it: whenever you wanted to quit anything, were you feeling happy or feeling discouraged? For me, that feeling of wanting to quit only happens on low days. With that in mind, I try to never make important decisions when I’m feeling discouraged.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few goals to write down for myself…
From The Blog Of Dave Kovar