THE BLOG

How to Turn a Life Changing Goal into a Reality in Three Easy Steps

11/11/2015 09:07 GMT | Updated 10/11/2016 10:12 GMT

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Are you someone with a massive goal?

Ambitious for yourself but not sure where to start?

Something on the bucket list that you really need to get moving?

I can help.

Perhaps you have a massive goal that you have failed to even start. You wonder why - if you are a motivated, hardworking, capable person, why would you not get started on this goal?

Answer - Because the goal is so big that it scares you off even starting.

The good news is, there is a way round this. A method that makes all things possible, no matter what their scale and I am going to share it with you in this blog.

Think of someone who has really inspired you with what they have achieved. Someone who has taken massive action and won, grown, learned, overcome challenges or mastered a skill. How do you think that goal was accomplished?

Did they wake up one day and achieve it all in 24 hours? Of course not.

They broke it down into measurable and manageable aspects. They took action every day toward it. Sometimes they stumbled, sometimes they were off course. Sometimes they ended up somewhere they didn't expect. But they got there. Why? Because they knew what they were heading for, they knew their 'why' and they had a plan.

Strangely, the skill set to identify, plan for and achieve massive goals is missing from mainstream education. Luckily it is something that can be quickly learned and my methods make it fun and easy too.

Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people, from all sorts of backgrounds, achieve a massive goal. They have changed careers, moved continents, set up charities and businesses, and climbed mountains, all using the Your Life Plan method.

So let me give you the low down on how to make a start on your massive goal.

Start with Why

Before you begin something substantial, it is important for you to be able to answer the 'what's in it for me?' question. See, the part of ourselves that gets revved up to help us train for the marathon, lose the weight, jump ship for a new freelance career, start a family, move continents... that motivating part of us is very young. And pretty simple. It needs to understand what the benefit will be of the awkward, challenging, boring, stressful processes involved in getting where you want to go. Why do your piano scales? Why say no to cake? Why get up at 5am to fit in your run? There needs to be a higher purpose, a longer-term benefit that feeds the youngest part of you.

Take a look at your nearest kid. Ask them what motivates or excites them, what they like. Chances are you will hear fun, play, friends, and sweet things, fame! How can you provide the young inner you with the motivation to keep going?

PS: If you can't find the why, chances are it is not your goal. You borrowed it. Or inherited it from the family. Or you've outgrown it.

Decide what success actually looks and feels like

I have a very ambitious Russian dad. As a first generation immigrant parent, he sacrificed a huge amount to give my brother and I the best start he could. It's pretty tough to please my dad and sometimes, as a teen, I wondered when I would ever have done 'enough' to impress him and return the favours he gave to me. Though this pursuit of 'enough' has been useful for getting me motivated and making me an active and accountable person, it has been exhausting at times.

Imagine my astonishment then, when recently, my father told me that he was proud. That he thought I had done some things recently, like publishing my book that made me a success in his eyes. I was gobsmacked. This now leaves me with the pleasant task of deciding what success looks like to me. This may include a few pina coladas and a large pile of novels... but I digress.

The point is, that in order to know whether you have been successful with a goal, you need to set your own 'inner dad' criteria. You need to know how you will feel when you get there, what the quantifiable measure will be for success. Some goals are easy - "I want to run a marathon in under 6 hours", but others may be more challenging. To help you define success, I offer you the question

"What experience are you looking for?"

What is the felt sensation, the feeling you are seeking from your goal? Success? Stability? Accomplishment? Adventure? If you know what that is, then you can start rating your progress on this immediately and, at each stage, be able to ask - what can I do to increase the experience I want to have?

Break it down

The key reason why my clients do not get started on their big hairy goals is that they are, quite simply, too big and too hairy. If you only focus on the largeness of the goal, you will never get started because you will scare yourself off. How do I even begin? What's the first thing to do! This will take me forever etc.

However, this is where Your Life Plan can come to the rescue! Because you do not need to do the whole thing by tomorrow afternoon. You need only to do the next thing, the next bit and take the next step.

Of course it is important to know where you are going. To know what you want to accomplish. This gives focus and direction. I call this the Birds Eye View.

But it is also important to know what the next step is. The first piece of the puzzle. This is the next small task that takes you toward your goal. It could be a phone call. A bit of research. A CV redraft. Getting your shorts on. Right now, what is the one thing that you could do that takes you toward your goal?

I find it helpful to write out a big goal and then work backward from that goal, assuming it has been achieved. So if I want to host a huge firework party, the thing that happened before the fireworks went off was that I lit them. Before that, maybe I served the sausages, before that I welcomed the guests.

Goal: Hold amazing fireworks display in my back garden

The moment before: I lit the touch paper

The hour before: I served the food and drinks

Two hours before: I welcomed the guests

The night before: Couldn't sleep for excitement!

A day before: We set up the bonfire

You get the idea.

You work backward until you get to this moment, right now and identify the actions that lead to the party ....

Two weeks before: I planned the menu and bought fireworks

Three weeks before: I invited the guests

Four weeks before (as in, today): I decided on a date and whom I wanted to invite.

Starting at the end and working backwards allows your mind to get creative and inspired about the journey to your huge goal, it ignites the imagination and inspiration needed to get you started. And it helps you to notice that every small thing you do today will contribute to the result. Scales are the first step to a Concerto. A walk round the park is the first step to a marathon. A phone call to a mentor is the first step in a business.

So to recap, be clear about why this goal matters to you and make sure it is your goal, identify what success is going to look like in outcome terms that you can measure and track and work backwards to identify the nuggets of activity that will produce your gold bar over time!

If you would like to know more about how to get started on a life changing goal, you will find all the practical strategies your need in Your Life Plan: how to set yourself on the right path and take charge of your life you can read it here.

You can also to benefit from my free webinars and videos on life planning, career choices and designing work that works for you, all of which get listed here.