“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus”
– Mark Twain
What’s the one thing that you can do to dramatically improve your chances of successfully achieving your goals? Focus on just one goal at a time. If you’re anything like me, then you’ll be asking “How can I possibly pick just one goal? They’re all important!”. Because, in order to be successful with our goals, we need to focus. Hopefully, you’ve already clarified your top values and have clear written goals. Just those things alone, will put you ahead of the majority of people out there who never set goals, let alone write them down.
Sure, you can have 5 or 10 big goals and try to make progress on all of them at the same time. But the chances are that you’ll struggle and won’t be able to give each goal the time and energy that it deserves. I made that mistake for years and then ended up getting frustrated because I wasn’t making the progress that I wanted. Then finally, I gave up my mission to ‘do it all’ and picked just one goal to focus on. It felt uncomfortable at first. But eventually that’s when I started to see breakthroughs in my life.
Focusing on one big goal doesn’t mean that you ignore all your other goals. It just means that you make a decision on what your most important goal is and where you are going to spend the bulk of your available time and energy. For example, if my #1 goal was to launch a new business, I would want to focus most of my energy on that. But that doesn’t mean that I would ignore my #2 goal of improving my health and do no exercise at all. It’s just a question of what’s most important to you at this moment and where do you want or need to make a breakthrough in your life first?
How To Identify Your Most Important Goal
So how do you identify your most important goal? Well, some of you may already know the answer to that. It may be glaringly obvious to you. It’s the one that you think about all the time. It’s the one that you have the most hunger for. It’s the first one that comes to mind when you think about creating a better life for yourself. And if you’re not sure, then ask yourself – which one of your goals would have the most positive impact in your life and is clearly aligned with your values? It might be hard to pick just one goal, but trust your inner self and make that decision.
1. Write Down a DUMB Vision or Ideal Outcome
On a blank sheet of paper, write down the vision statement for your single most important goal. What’s the ideal outcome for this goal (even if that might take months or years to realize)? Does that statement excite you? If not, then this might be a good time to rewrite that vision statement so that you get really pumped every time you read and visualize that statement as if it were already a reality. Make your vision statement as DUMB (dreaming, uplifting, motivating and bold) as possible.
2. Write Down a SMART Goal
Next write down what you want to accomplish with that goal in the next 12 months. Can you realize that vision in 12 months? If not, the what could you achieve in the next 12 months? What’s the specific goal that you want to set for yourself? Try to make that goal as SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time bound) as you can.
3. Find Your “Strong Enough Why”
Then make a list of all the reasons why you absolutely must accomplish that goal. As Tony Robbins says, you need a “strong enough why” if you want to succeed at anything. So spend 5 minutes brainstorming a list of all the reasons why you MUST achieve this goal. Think about how much better your life will be if you accomplish this goal and think about what your life will be like if you don’t. Put as much emotion as possible into this process and you will also find your “strong enough why”.
4. Commit to 3 Next Actions Today
Now identify 3 next actions that you can take immediately or very soon that will help you move towards this goal. I’d make these actions relatively easy e.g. send an email, buy something, make a list etc. The purpose of these actions is to start building some momentum towards your goal. So come up with actions that you can easily commit to. And then complete those actions as soon as possible.
5. Choose a Simple Daily Habit
And finally, identify one simple habit that you will commit to on a daily basis to make progress towards your goal. This needs to be something really simple that you can do for less than 5 minutes every day, and easy enough that you WILL do it every day e.g. read for 5 minutes, run for 5 minutes etc. Make it so easy that you just can’t fail. Building that daily habit will fuel success and before you know it, those 5 minutes could turn into something even more significant that also becomes a daily habit without you even having having to make that much of an effort.
So now you have a simple one-page roadmap for your most important goal. The key is to complete those 3 next actions as soon as you can and start following through on your daily 5 minute habit every day. These simple steps alone will help to make significant progress towards your most important goal.
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