Now that the fanfare of ringing in 2018 is a distant memory and the winter doldrums have settled in across the country, it is time for an honest gut check about your goals. I have written many times before about the importance of goal setting and using the New Year as a natural catalyst to forge new ones. If you have not created new goals, don’t fret, you have time – actually you have as much time as you want to have….after all, your goals – your direction – your life are Up To YOU.
First a refresher on goals. If you’re not happy – if you’re not content with where you are – if you want something that you don’t have – if you hunger for more – if you thirst to suck the marrow from life – if you want to maximize your time to make the most of it….then setting goals is the first step. Whether you’re on one side of the spectrum of life from “I want to be somewhere else” to “I want to make what little time I have epic” – goals are the way to get you there. And if you’re not into goals, no problem – just don’t complain to anyone when you’re at the end of life saying “I woulda-coulda-shoulda” and realized you spent your adult life helping others achieve their goals (not always a bad thing if their goals are also your goals)….anyhow, you get my drift – goals give your dreams direction and a timeline.
But here’s the real question – What goal is on your list. that when you achieve it, will change your direction in life? In my book Be Unstoppable: the 8 Essential Actions to Succeed at Anything I discuss what I call “milestone” goals – those are goals that when achieved change your direction. Milestone goals can take years, such as the five years it took me to become a Navy SEAL Officer or the 10 years it took me to create Perfect Fitness or the 20 years it took my wife and I to realize our dream of living overseas with our four boys.
Milestone goals can be hard to fathom at first because you have no idea how you’re going to achieve it. It’s like navigating a ship across an ocean and not being able to see your destination because it’s past the horizon – that’s a milestone goal.
Here’s yet another way to think of them. Milestone goals are made up of tens to hundreds perhaps even thousands of “pebble goals”. Think of a milestone goal as a massive boulder and you have but a chisel and hammer to break it apart. The object is to reduce that boulder into bite-size pieces that you can chip away at every day. For example, like writing my new book Build Unstoppable Teams – I’ve written over 120,000 words, and just submitted my third book proposal and have another year to go before the book will be ready. I’m good for about 1500 words a day – on my best day! Do the math – we’re talking years of chipping away at the milestone goal.
So why do it?
Why create a milestone goal – why go through what could be years of work to accomplish it?
Trust me, I’ve asked that question many times to myself when it comes to writing a book, launching a company, even when training for the SEALs.
Here’s my answer:
Time is all we have – and we don’t know how much time we really have. Worse still, the aging process is slowly killing us. After we pass 35-40yrs of age (experts differ), our metabolisms slow; on average we gain 10lbs of fat per decade; we lose muscle mass and cardiovascular capabilities (i.e. lose strength and stamina) – unless we work HARD at it; we become more susceptible to diseases, from heart disease to myriads of cancers and other ailments. Yet, we’re more experienced and smarter, and if we’re focused we can do more things faster because we’ve already learned how not to do those things earlier in life. Still, the proverbial piano could fall from the sky at any given moment. Oh, and one more thing, to the best of our knowledge, the Egyptian afterlife concept of bringing material possessions with us does not work.
As far as we know, this is our shot at life.
I ask you then: What are you waiting for?
Time is NOT on our side. Don’t let this year pass you by. Make 2018 your best year yet. Plan an outrageous goal – make it a milestone goal that will change your course in life. The mere act of taking your hammer and chisel to something you’ve always dreamed about accomplishing will set you free.
I promise you, if you take that first step past your normal routine toward a dream you now dare to try to accomplish, you will find yourself invigorated. There’s a sense of freedom that comes with going above and beyond what you normally do…However, to take that first step requires courage and the next million or so steps will require persistence. But when you do accomplish that dream, something else electrifying occurs: you dream bigger and you try even harder….and when this happens, your life will never be the same because you will have discovered the truth: our lives are up to us.
I leave you with my all-time favorite quotation as you ponder what goal you’ll go after this year that will change your course in life. Just remember, it’s relatively easy to make a goal – like the ones on New Year’s Eve with your friends boasting about what they are going to do this year – the real test comes when it’s cold, dark and you’re doubting yourself. When you get there – and you will if your goal is a milestone one – that’s when I want you to remember to read the quotation below:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; un-rewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” (Calvin Coolidge)
What are you waiting for?
Press on to Be Unstoppable at making 2018 your best yet!
This post was originally published on LinkedIn.