How to achieve your goals

Do you know how to achieve your goals?

Not many of us do. We tend to forget our goals rather quickly. Day-to-day problems and trivia steal our attention.

We update Instagram but we don’t have time to go for a run.

You are left feeling that you have failed: failed to set the right goals, failed to achieve the goals you DID set, and even that you’ve failed to achieve anything at all.

In truth, you have probably covered more ground than you realise.

People tell you to be passionate about your goals. You have to hold a clear vision of your goal in your mind’s eye, they say. Keep it there as a shining beacon to guide you.

But that often doesn’t work, so here’s a different idea:

Try working towards your goals the same way you drive to the airport

Think back to the last time you had to catch an early morning flight.

You know where you want to go (the airport), by what time (in time to check in), and why (to go on holiday).

You also know what the threshold is to make you abandon that goal (a family crisis).

Do you feel passionate about the airport? Probably not. Do you hold a vision of the terminal (or even of your holiday) in your mind as you drive? I doubt it.

Do you rehearse every step of the journey before you start? Of course not.

You simply know where you are going and why.

You make the practical preparations necessary for the journey before you set out (you check your passport, pack your bags, put fuel in the car).

You decide when to begin your journey. Then, without dithering too much, you set out into the early morning darkness, more or less on autopilot for the first familiar miles.

Then, when the route gets less familiar, you drive to the next big junction, and then the next, just following the road carefully in between.

Sometimes, on the dark country lanes, with only the light of your headlamps, you don’t really know where you are. You can only see as far as the next corner.

You drive to that corner, round it carefully, then drive to the next one, and so on, until you reach your destination.

Eventually you reach more open roads, with good lighting and clear signposts that take you to your destination.

It’s just the same with achieving your goals

Choose a large or small goal that is specific (a subject for another day) and understand why you want to get there.

Prepare carefully, without dithering.

Then start. Do not delay. Make a steady start, and head for the first junction, the first natural milestone.

Sometimes you will feel like you don’t have a clue where you are. You will only be able to see as far ahead as the end of the week, or the completion of a task.

Just like, when you are driving on a country lane in the dark, you can only see as far as the next corner.

That’s okay. Just get to the next corner. Then, without stopping, carefully round the corner and head for the next one. The way will eventually become clearer. You will find yourself on the wide and well-lit open road.

If you get lost, stop and think. Plan about how you can get yourself back on track. If you put enough fuel in the car, and left early enough, you will be fine.

In your car, you never doubt that you will eventually get to the airport. You don’t stick a picture of the airport on your “vision board” to inspire you. You just know you need to get there, and you will, barring a priority-changing catastrophe.

Achieving your goals is just as certain, if you will only make a start and put some miles behind you

So don’t indulge any doubts that you will reach your life or business goal.

You will, so long as you have planned and prepared carefully, and if you make a start and then keep going, through the easy roads and the dark, winding ones, aiming for each small milestone along the way.

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