Goals are tricky things. We care about them deeply, hang our ego and our heart on their thorny branches and then hide them away where no one will see, just in case we don’t succeed. Which is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.
Because if you say your goals aloud to another person, it dramatically increases the likelihood that you will succeed.
That’s what I’ve heard. And it makes sense. I want to meet my personal goals, I really do. But so often I don't get to the big things that matter most to me because I'm busy getting the daily things done, even though they matter less. I once read: imagine you have a pile of sand, a pile of pebbles, a handful of stones, a half-dozen large rocks, and a glass jar just large enough for all six rocks. If you put the sand in first, then the pebbles, then the stones, then finally the rocks, there won’t be room for all the rocks. But if you put the rocks in first, wedging the stones around them, then drop the pebbles in the cracks, and finally drizzle the sand in to fill all the tiny spaces—you’ll get everything in the jar. That’s the secret: first take care of the big things—the goals you really care about—then, in descending order, the less important things.. For me, that means writing and people go in first, cooking and housework last. Of course, everyone’s order will be different, because everyone’s priorities are different.
Even knowing this, I often spend my days on sand and pebbles, and only get to the big things when “everything else” is done. That’s why the above statement makes sense. If I tell someone my goal, and if I tell a whole lot of people, I’m darn well going to start with that every morning. I’m going to bust my butt to make it happen. Because if I don’t, everyone’s going to see me end up with a jar of sand and pebbles and know I didn't get the rocks in. We don’t like to fail in our goals, but we really, REALLY don’t like to have people know we did.
It's risky, telling people. But if you shoot for the moon, at the very least, you’ll land among the stars.
So I ask you all to join me in a kind of scary, kind of exciting challenge. Tell me your goal, and I’ll tell you mine. Let's shoot for the moon together.
Here’s the challenge: Tell me the goal (or goals) you’ll achieve by Christmas. Yep, December 25, 2012. Four months. Lots of time.
But wait, that IS a long way off. How do I know I’ll keep focused? How do I know if I’m on track, moving forward? Because we’re going to break it down into steps. Every Monday, I will “weigh in”. I’ll tell you what my specific actions will be for the coming week, and whether I met last week’s actions. And I want you to do the same. Every week, comment on what you accomplished in the past week and what you intend to accomplish in the coming week. Let our group will-power help you achieve your goals..
It doesn’t matter if your goal is to finally sort out all the junk and boxes in your basement by Christmas, or to learn 16 new recipes by Christmas, or to write a novel by Christmas, or learn a new skill, or make four new friends or find your soul-mate and get married. Whatever your goal is, go for it—and we’ll all cheer each other on!
So here's my goal: to have a manuscript accepted (by an agent or a publisher) or self-published, by Christmas. And my first week's step is: by Monday, Sept. 10, I will finish editing my memoir and the proposal that goes with it.
There, committed. I'll let you know on Monday, and set my next week’s step then.
What's your goal by Christmas? And what's your first week’s step toward it?