How do you eat a big cake? The answer is simple, One Bite at a Time!
The most simple way to achieve any big goal or target is to start with a step towards it, a step at a time. The very first prerequisite for this to happen is that you must have goals. To understand this, let’s bring out some astonishing facts.
Fact 1: According to a Harvard study, only 3% people have clear and written goals, 13 % have goals but not in writing. And most of the remaining people work for the goals of the 3% people. It was found that 3% of people who had written goals, earned, on average, 10 times as much as the remaining 97% all together. All successful millionaires and billionaires have written goals.
Fact 2: Most people talk about problems, who is to blame and what they don’t want, most of the time.
Fact 3: All goals are attainable. There is a natural cybernetic mechanism inside our mind which helps us achieve goals. Nature doesn’t discriminate goals based on their size. If you set large goals, you’ll achieve it.
So, then why is it that most people do not have clear, measurable & written goals?
Reason 1: Writing down goals is not important, even if you have one. Look around to ask people who have written goals!
Reason 2: Not aware on how to write my goals. Have you ever received even an hour of instruction to write goals?
Reason 3: Fear of failure. Have you ever thought of a big goal and then thought it is unachievable?
Reason 4: Social pressure and rejection. Have you ever thought that will my friends or family criticize or ridicule for my failure?
“You become what you think about — most of the time.” – Brian Tracy
Things won’t get better by themselves. If we want a change, we need to have clear written goals. Clarity serves a critical purpose in goal-setting and has a direct relation to goal attainability. Not having clear goals is similar to a living in city with no road signs.
Now, how do you write your goals and set to achieve them?
Time is going to pass anyway. Whether you set your goals or not, whether you achieve them or not, whether you perform this exercise or not! Therefore, I recommend you to go through this exercise for a simple goal to test the waters.
Step 1: Define your goal clearly and write it down
Imagine you have no limitations and you have all the money and time in the world, all the education and experience. What would you do?
Make your goal measurable and specific.
Write you goal in a simple present, as if you already do it.
For instance, we may take a simple goal to double your earnings “I earn Rs. 50,000 a month“. It is in present, specific and measurable.
Step 2: Assign a deadline to it
Just add a “by” sentence to your goal statement such as “I earn Rs. 50,000 a month by April 2018”
If you goal is big and long term, set sub-deadlines. In the above example, you may set quarterly deadlines.
Step 3: List down obstacles and risks
Write down all the things that will make it difficult for you to achieve your goal. These things may be lack of time, money, etc. It is said that 80% of the constraints lie within you and only 20% are outside of you.
Step 4: List the knowledge and skills
Write down all the knowledge and skills required to achieve your goal. These may be certifications, degrees, etc required for you in order to achieve your goal.
Step 5: List down the people
Write down all the people with name or roles who you think will play a key part for your goal attainment. This will help you maintain a useful network and a clarity of what you need from them.
Step 6: Break it down to tasks
Try to answer the question by putting a ‘how’ on your goal. For example, ask yourself, “How will I earn Rs. 50,000 a month by April 2018“. Attempt to write at least 20 answers to this question. The more answers you write, the more you stretch your mind and the more probability of you achieving it. Write every single task required to achieve this goal.
Step 7: Give the tasks a date
Now, against all the tasks listed down in step 6, write a date in front of it, keeping in mind the sequence of events and your final goal attainment date. If you are unable to allocate a date, at least write a month.
Step 8: Plan ahead
Plan the night before, what you need to do tomorrow to achieve this goal. Plan for a week and month ahead of time. For example, review tasks to be completed for next week every Friday or Monday. On last day of the month, write down the tasks to be done in the coming month.
Step 9: Just do it!
The most important thing is the action you take to achieve your tasks on order to achieve the bigger goal. Do not stress out planning too hard, keep it simple and you will be astonished to see the results.
“A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step” – Conficius
Remember that the act of breaking down your goal into tasks with deadlines and writing it out, almost makes it certain for you to achieve the goal. Do not discuss about your goal with anyone initially to overcome the reasons listed above.
You can definitely eat the whole cake, but one bite at a time.
“Happiness is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal, or goal” – Earl Nightingale
Take a note that not all people who are reading this article will be able to perform this activity. The ones who do, will feel the difference. Please share your thoughts if you have tried it, the difficulties you face or anything else on your mind!
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P.S.: This article was originally published here, on LinkedIn Pulse.