Sometimes success is more about persistence than passion. I know that because I’ve got big dreams, creative ideas, and a tank full of enthusiasm. But my persistence tends to flatline. I also have the attention span of a toddler in a toystore, so it’s tough to stick to one thing and keep my momentum. Apparently, the problem is pretty common. Because success is no simple feat, and without the right tools, it just doesn’t happen — even for the tenacious goal-setters.
When it comes to giving encouragement, I’m a pro. I always have a Rumi quote ready, or a C.S. Lewis quote to offer: You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. Now doesn’t that make your heart soar like a paper airplane at a teacher’s backside? Yes, I’m great at perking you up. But it’s a whole different story when I’m talking to myself. I don’t try to be hypocritical, to tell you to climb mountains while I sit on my own goals. That damn voice in my head is the problem. But today I need to shut her up because shi*t needs doing, and I can’t get a thing done with her stifling my resolve. So I’ve come to the keyboard– my weapon of choice. Here’s how I’m talking myself out of failure. Here are my 5 steps to setting goals for success.
- Find The Joy
I’m making a commitment to find the joy. Because let’s face it, we can’t be effective if we don’t value what we’re doing. So maybe you’re stuck in some stepping-stone job or a career that’s outside of your comfort zone. I’ve been there. I had to focus on all the positives, and find ways to feed my soul. So whatever you do while you’re on your way to success, find some worthwhile aspect and cultivate the joy in your journey. If you feel you can’t point to anything positive, visualize the outcome. See yourself as having arrived at the place you want to finally be…and then be grateful. If the current situation is just a stepping stone, don’t despise it. Instead, think of all the ways it’s pushing you toward your goal.
- Make the Connection
If you know me well, you know I’m mathematically challenged. I can calculate a sales price on the fly, but I swear that’s a supernatural phenomenon I can’t seem to duplicate in any other scenario. Maybe your goal is to save money or lose X number of pounds. Perhaps you’re a salesperson, and you have performance metrics to meet. Make a connection then. Convert your numbers into actionable steps or things that matter to you. Rather than saying, “How many sales can I close,” I would ask myself, “How may Michael Kors shoes can I earn in a day? Or rather than asking “How many people can I persuade,” I might say, “How many meaningful conversations can I have with my clients today?” And that’s my connection, because shoes matter to me (it’s vain, I know), and so do people. Let your objectives speak in a language that excites you.
- Do My Best
Yes, I know this is a no-brainer. Be all you can be. Put your best foot forward, and fill your cup with cliches like those. But let’s be honest — and I mean the truth, not the reality T.V. version. Take a good look at your efforts and see if you can find something to improve upon. I know I often say I’m doing my best, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, I’m capable of progress. But I won’t go anywhere until I commit to admitting there’s room to climb. No more excuses!
- Avoid Comparisons
Comparison is the thief of joy, said Theodore Roosevelt. Thanks Teddy, right on. When we look around to see what others are doing, we stop operating in our own strength. We lose our focus on our own path. And you know what happens when you take your eyes off the road? You crash. In yoga we find a drishti (focal point) to stay balanced as we practice our postures. Because where your eyes go, your body follows. If you’re looking for inspiration, then it may be okay to look around. But never point the finger at someone else so you can feel good about your own performance. And never let someone else’s success make you feel small. That’s one of those phrases that again, makes me feel hypocritical, because I know how often I violate that principle. Still, I write this for me as much as I write it for you. Comparisons can crush us.
My dear friend texted me this word just the other day. I made it my mantra. When I’ve done all I can do, there’s nothing left but release. It’s the long slow breath after the race, that well-deserved sigh of relief. At the end of a long day, let go. Drop tomorrow’s tasks on some shelf and walk away. If you’ve done everything you could to progress toward your goals, you deserve a dinner with the fam, a little bit of Netflix and some snuggling with your fur baby. It’s so crucial to set the reset button. When I find that I’m mentally harassing myself, I say this one little mantra that brings me back to my moment: