Seven steps to realise any goal
Think of anyone who inspires you who walks the walk, rather than talks the talk
‘Made it ma, top of the world’
August would have been the 77th birthday of my wife’s father, Oliver. Eight of us set out to climb Slieve Donard, an old favourite of his. Ranging from a teenager to a 50-something cancer survivor, this was a tough walk for some, an epic challenge for others. It proved an emotional experience for all.
We’ve spoken about commitment to goals. Start with a big picture view, then prioritise, that explicit trade-off that involves saying no to some things so that you can say yes to what matters. Finally, commitment, making that promise that says “this is too important to me not to act”.
That’s the easy part.
We now must activate our intention! Move from “caring about” to “taking care of”.
It starts with a goal – vague, out there, in the future – and ends with an active project. This is happening right now. The car has started. We better get our hands on the wheel. No longer passengers making excuses, we’re driving now. “Someday” or “I’ve always wanted to” becomes “I’m doing this. I’m writing a book” (I am). “I’m running a business. I’m getting fitter.”
This change in language from possible to “actually happening” (eek!!) is just one small part of activation. It’s not as simple as saying it. That’s what we do every January.
We all know, deep down, the difference between goals and accomplishments. Repeated action. Want to know what your future looks like? Look at what you’re doing today. It’s that simple.
Decide the next action. Do it. Repeat. Then nothing can prevent you achieving what you truly commit to. Nobody is a mountaineer before they climb a mountain. They become one by taking the first step, then the next one and repeating until no more steps remain.
You actually have to get off your backside. When you do, watch what happens.
The universe will only conspire with a conspirer.
Donard got me thinking. What brings us to the mountain? And what gets us to the top?
Think of anyone who inspires you, who walks the walk, rather than talking the talk. Consider adventurers, the ones on a mission, the ones doing it. As Roosevelt said, “credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena”. Here is how to enter.
I love a good acronym. It helps me remember stuff. How do you REALISE your goals, and ultimately your purpose? Here are seven steps to realise any goal.
Explorers have a reason, an inner purpose, driving them forward. You have it too. If you’re committed to a goal, there is always a reason. State how you feel as if you’ve already achieved it, and include emotion.
I feel proud, energetic, healthy and strong because I am exercising three times a week and never miss more than two days in a row.
On Donard, there was a purpose and an overwhelming emotional connection. We could sense, and got energy from, how “proud we will feel by honouring Oliver’s life”.
Reason, or purpose, gives you the motivation to sustain action through inevitable struggle.
(We also met a guy for whom Donard was his second mountain that day. I know! I asked him was everything okay at home.)
Explorers have an end in mind, a destination.
How do we know which way to go if we don’t define the destination? Define exactly what “done” is. Be specific, realistic and put a time on it. Be very clear about what, who, how much and by when.
Explorers anticipate the journey. They bring the right gear, physically and mentally
On Donard, seeing the end motivated and directed us.
Beware the false peaks. If you defined the end you know when you get there. The end gives you a way to navigate, to decide what’s next and move forward.
Explorers anticipate the journey. They bring the right gear, physically and mentally.
You know you will struggle. Consider the biggest challenge. How will I do it? What excuses will I make? Now remove them. Decide how you will respond when the time comes.
On Donard, we planned it, roughly. We brought the right gear. We removed the excuses.
Anticipation pre-programmes your brain’s response. When the inevitable challenge comes you don’t waste energy deciding what to do. It’s automatic.
The value of a plan is in the planning.
Let people know
Explorers let people know.
Tell people what you’re doing and now you’d better do it. You will also get help from the most unexpected places.
When I first thought of climbing Donard, I suggested it to one person. Two hours later, the trip was booked for 18 adults and children.
It’s not others. Let yourself know too, every day.
Explorers start. They set the first landmark. They reach it.
You just take the first step. One promise kept builds unstoppable momentum.
You cannot steer a parked car.
On Donard, the first portion is easy. We chat with one another. By halfway, there’s no point turning back. We start talking to ourselves.
This is called affirmation. Thoughts lead to feelings leading to actions, which reinforce self-belief.
Explorers accept struggle. When struggle comes, it’s time to shuffle. The only thing to do is decide the next action, DNA. Do it. Repeat.
Make this part of your DNA. Because reason will provide motivation and get you to the base. DNA will get you to the top.
So may the wind confirm your strength. May the pelting hail peel the layers that reveal your true character. There is no failure without stopping.
Finally, we reached the top, all eight of us. The energy was palpable, enhanced from the shared experience.
On mountainsides you often find GRIT. And within yourself.
- Gratitude that you’re on a mountain.
- Relentlessness in your shuffle.
- Intention, the constant reminder of why you’re doing this.
- Finally, trust, that all will be okay. Because you’re moving forward, with gratitude, relentlessly and with intent. To the summit of your Donard.
- James Parnell is founder and CEO of The WellBeing Gym. TheWellbeingGym.com