As I had shared in a prior post, setting goals can be tricky because it is very easy to get stuck in the extremes – either setting goals that are so easy to achieve that they don’t move us very far forward along our path, or ones that are so difficult that they discourage us from even getting started.
This does not mean that you should not feel free to set outrageous, impossible dream types of goals for yourself if you wish to do so. You just need better strategies in order to accomplish them.
STRATEGY #1 – Create a Ladder of Goals
What do I mean by a ladder of goals? Simply put, it’s a series of smaller, more doable goals that move steadily in the direction of the ultimate goal.
The old riddle asks, How to you eat an elephant? The answer: One bite at a time.
So take your elephant sized goal and divide it into small bites, each of which stretches you just enough to provide the right sized challenge you need to move yourself forward, without dumping you into procrastination mode.
STRATEGY #2 – Appreciate What You Accomplish Each Step of the Way
Too often we fail to give ourselves adequate credit for our progress forward.
Even more importantly, we do not acknowledge efforts that do not turn out as we had hoped. Instead, we judge ourselves harshly, and thus fail to discover the gift hidden in every so-called failure along the way.
It is far better to celebrate every step along the path, and thus give ourselves the incentive and encouragement to climb the next rung of the ladder.
STRATEGY #3 – Cultivate Patience
Since we live in what a good friend of mine calls Instant America, this may be the hardest thing of all for us to do.
Yet every major accomplishment requires a long period of gestation and work.
Think about how top level athletes in your favorite sports perform at the Olympics..
As awesome as the performances of the athletes are; far more awesome are the years of coaching, hard work, and practice that enable them to reach the pinnacle of their particular sport.
So if you have an Olympic sized goal in mind and truly wish to achieve it, you will be much more likely to attain it if you view it with the perspective and dedication of those who go for the gold.
As the famously successful football coach, Vince Lombardi, said: We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.
Great article! Biggest take-away: evaluate what doesn’t work out; likely to implement first: Does that elephant come with a side of fries?
Dear Bernadette, Of course the elephant comes with a side of fries; but, given that it’s an elephant, they are sweet potato fries. LOL!
Your “ladder of goals” is very important in designing learning programs. It’s hard for most people to identify the one, over-riding, specific goal and outcome for a program — just as it’s hard to niche down our description of our ideal customer. In designing learning programs, most need 5-7 sub-goals (your ladder) that in sequence add up to the final one. You have to accomplish each one before moving a step up, and none can ever be left out. Most people creating those ladder steps get to the end and have a better, more specific version of the generic goal they started with. Generic for everyone is not right for anyone. Good article!
Dear Roy, Thanks for expounding further on my idea. I appreciate it and your positive comment as well.