I'm a goal-oriented person, and I bet you are too! It's a virtue that most of us try to keep top of mind as we strive to make progress in life. Outside of a few very non-motivated people I've encountered in life, I'd say the vast majority of us have dreams and goals we'd like to achieve if at all possible and within the realm of our control.
Let me be clear, some dreams are feasible while others aren't. I may want to be the next Tim Tebow, but I'm a small woman and can't play men's professional football. The kinds of goals I'm referring to are ones like working towards that promotion at work or completing a marathon. These goals require a vision and a plan of action to see them through.
In order to achieve goals, you should have three characteristics:
1. Have a vision: The first step to achieving your goal is to have a vision of the end result in mind before you get started. Is the end, crossing a finish line, getting that job offer, or losing 10 pounds? Whatever your goal may be, have a clear picture in your mind of what success looks like. My mentor, Rhonda Shasteen, told me many times that in meetings, a great clarifying question for the team is, "What will success look like in the end?" That way with a clear picture in mind, the team can work together to achieve a common goal.
2. Be Patient: Once you get going on the journey to your goal, you have to choose to be patient when the results don't come overnight. You may even fall off the wagon a time or two, in which case you should dust yourself off and keep on going without dwelling too much on the lapse in discipline. Know you'll have to wait and set smaller incremental goals along the way that are achievable so you can feel a measure of success along the journey.
3. Focus on One Day at a Time: Finally take one day at a time. Focus on the day at hand and the challenges within it. Focusing on the overarching goal all the time can be overwhelming and discouraging. Wake up each day and decide to focus on today only. Compartmentalize today from yesterday and tomorrow. Only use the future to help you keep things in context and to remind yourself why you are making the decisions you are making. Know what you want your story to be when it's all said and done. When you make decisions to go on today's work out or choose not to eat that dessert. It's a small victory. Those small daily victories over time add up to a great achievement in the end.
As you begin to look at meeting your resolutions for 2012, I'd encourage you to think of your goals in this three-step approach. They should help your resolutions feel more achievable and manageable as you strive towards success. You can!