Not that long ago we were confronted with the following line of thinking from a listener of our podcast. “What if my goal is too big? It requires a lot of time, and I can’t wait for that long. The workload is so much and it already feels like an eternity. God knows when (if at all) I will eventually reach it.”
This is a challenge for many of us. In the “GoalBudy” system, we employ the four keys, plus some basic rules of thumb to unravel this case.
Let’s split the matter in question into two: the waiting and the time.
First, about the waiting
No one likes it – not a minute for the elevator, not the half-hour when someone is late for a meeting, let alone the many years to build up something big and significant.
But do you really wait for your dream? And if you do, then how it would become a reality!
The story is not like you are lying on the couch in your living room expecting the white knight in shining armor, a winning lottery ticket, or whatever else you might be daydreaming of. But don’t expect that somehow this will solve all of your problems.
Well, kidding aside, it is clear to everyone that only our effort is what gets things changed for good.
The journey or the destination
Much has been said on this subject, and yet it’s not so easy to put it into practice. We are talking about the idea that it is not the goal itself that matters, but the road you travel to it.
Both are equally important. One needs a goal since without it you may waste time and effort going the wrong way. And the journey is what can give you satisfaction and joy.
With the small intermediate steps forward we accumulate knowledge, skills, self-belief which drive us to continue with the next, even greater challenges.
And the result – are we waiting for it?
The trick is not only to act but do so decisively and without any delays or excuses.
Plus, we do much more than that – we also grow in process of acting.
Two of the basic human driving forces are for growth and contribution. And knowing how we change and evolve is key here.
Having your goals written down helps us immensely with the otherwise tricky part of measuring progress. When we regularly look back at how far we have gone and achieved we will generate some great feelings of confidence and optimism.
“Happily ever after”
Well, this happens only in the fairy-tale world. In the real one, there is no such thing as complete happiness, which you reach at some point and from then on you can hold onto it forever.
Even if we fulfill our wildest dream we can’t stop and after a while, we will be looking for the next one. This is normal, a part of human nature. The secret here is to keep achieving regularly.
Something that worries many people
Goal-setting skeptics fail to understand exactly this concept. For them, it is a hard and thankless job, which on top of everything else could only bring some fleeting joy, and then you will find yourself at square one.
However, if you have learned how to move forward and having fun at the same time then you know how essential it is to go through the process with ease.
So that’s what we would like to emphasize here:
You shouldn’t wait but act. And act in such a manner so that it all brings in a good feeling every day. Succeeding in this unlocks the energy for even more action instead of just sitting on your hands.
And now, about time
This second part of the matter is about how long it should take to get there.
Sometimes it is so far away that it is of little comfort to us the fact that we are making a step forward every single day.
In some cases, of course, this is not a problem. For example, the vision for health – no one sees anything wrong in the realization we are to have a healthy lifestyle.
But other dreams do have a finish line to cross. Like “becoming a famous writer” or “being the number one chess player in the world.”
People overestimate what they can do in 1 day and underestimate what they can accomplish in 1 month…
Let’s be logical here.
Suppose you are in your mid-twenties and you plan to have one day your own company with 50 employees. Can it happen today? – Obviously not, not in a year or two either.
But could it happen in 30 years? Of course, it is much more likely.
And yet a long-term perspective could impede us. The winning tactic here is daring to take the first necessary step while reminding us how good we are and how far we have come.
Focus on progress
We always start our workshop with a confidence-building exercise in which we challenge people to write down all their achievements for the last quarter. Most, including we (before we look at our notes), will be scratching our heads for at least a minute trying to remember those.
Everyday life has this impact on our memory as if nothing special happened, it is day after day, month after month, i.e. from home to work and back… we all know this feeling…
But when we open the calendar and go through photos on the phone or the tracking applications it becomes immediately clear that we have done a lot. We get instantly reminded of all the exciting things such as the precious moments with loved ones or the small personal victories.
The smart thing is to focus on what has been already done and not on what is yet to be. That’s how you build up self-belief and challenge yourself more.
The effect of long-term objectives
In the “GoalBuddy” system vision is for the big dreams with a timeframe of decades. Once you realize that the waiting, aka wasting time, becomes less of an issue.
It is up to us how to get organized and therefore have enough time for everything.
We set 90-day goals for action and then we move forward. Eventually, it will happen, and often it is much sooner than we expected.
Time will pass regardless and the only relevant question is if we did what we wanted and planned for?
The cumulative effect of the small steps
We recently came across one very illustrative picture – two people going up on two separate staircases. The steps, however, are quite different. The first one has small steps which makes it so easy for anyone to go up.
On the other one, the steps are placed too high and the person is struggling. It is slow and difficult to reach the same height as the other person.
This is very true for goal-setting when we take small steps with less effort.
The focus on happiness
Sometimes working toward our objective brings joy but some other times we end up realizing that it is not for us. If the latter is the case then maybe we should rethink our priorities.
Very often it is not what exactly you have done, but how it makes you feel. With the “Wheel of Life” exercise the workshop participants assess their sense of satisfaction with different aspects of life. It is interesting how one person could be perfectly Ok with a $1,500 pay-check while another will feel poor and unhappy. The truth is that our everyday activities greatly affect our emotions and state of mind.
We will succeed in only those of our dreams that make us feel excited about all the time.
How the system helps with the 4 keys
In our book “The 4 keys to achieving goals” we cover the basic tactics for success in the seemingly impossible.
- Vision – this is how you imagine yourself in 20-30 years. What you need to do to be happy with your deeds throughout all these years that are ahead of you.
- 90-day goals, aka the strategy for approaching the vision. These must be quite flexible. We choose them based on what we have done and learned so far. We also have to take into account things like crises, epidemics, cataclysms, etc. Every 90 days we go back and review what has transpired so that we build up confidence and move forward.
- Weekly steps – one small thing done each week. We do not wait, but actively use our time day after day to make the next step. At the end of the week, we have to ask ourselves the important question if we have done what we have committed to.
- The Goal Buddy – the trusted opinion of the person next to us assures that the process goes smoothly. The Buddy helps us to stay on track and keep the pace by motivating and encouraging us.
A matter of attitude
If you suspect that you are very much in the mode of waiting then the risk is high that you may end up giving up on your dream. But if you believe that you make progress every day, learn and grow, you will certainly achieve much more, and the bonus is that you will be happy along the way.
After all, you have 30 years (at least that much) to make what you strive for come true. Or, to put it differently, it is 1560 weekly steps. These are more than enough to make it all happen for you.