Starting to run? Don’t just set goals, achieve them
If anybody knows how to achieve their goals, it’s a man who rowed across the Atlantic and attempted the North West Passage in the Canadian Arctic
Paul Gleeson: main, rowing into Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Passage and, above, arriving home after rowing the Atlantic. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Setting and achieving goals are two very different activities and the difference between the two can often come down to small details and understanding your authentic motivation to achieve your goals. So, with that in mind, here’s a few points to consider as you ponder your hopes and dreams for 2014.
Be clear on your authentic “why?”
Ask yourself why you want to accomplish the goals you are considering. Understanding motivation is a powerful but under-rated tool when it comes to achieving goals. It might take some time but this can be an absolute game changer.
I know from experience that genuine authentic motivation can be absolute rocket fuel for the goals you want to achieve. Personal motivation was the main reason I managed to row across the Atlantic Ocean a few years ago.
Free up space
If your new goal will require five hours a week of your time but you don’t currently have this time to spare, then you should take something off your plate before embarking on your new quest.
Don’t be mad
Albert Einstein defined madness as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. If you find yourself setting a goal you previously set multiple times before but have never achieved, ask yourself is it something you really want. If it is, then take some time to consider what has got in the way of achieving it in the past and how you can overcome this. Perhaps a fresh approach is needed.
See and feel it
Having the ability to visualise your goal and what it will feel like to achieve is very powerful. There are a variety of techniques that can be employed here but simply put, if your goal is meaningful, then you should be able to see yourself achieving it and you should also have some emotion around what it will feel like when you accomplish this.
Prepare for challenges
The likelihood is you will encounter some challenges and setbacks along the way. Take the time to consider these in advance and how you can deal with them. For example, a client of mine recently decided that she wanted to make time in her life to regain her health and fitness.
We focused on equipping her with some techniques that would not only support her getting started but, more importantly, would also enable her maintain her new activity when challenges arose from other sources, particularly her work.
Activity is key
Be very clear on what activity is required to achieve your goal. If a business owner says they want to grow their profits by 20 per cent in the next 12 months, they need to be very clear on what specific activities are required on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to make this happen. The more clarity you have here, the easier it will be to manage your time, eliminate distractions and ultimately achieve your goal.
If you require certain resources to help you achieve your goal, identify these up front and make sure you have them in place.
Habits and rituals
If you can make your required activity a habit and incorporate it into your daily and weekly routine, then you will stack the odds enormously in your favour. By making it part of your routine, you will also, over time, remove the need for discipline and will power. If your activity requires monumental amounts of will power and discipline, this will be very difficult to sustain. So if needs be, start small and build on this.
Tell friends and family about your goal. When you put your goals and dreams out there, the world does conspire to help you achieve them. This might sound a tad “fluffy” but I know from experience it works. Telling others about your goals may require some courage but it might also add a little pressure and accountability which can be very helpful and very healthy when it comes to achieving goals.
Fear of failure
There is nothing wrong with being afraid of failure, but don’t allow it to stop you from pursuing your goal(s). During the summer, along with three team mates, I attempted to row through the North West Passage in the Canadian Arctic. Despite our best efforts, we didn’t make it across the whole way.Ultimately Mother Nature was just too powerful and she didn’t allow us to pass on this occasion.
The reality of life is that we won’t always get the outcomes we set out for. In this instance, I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life, despite the final destination.
Being clear on your authentic motivation, understanding how you work and being courageous will go a long way towards achieving your goals and, in the process, making 2014 an incredible year. Good luck.