Goals are something I think about – a lot.
“What’s next for you?”
“Do you have some new ideas or projects you’re working on?”
“It’s been awhile since I’ve done something big, lots of ideas rolling around but I’m just not sure what to do next?”
Is there something you’ve been wanting to do since you were eighteen?
You’ve always had this ambition to travel the world and write a blog about your experiences, but aren’t sure how to put it all together.
Maybe you’ve run ten half-marathons and completing a full marathon is next on your list…….but.
This is a problem. A very common problem among people.
They have goals. Old goals, new goals, and sometimes they can even be really big out of this world goals. And they never come to fruition. Even the tiniest goal is important, but how come they too often don’t happen for people.
What’s getting in the way?
I’ve set lots of goals over the years. Some small goals, a lot of medium sized goals and a whole bunch of big goals.
I have some ideas based on personal experience. Some may work for you, others may sound completely nonsensical, and the most important aspect to remember is what works for one person may not work for the other.
And that doesn’t mean to completely discount and negate an idea, maybe you just use a small portion of the idea to help realize what you’re after, and that’s completely ok!
It’s time for you to realize your goals!
First and foremost when it comes to goals – it’s so important to first write them down.
Don’t just write them in a journal or a random document on your computer. Write them down so you can see them every single day.
I have a running ’to-do’ note that’s always hovering on my laptop. Being that I spend lots of time on my laptop, the ’to-do’ note is constantly on my brain. One of the sections on that note is goals.
I read them to myself. I write them down. I erase them when they’ve been accomplished. I have big ones. I have small ones. I have ones that I know will probably take three to five years until they’re accomplished. I have medium sized ones. I have goals that I know I’ll accomplish before my kids get home from school.
Think about that. I have goals so small that I know they’ll be accomplished in the next couple of hours. Maybe you’re asking and thinking why it’s important to have those types of goals? Because accomplishment is contagious. When I accomplish something that I’ve thought about and written down, it feels amazing and I want to do it again.
I’ll often have a goal of doing 500 push-ups during the day. I drop my kids off at school at 7:45am and pick them up at 2:40pm. If you break it down to a simple math problem, you have LOTS of time throughout the day to accomplish your goal.
But it needs to be important. And it needs to be on the forefront of your brain. And it really needs to be something that is attainable within your given timeframe.
Stay focused. Stay aligned. Stay on the path.
Earlier this year I set a goal to run four marathons, across four different bridges in the Bay Area, in four consecutive days. My plan was to drop my kids off at school, drive to the bridge, run back and forth on the bridge until I ran 26.2, and then go pick up my kids.
Now that wasn’t what I would categorize as a small goal, it was definitely on the big list. But it also wasn’t too intimidating based on my running preparation and history with goals.
Being varied, and flexible and diverse in your goals is important for so many reasons.
If all your goals are huge and maybe not even attainable, then you may never accomplish any of your goals.
Writing down your goals in a visible location that you see everyday really helps, I’ve even taped them to my mirror in the bathroom. Whatever it takes to be successful, that’s the plan!
Another strategy that’s worked well in the past is sharing my goals with friends.
Way too often people don’t even get past the first step. They write the goal down on a piece of paper or their computer and it never leaves that place. Social pressure is super important and telling your friends about them will help you build a much needed support network.
When I ran the four marathons in four days across those four bridges, I made my goal very public across social media. And you know what happened? People supported me from far away and also in person.
My neighbor sent me a text message after reading my post on Facebook.
“Dude, when are you doing the four marathon thing, I want to join.”
Boom – I had someone to run with on the first bridge. I’m not the type of person to stop or quit or make excuses when I’m alone and by myself. But if you have those tendencies, having someone with you can be super helpful. He didn’t run the entire marathon with me, but we were on a bridge and were together the whole time. It made that first 26.2 go by so much faster than if I was by myself.
On day two of the four marathon challenge, I had two different friends come out. My neighbor texted me as I was driving to the bridge and asked if she could come out and run with me. She’s an attorney and would be at the court house which wasn’t too far away later that morning. She went to court, changed her clothes in the car, ran six miles with me, changed back into her clothes and went back to court.
Social pressure also brings social support in really profound ways! You’d be surprised what type of support you’ll get from friends in person and virtually, and when you’re chasing goals, take all the help you can get.
Tell your friends, tell your family, tell social media and get the support that will bring you across the finish line.
Making your goals attainable is another important strategy. I touched on it above but it’s important to go a little deeper.
If I never do push-ups and one day I wake up with an idea to do 1,000 push-ups that day, there’s a chance that goal may not be met. Making your goal attainable is just an important reminder.
Make your 1,000 push-up goal something you want to achieve within the next six to nine months. Give yourself some preparation time to get your muscles ready and your mind in shape so you actually have a chance.
Remember – goal achievement is contagious. When you pace them out and start achieving, you’ll only keep going in that direction.
Another strategy to think about that’s worked well for me over the years is to revisit them often.
Like I said before, way too many goals get written down on paper or a computer and never ever leave.
Don’t just revisit them and reflect on what you have or haven’t accomplished, it’s okay to adjust them also.
Maybe I had a goal of running a 100 mile race within the next year. After six months I’ve been training and maybe had finished a few marathons and some long training runs. But work has been busy and I’ve been traveling a lot and my training just isn’t where it needs to be in order to even finish the race. Instead of feeling bad or discouraged, I’d change that goal from a 100 miler to a 50 miler.
Your training is more in reach with the different distance, and you just need to extend your time frame out another six months. Don’t write off the goal completely, adjust and amend for what will work in your current situation.
Build a group of people around you with the same goals so you can all support each other.
Like minded people that have their eye on the same prize will undoubtedly support each other along the way.
That group that you build will hold you accountable, they’ll help you when times get tough, they’ll remind you why you set the goal in the first place and they’ll just be there to support.
Depending on the goal you’ve set, it may be hard to find similar people where you live. I can say from experience, most of my groups that have supported me in the last ten years have been all across the country. We stay connected through an array of digital platforms and I know it’s not the same as being together in person. But I’d rather have some virtual support than no support or encouragement at all.
Crush your goals
Big, medium, small – they’re all important and should all be included. Prepare your mind. Prepare your body. Prepare the logistics and details that are needed to be successful.
Approach and attack your goal with unrelenting passion and there is no way at all that you won’t be successful.
I just recently ran my 30th marathon while guiding a blind runner for the entire 26.2 miles. After the race I posted some photos on social media and had so many heart felt comments and support from people all over the country.
One comment in particular has really stuck with me.
“I have no idea how you do everything you do.”
My response was simple –
“If you want something bad enough, you’re going to find a way to make it happen!”
Too many people overthink their goals, or even the path to achieving their goals. Start walking, start running, start doing, start thinking, start moving, please just start something!
I believe in you. I know you can do it. I see that you have what it takes. Please start seeing it in yourself and believing that it’s possible.