One day I might get out of debt…
One day… I will be able to publish my book.
I want to learn Chinese… one day…
All of this sounds familiar? In the process of busily living our lives we often end up with a dusty box full of old mental pictures of where we’d see ourselves, what we’d love to do, whom we’d like to become. These pictures that once used to be so vivid in our minds are now just memories of a bright future, fading away. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way! We can make our life count in spite of the circumstances and obstacles we might encounter. So how do we turn “One day…” into reality? One of the keys is setting realistic goals and diligently pursuing them.
[bctt tweet=”Time enables us to make sure our growth is not just outward but also inward.” username=”RobertPop”]
Transformation always comes with a cost, but our entire life is, ultimately, about being a wise investor of time. So how you manage your time determines the quality and speed of your personal progress. One of the biggest mistakes people make when they want to fulfill their dreams or when they start pursuing a goal is that they try to do everything in just one day. The result is always a mess, because transformation is a journey and, therefore, it takes time. However, time enables us to make sure our growth is not just outward but also inward. It’s also important to make sure we don’t try to chase so many goals at once that we run out of time, energy and resources, and we end up exhausted, frustrated and empty. On the other hand, some people fail to turn their goals into reality because they stop at wishing. Setting realistic goals is the first step to making sure our time is invested wisely and the results we want to get are achievable. I identified two problems we might be facing when we embark on the journey of pursuing our goals and I’d like to show you how to overcome them:
- Wishing for great things to happen but never actually pursuing them, thus keeping an illusion of accomplishment but never actually enjoying the fulfillment of our dreams. In other words: procrastination by lack of determination and action.
- Desiring change and wanting to see our dreams fulfilled so much that we impatiently try to do everything in just one day, without any help, then giving up out of frustration and the lack of seeing any progress. In other words: procrastination by perfectionism and lack of patience.
Stop Wishing And Start Making It Happen
When I was 7 years old I wished I owned a gryphon as a pet. Now, 16 years later, I still don’t have one. It’s obviously impossible.
When I was 7 I also wished I would be taller than I was back then, so I could reach the chocolate mom put on the upper shelves. After just a couple of years later I was able to reach the upper shelves in the kitchen because I became taller. It came naturally.
When I was 7 I also wished I had a driver’s licence. Some years later I got it, but I had to work for it in order to make it happen.
[bctt tweet=”How much am I willing to sacrifice for and invest into achieving this goal?” username=”RobertPop”]
There are things we wish for in life. Some become reality while some don’t. Some are unrealistic and, thus, will never come true. Other wishes will always come true without us doing anything about them because they’re part of a natural (almost automatic) process of development and growth. Then there are things we wish for and are neither “unrealistic”, nor “automatic”. They are simply “could happen” things and will, most probably, remain like that unless we do something about them. So, to recap, there are wishes that will never come true, wishes that will always come true, and wishes that have a question attached to them and the answer to that question determines the outcome. And the question is: How much am I willing to sacrifice for and invest into achieving this goal?
[bctt tweet=”Nothing can stop a determined and focused mind to accomplish and achieve the great things which it dreams about.” username=”RobertPop”]
Whatever I have and whatever I am able to enjoy today I didn’t get it wishing. My wish was just the spark that started the “engine”. I have learnt that we are responsible for our own future and we are responsible for the fate and health of our own souls. I have learnt that as long as we refuse to give up and we decide to push through and keep moving forward we will always experience breakthrough no matter what the circumstances look like, no matter what obstacles may come our way. Nothing can stop a determined and focused mind to accomplish and achieve the great things which it dreams about.
Wishing is good. It’s the little spark that is able to put things into motion but that’s just the start. What we do from that point is vital. We want to become people who won’t get stuck somewhere in the land of dreams, but will strive to succeed and pursue their goals using all the resources they have at hand. That’s how dreamers get things done. That’s how you go from “I wish…” to “I did!”
[bctt tweet=”We are responsible for the fate and health of our own souls.” username=”RobertPop”]
Turn Your “One Day…” Into “One Day At A Time”
While some people have a problem with sailing their boat out of the safe harbour and into the raging seas, some of us have a problem with learning to slow down and mindfully approach our goals, understanding that quality change takes time and even small daily progress is better than no progress at all.
[bctt tweet=”Quality change takes time and even small daily progress is better than no progress at all.” username=”RobertPop”]
I remember how when I was about 5 years old I used to spend time with one of my old great-aunts while she was gardening. And every time she did her gardening she would light up a cigarette, and then another one… and then another one. One day, because I really cared about her and loved spending time with her, I told her, “If you want to be around for another 20 years you should quit smoking… because I really like spending time with you, auntie.” She then smiled and said, “But I can’t… I just can’t quit, Robert, I tried… Two or even three weeks in a row. “ And I almost felt her sadness when she said that. So I continued, “For how long have you smoked, auntie?” She thought for a second then she replied, “I don’t know… it has to be more than 30 years probably.” And that’s when I asked her a question that I also ask myself every time I get frustrated while trying to change my life overnight and forget that transformation is a process: “If you’ve done it for more than 30 years then why do you think and expect that you could quit in just three weeks?”
Now, ever since then, I’ve learn a lot about habits and I know that it doesn’t take you 30 years to quit an unhealthy habit if you’ve practised it for 30 years. Quitting a bad habit, replacing it with a healthy one, or simply making new habits doesn’t have to take forever. It only takes about a maximum of 30 days. But, the point is, we need to be realistic about progress and accept that we can’t turn a lifetime mess into an overnight diamond. It will require us to invest time and effort into making things happen day after day after day. The beauty here is that by doing so we also make sure that everything we build is strong and stable and once a new brick has been added to the bridge that will take us closer to accomplishing our goals, that brick is gonna last. We have to be intentional about it, however, and remind ourselves everyday that it’s okay to enjoy the journey and live in the present while sculpting our future.
[bctt tweet=”It’s okay to enjoy the journey and live in the present while sculpting your future.” username=”RobertPop”]
Practical Steps In Pursuing Your Goals
- Write them down — Any goal that you have in your mind must be put on paper first. There’s something magical about writing your dreams and goals on a paper and being able to come back to that list again and again. Writing transforms thoughts into something that’s closer to reality. When you write a thought down it becomes visible and is also preserved.
- Read them every single day — After you write your goals down make sure the list is always at hand and you’re able to see it several times a day. This will motivate you, plus it will fuel your passion for growth and desire for transformation.
- Set a deadline — As long as you don’t have a clear picture of when you want a certain goal to be achieved you will keep procrastinating. Set a realistic deadline for your goals and make sure you do something each day that will bring you closer to your goals.
[bctt tweet=”Make sure you do something each day that will bring you closer to your goals.” username=”RobertPop”]
- Create an action plan — As much as I’d like to tell you that writing your goals on a piece of paper will suffice, that’s not enough. You need to sit down (feel free to ask your mentor to help you if you need advice) and create an attainable action plan that will help you reach your goals in a healthy and beneficial way.
- Stay motivated — I’m gonna quote Zig Ziglar an say that “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.” It’s so important to get motivated and stay motivated throughout your journey. Motivation goes hand in hand with your passion, so feed your passion with inspiring words, encouraging stories related to your goals, and practical mental and emotional exercises that will boost your willpower.
- Review your progress weekly — Set aside an hour or two every week and create a bridge between you and your progress. Make your weekly review meeting with yourself non-negotiable. It’s your way of getting re-organized for the week ahead, writing down the ups and downs you’ve encountered that week, and rethinking your strategies if you need to.
[bctt tweet=”Make your weekly review meeting with yourself non-negotiable.” username=”RobertPop”]
- Stay connected — You don’t want to lose focus of reality, your soul and your relationships for the sake of pursuing your goals. Keep the balance between the two areas of your life by making room for (the other) important things in your life. Learn to work hard and then loosen up. Alternating between work and fun is sometimes difficult, but in the end, after you accomplish your goals, you might be able to do both at the same time: have fun while working, by doing what you love.
Pursuing and achieving your goals is a journey of excellence and a lot of self-discipline and as long as your goals are in line with your true self you will get there. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy the journey, no matter what!