"Ask Marsha"

Are You Ready For A Breakthrough?

If you are feeling stuck or unfulfilled, it may be time for you to put together a plan that will help you break through the barriers that are holding you back.

I have heard many say that they do not set goals or make resolutions. They give a variety of reasons for not doing so only to have the same wishes on their “to do someday” list year after year.

I believe that the process of setting goals is made far more difficult than it needs to be and that excuses for not making them only satisfy the person who makes the excuses.

Setting goals, in my opinion, not only prepares you for success, but it guides you to the place that you envision as your ultimate destination. It is like looking at a roadmap, deciding where you want to go and then determining the route that you want to take.  It sets you on a path and helps you determine when you are getting off track. It is your choice whether you want to take the direct or the scenic route.   However, the strategy for getting started is the same:

  • Determine where you are now
  • Decide where you want to go
  • Plan for when you want to get there

Make a Plan and Write it Down

Goal Planning Worksheet

Identifying where you want to go and what you want to achieve sounds simple but my experience shows that many people get stuck at this first step.

Think Big. The quote, “start with the end in mind” is appropriate here.

If your vision is limited, your life will be limited to your vision.   Most people only set goals based on what they think they can accomplish rather than what they are really capable of doing.   Thinking big requires dreaming, visualizing, and stepping out of your comfort zone to tap into your true potential.  Think about what you are able to do and what you are willing to do.  Then break big goals down into small actionable steps. Pay attention to your limiting beliefs and negative self –talk which is often a cause of self –sabotage. Fear, frustration and limiting beliefs can keep you from identifying and setting goals that will move you forward.

Do a personal assessment

Conduct a self-audit. Recognize who you want to be and why, rather than what you want to do. Compare the person you are now to the person you will be when you accomplish your goals.  Examine your circumstances.  What do you need to do or to get in order to move forward?  What are the obstacles that have been holding you back?  Be honest. Starting with inaccurate information will lead to inaccurate decisions about what needs to be done and inaccurate timeframes to achieve results.

Create a supportive environment

Identify or create a support network.   Make a list of people and things that can help you move forward.    Those not in harmony with your goals should be removed or kept to a minimum.   Let’s be clear here –  things that take up your time but do not fit in with what you are trying to accomplish should be purged.    Ask yourself if the relationships you have are serving you well.  If not, stop sharing your valuable time and information with naysayers.   Instead, surround yourself with positive people who inspire you and that you can learn from.  Your personal growth will result from the people you hang out with. Look for others who are successfully doing what you want to do. I once heard a quote that says “It’s hard to soar with eagles when you are surrounded by turkeys”.

Make a commitment to yourself

This is where your big goals are divided into small manageable steps that take you closer to your big goal.  I suggest that you write down 1 -3 things that you will do each day/week and refer back to the list in order to stay on track and stay.  Developing due dates helps you to hold yourself accountable, helps you to identify what has taken you off track and encourages you to celebrate accomplishments.  Seeing yourself moving forward will motivate you to continue taking positive steps.

The three obstacles that usually come into play here are Time, Money and Fear.

Time:   How much time can you honestly devote to your goal preparation each day/week?  Whether it is 10 minutes or 10 hours is up to you.  However it is imperative that you decide on the amount of time you will devote and then stick to that amount of time as a minimum.   Sometimes it may be as simple as writing a note or making a call, sometimes it is doing research or writing an article. You make the choice. There are 1,440 minutes in each day.  It is for you to decide how you will wisely spend them.

Money:  Review where you spend money now and what you are willing to give up or spend less on.  This can be as small as making coffee/tea rather than buying it or putting more in savings or your 401K each payday.  Every penny counts and growth does not come without some sacrifice.  Decide what you are willing to sacrifice to get and stay on track.

Fear:  It has been said that more people are afraid of success than of failure.  However, once you get emotionally attached to your goals in a positive way, opportunities being to appear.  Your emotions are the engine behind your thoughts.   A positive attitude leads to positive thinking which leads to positive results.  Rather than be fearful, be humbled by the chance to move forward and experience something new.

 Get started  

There is no better time than now to get started and focus on the things that are important to you. Having goals help you to identify what/when to say Yes or No and they help you be more selective in what and who you give your attention to.   Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it, establish your priorities and then get to work.
Start doing what you need to do today so you won’t have to say “if only” tomorrow.

Click here for a Goal Planning Worksheet to get you started. 

Expand your vision.

Enlarge your dreams.

Elevate your expectations.

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