Becoming a finisher is all about consistency.
Every year at this time of year, I take time to review personal and business goals. Goal setting itself can be a difficult task, especially as we look ahead to this upcoming year. When I look back at my goals, I can often get discouraged or frustrated with the lack of “results” that I see on the goal list. I often notice large sections on the timeline of my goals and sometimes my life, seem missing. I know I engaged in those days and that tasks were accomplished. I often wonder how my days impacted my list of dreams from last year when I was goal setting. It seems like in all of my busy-ness, I might have missed some of the strategic and specific activities that would most help me reach my goals.
Identify the missing action items.
When I take the time to look at my goals, I realize that there are very specific activities that help me attain the goal at hand. These activities often have more to do with consistency than one big action item. Most of the time my goals require new habits, new methods, and new practices in order to achieve that goal. Often, I don’t just have to look at the process, but I have to identify specific habits that I must form in order to achieve it. I recommend finding the key actions that will help achieve the goal, the key disciplines it will take to do it well, then begin to decide how you will integrate those items into your routines.
Goal: Begin writing my book on overcoming fear in 2014.
Key Actions: Read 4 relevant books on overcoming fear; Outline key points of my success; create an outline for the book.
Key Disciplines: Schedule 2 hours per week dedicated to the book: to read, to write, to create.
Discipline Action: Setup recurring appointment every Friday morning from 8-10AM for the book; Block the time every week, and notify staff, I will be unavailable, or don’t go into the office.
Becoming a Finisher
Visualize your new disciplines:
Now that you have taken the time to identify the things you want, and maybe have wanted for years, you can begin the process of integrating your action items. The next piece of that implementation is to start with confidence, as if you did this all the time. The idea is to mentally treat every action as if it wasn’t a change at all. Saying no to the “emergency” on Friday morning is just what you do. We must begin to place a higher priority on the activities that get us to our ultimate goal and if we treat our disciplines like they were always there, it becomes easier to break the old habits, and integrate the new.
Tell someone you respect:
I recommend that you look at the mentors, leaders and respected people in your life as a key tool to get to where you want to go. Simply expressing what you are going to be doing in order to achieve your goal will create an advocate for you. Someone who will root you on and give you the helpful nudge you will need to stay on top of what is really important to you in your life. They can hold you to your discipline through asking simple questions, and checking in on your progress.
I have thought about writing my book now for several years (titles and themes have changed) and I know that the key to my success in finishing my book is to build in the disciplines to take the required actions so that I can move that goal forward. Oddly, it has come up on the goal list for a few years now, and I believe that if I took that off because it isn’t done, or I don’t think I could get it done, or I put it off until when “I am not so busy” I know that the book will stay a dream, and not come to life. Remember that even if you don’t get all the goals checked and all the action items accomplished, and you struggle at the disciplines needed to get it done, that you always have tomorrow. A new day, to start again, and act as if you are disciplined, and you are capable and you are an author.