So now that you know where you want to go (see yesterday's post), you need a map to get there. You need a road map for your goal. Not only do you need a map, but you need to be prepared for the journey. Let's say you were about to go on a road trip. You wouldn't just hop in the car and say, "Let's go!" (Okay, some people might, but me, the over-planner, would definitely not do this.) Most likely, you would have a map or a GPS. You'd have some snacks and maybe some great CDs or songs uploaded on your iPod for the ride. You would plan. You would be prepared.
The same goes for achieving whatever goal you have in mind. Once you've decided where you want to go, you lay out your path and then you head down the road. I've laid out five steps for you to help you (and me!) lay down that path and get that much closer to achieving your goal. After each step, as added encouragement for myself, I'm going to discuss what I'm going to do to work toward my goal. Maybe my examples will help you too.
5 Steps for Getting There
- Draw your map. First and foremost, you have to figure out the path. You have to figure out what the steps are that you need to take and you need be proactive. There is no way you will get anywhere if you don't do anything (unless you are incredibly lucky and opportunity just up and knocks on your door one day). So make a list of things you can do right now that will move you closer to your goal. Map out your plan.
- Look for roadblocks. Think about the direction you are trying to go in and anticipate what could go wrong. Knowing what challenges you might face will help you prepare for them and/or avoid them. Most people deal with challenges when they face them, but there are quite a few roadblocks you can anticipate and prepare for, making your life and the achievement of your goal that much easier.
Plan your route. What direction are you going to head in? The other day I read a great quote: "It doesn't matter how fast you go if you're going in the wrong direction." You know where you want to go, so make sure your route is going in that direction. See if you're taking the most direct way. Sometimes that's not the best way, but if you're going a round-about route, think about why. Ask yourself, "Is there a better way to get there?"
Check your oil. A few years ago, I moved to California and I decided to drive out there rather than have my car shipped. This is a long drive from DC and I certainly didn't get on the road without having my oil and engine checked. Before you begin your journey, check yourself. Check your mental state. Check the tools you're using. Is everything in working order? If not, get it (or you) fixed before you start down the road.
Gather your supplies. For a long road trip snacks, RedBull, and some great music are must-haves for me. Think about the journey you're about to begin. What will you need for your trip? Gather your supplies so you can be prepared. And, no, this does not mean going out and buying things you don't need. For example, if your goal is to workout more often, you do not need to go out and buy new and expensive workout clothes. Your old T-shirts and shorts are just fine. (I include this because I've often been overzealous about new "projects" and gone out and spent a lot of money on things I didn't need only to later never reach my goal. You only need YOU to reach the goal. Not things.)
Now that I've shared my wonderful words of wisdom of how to get started on the journey toward your goal, I'm going list how I plan to follow these five steps. Hopefully this will help you see how you can lay out a plan for your goal, no matter how different your goal may be from mine.
My goal is to write (another) novel. I have an idea in mind and I'm really excited about it and I think a lot of people would really like and relate to it. The problem is...this isn't the first time I've had a somewhat brilliant stroke of genius and I want this time to be different. I want to really follow through with this one. So here's how I'm going to follow the five steps I've listed above:
- First, I'm going to draw my map. I'm going to lay out a plan, which goes something like this: Outline. Write. Edit. Submit to publishers. Okay, good. I've got a plan!
Okay, a lot of things could be potential roadblocks (like not getting it published, which would be a huge one), but I'm going to focus on the biggest roadblock of all: ME. It's up to me to get the darn thing written. Certainly no one can publish it if it doesn't exist. This means I have to make time for it. I have to make it a priority and I have to get to work on it. I can't just keep thinking of ideas but not doing anything. I realize that I am the biggest roadblock in my path to success and I have to change that.
The best way to get where I want to be going is to get started. Today is going to be the day. My route begins with creating an outline and I am going to start that today. Unlike a lot of projects I take on, I'm going to take my time, creating a detailed outline (not just some scribbles on a page) before I get to work on the writing (aka, fun) part.
Alright, time for a check up. Am I ready for this? Yes. Am I healthy enough and strong enough for it? I'm still struggling with some aspects, but I think I'm in a pretty good place now, a place where I can really begin and have hope that I will be able to complete this journey.
What tools do I need? Mostly my brain (which seems to be functioning alright) and a computer (have three of those!) so I think I'm on the right path. I also make sure that I keep a pad and pen with me at all times in case inspiration strikes.
So, now that I've laid out my plan and created my road map for where I want to be going, it's your turn. Where do you want to go? How are you going to get there? Give it some thought. Thinking about things this way can be time-consuming and, at times, irritating. You may say to yourself, "Why I do need to write up a plan? I know what I want and I'm working toward getting there." Yes, it might seem like a waste of time, but it's not. Knowing where you want to go is one thing, but having a plan laid out can be really helpful when you get stuck or feel unmotivated. If you want to be happy, you have to know what you want and where you want to go. The journey is sometimes the greatest part, and it helps to have any idea of what direction you're headed in as well as how you can be prepared for your travels.