January 30, 2013, 6:08 am

Get Your Things Done 100% of the Time

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Productivity
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I dont know what happened, I just got busy and didnt do it

 

How many times have you heard that one? How many times have you said this to a co-worker, your boss, friends or spouse? If I was to ask you today if you have goals in your life, you will probably answer that you have a dozen. The funny things is that if I give you 12 months before asking the very same question, your answer will probably the same: I have a dozen. If I ask you to list them, chances are that you will pull out the same list that you did a year ago, 2 years ago even 5 years ago. Why? The simple answer is: “because you were too busy”. I know, I feel the same way.

 

Your job is demanding.

You got sick.

You had a rough year.

You have kids (how many things do we put on their backs? Its the best excuse ever!).

You forgot.

You got stuck in your routine.

You were too tired.

Blah blah blah

 

We have as many excuses as we have goals. The point is to get that the most interesting goals, never get achieved because you have the most interesting excuses. And it goes around. Very few people have the ability to create new goals year after year because they achieved the previous ones. Most of the time, I’m part of this group. Today, I’ll tell you how I make it happen. Mind you, I have the same excuse list as you do (the demanding job, kids, fatigue and the routine!).

 

Sniper Shot Your Goals

 

The first thing to do is to drop your goals list. A dozen goals in a year are too much to take care of. Technically, it’s impossible to achieve 1 goal per month. But everybody does the same thing over and over again. In January, people want to eat healthy, go to the gym, run a marathon, travel, have a kid, get a better job, finish school, and on and on and on.

 

I prefer the sniper approach. Each year, I identify a few goals (3 or 4) and focus solely on them. The key to achieving a goal is focus. If you are not 100% working on your goals, how can you achieve them? I never achieve a goal by applying part time effort!

 

You can also aim at goals that will results in several benefits. For example, this year I wanted to lose weight. I went easy on my workouts in 2012 because I have good excuses (a new demanding job, a newborn that doesn’t sleep and fatigue). I got the perfect package to not wake up in the morning and gain 20 pounds.

 

This year, I told myself that I was done with excuses and that I would lose at least 20 pounds. On January 1st, I weighted 196lbs. On December 31st 2013, I want to weight 175 lbs. But focusing on losing weight is the wrong goal. This is a result; a benefit. I have to focus on the ways I can achieve my goals ‘cause getting on the scale each Monday morning won’t do much to my big belly!

 

Instead, I will focus on running. I’ve set a very simple and yet specific goal: I will run 500 miles in 2013. 500 miles is quite easy to do over 52 weeks. That’s only 10 miles per week + 2 weeks of buffer. So technically, if I focus on running 12 miles average per week, I can take my 4 weeks of vacation and not even run a mile while I’m off. On the other hand, if I do 4 runs of 3 miles per week, I’ll definitely lose weight as I’ll be running my 500 miles during the year. 3 miles takes less than 30 minutes to do so there are no excuses that I can’t find half an hour per day to run.

 

The run will easily burn my extra calories and I won’t have to go through shakes or any other draconian diet. Anyways, diets can’t work over the long haul. I would rather enjoy healthy life habits!

 

Make Yourself Accountable

 

Even if my goal of running 500 miles is totally easy to achieve and realistic to lose 20 pounds, I won’t achieve it if I don’t keep track of my results. A good example is that I left for almost 2 weeks for Disney at the beginning of the year. It was impossible for me to run for those 2 weeks. So I almost burned my 2 week buffer before I jumped on my treadmill for the first time of the year!

 

But before I left for that trip, I did something very simple but that will make the whole difference: I told my best friend and wife that I will run 500 miles this year. I’ve made myself accountable for my effort and my results. The second thing I did was to create a spreadsheet on Excel to track my runs. After four weeks, I’ve ran 28 miles on an objective of 40. That totally makes sense since I was off the first two weeks! Here’s what my chart looks like:

 

Week Runs (Miles) Total (week) Total (YTD) Objective

1

5

5

5

10

2

0

0

5

20

3

4.2 + 4.2 +1.6

9

14

30

4

4.2 + 4.2 + 4.2+ 1.6 14.2 28.2

40

 

As you can see, I’ve made an extra effort on the 4th week after getting back from my vacation and took “an easy week” with 9 miles. When I ran last week, I felt that I could easily maintain an average of 14-15 miles per week until I get my 2 week buffer back (‘cause I will have summer vacations!).

 

By telling my wife and my best friend, I make sure that people will ask me how my running experience is going . By tracking my results, I make sure that I ask myself where I’m at each Monday morning ;-). Since I hate to be ashamed of myself, I tend to achieve goals that I share with others.

 

After 4 weeks, I went from 196lbs to 188lbs. So both my running and weight loss goals are on track for 2013. If I continue my plan, I might even end-up at 170lbs!

 

Request Help – Get Into a Group

 

We are all proud of ourselves and we sometimes think that we can do everything alone. Well, I’m part of that group anyways! So I rarely request help and tend to avoid any group thing. I sometimes feel that a group will slow me down and the time required for small talk and “making friends” is dragging me away from my goals.

 

But Im wrong. The most powerful tool to succeed in your goals is to request help and support from a group. You already know that I have specific blogging goals. Each quarter, my partner and I establish our goals, focus on them and report what went well and what went wrong. At the beginning of the month, I was approached to be part of a new Mastermind group for bloggers. I wasn’t too sure about the idea but I thought it wouldn’t hurt too much to try. Worst case scenario, I would tell the group that “I’m too busy with kids” to make it happen and that I have to leave the group (I told you that kids are convenient when you are looking for excuses ;-) hahaha!).

 

It’s been only three weeks but I can tell you that it will be a game changer for 2013. The group is bringing 2 awesome things to me so far:

 

#1 Outside the box ideas to help me pursue my goals

#2 A Constant kick in the butt to make something happen each week

 

Since we meet online weekly, I have no other choice but to set specific goals for the next 7 days and report what I have done during that week. No more excuses, no more lagging, no more to do’s on a shelf for a few days. Things need to get done or else, I will look like a loser on Monday night. Nobody wants to be the loser who didn’t do anything this week!

 

I was also surprised by the support I got from the group. Each week, one member is in the “hot seat” and shares a situation with the group. You explain what you are working on and ask for help to get better. I got my “hot seat” moment and I was stunned by the amount of feedback I received. Even better, now that I got this feedback, I would look kind of foolish if I don’t do anything with it, right? Another point for accountability techniques!

 

3 Easy Steps to Achieve Everything

 

If there is something I want you to remember from this article it is the 3 easy steps to achieve your goals:

 

#1 Focus on a few goals

#2 Make yourself accountable

#3 Get in a group

 

If you follow these 3 rules, I believe you can achieve pretty much anything you want, what do you think?

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Comments

Great advice.
I am planning on focusing on 4 key goals throughout this year. Last year I just felt like I had too many and I wasn’t putting the time and effort required into each one that it deserved.

These are such great points. I love these running goals. Great job on your success so far. This will be an amazing year for you! I am going to have to think about my running goals specifically, maybe set some mileage goals each month.

Thanks for these tips. I always have a lot of goals and ideas, but sometimes lack the sniper approach you mention. This has inspired me to look through my lists and identify 3 – 4 that I’m going to achieve this year with my blog. The fewer the better, but they must be your most meaningful goals. They must be specific and measurable as you also mentioned. Like you, I’m always coming up with good ideas. I think it’s good to not lose sight of them, but they shouldn’t distract your attention either. I like the idea of just keeping an idea list and dumping them there. If I need to set a new goal, I can go to the idea list and find the one that will add the most value to my life or business.

Great stuff TFB!

Mark

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