“I can’t believe she finished!”
I said this to myself after seeing the Instagram photos of yet another smiling, happy colleague of mine clad in her cap and gown graduating with her PhD. from our university. And this particular colleague had started after me.
My next thought was , “I need to finish this dissertation now, because I’m so over this shit.”
We all set goals. Whether its losing weight, earning more money, getting out of debt, finding a life partner, writing a book, or running a marathon. Goals are an expression of our deepest desires.
One of my life goals is getting a Ph.D.
I’ve had this goal since about the age of 15. And when I got accepted into a doctoral program, I was so excited and saw it as a fulfillment of one my life’s goals.
When I first started the program, it was with the intention of being a professor which meant writing books and teaching classes at a university. But while finishing up my coursework in grad school and experiencing up close and personally the politics, intellectual bullying, sexism, classism, and racism, I was turned off and I no longer wish to pursue such a career full time. But nonetheless, I am still pursuing the degree. One big reason is just for the sake of finishing something that I started.
In pursuit of this goal, I have pulled several all nighters this week and managed to have accomplished more in this week than I have in the past few years. Why? Because I was fed-up and made it non-negotiable. It’s amazing what you can do when failing is no longer an option.
At this point, I am determined to finish this dissertation and graduate in June 2018. Anything else is unacceptable.
It is totally easy to set a goal, but it is the showing up everyday that counts.
Here are 20 things to keep in mind while you are in pursuit of your big, fat, juicy, exciting goals:
1. In order to accomplish your goals, remember why you started
The bigger and more ambitious your goal is, the harder it is to achieve it. That is the nature of the beast. But with a continuous source of motivation, you can achieve any goal, no matter how big it is. Remembering why you started can be a huge source of motivation, especially on those days when it feels like you have no energy to do anything. If you keep something around that reminds you of why you started, you’d be surprised of how it can push you when you’re funning on fumes.
2. In order to accomplish your goals, remember who you are
Now, this one may sound arrogant or cocky, but you are a bad ass. And you have done incredible and wonderful things before. There have been times before when people have counted you out and you surprised them. You can do the same now.
3. In order to accomplish your goals, remember that if it was easy everyone would do it
Your goals are hard to reach for a reason. The fact that they are hard to reach makes them worthwhile in the first place. Not everyone can run a marathon. Not everyone can get a PhD. Not everyone can lose 100lbs. This is what makes your goals special. And more importantly, this is what sets you apart because you are not “everyone” and you can do it.
4. In order to accomplish your goals, you must be willing to do whatever it takes
Whatever it takes means, whatever it takes. Les Brown has a saying that I really like. “You must be willing to do the things today others won’t do in order to have the things tomorrow others won’t have.” And that may mean spending money to invest in your future. Or foregoing sleep to pull some all-nighters. It may mean restricting your food take or being uncompromising with your schedule so that you are using every second to get you closer to your goals. Whatever, it is. Do whatever it takes. Be uncompromising.
5. In order to accomplish your goals, remember that failure is not the final answer
The truth is that sometimes we fail. And we fail hard. Failure can bruise the hell out of our ego and make us feel like shit. I know this personally. You know this, we’ve all been there. But that is no where near the final story. Failure is just one step on the road to your goal. DO NOT throw away your goal because you have failed a few times. Just get up, dust yourself off, and move forward. Standing still is not an option for you. And just in case you needed, extra proof. Here, here, and here are all proof that stopping after a failure should be the last thing you do.
6. In order to achieve your goals, you need accountability
Accountability happens when someone is aware of your goals and they make sure that you do what you say you are going to do. In other words, they do not let you off the hook. We all need accountability and often times, it is the difference between success and failure. Having accountability helps to foster the “whatever it takes” mentality that is crucial to your success. Find someone who will hold you to your word, especially at the times when you feel like you don’t have the strength.
7. When achieving your goals, remember that you are your biggest obstacle
Another reason why you need accountability in order to reach your goals is because you are your biggest obstacle. There is something about where you are now that is comforting to you. And subconsciously you want to stay right where you are. Because of this you may unintentionally sabotage yourself. I’ve seen it a million times, both personally and with my therapy clients. You know what it looks like. You are making huge progress in your goal and all of a sudden, you stop. And the irony of self-sabotage is that it usually comes about right when a major breakthrough is coming. Again, if you have someone you can hold you accountable, they can point out when you are in fact sabotaging yourself.
8. When pursuing your goals, dismiss naysayers
No matter how big or small your goals are, someone is going to tell you that you cannot do it. They will tell you that you are not being realistic and that you are foolish for wanting what you want. Do not believe them. You have the power to create your own reality and they have the power to do the same for their life. Your life is your own. And no one gets to tell you what is possible for you.
9. Celebrate small victories
Depending on how big your goal is (and I hope its really big), it may be awhile before you can finally cross it off your to-do list and count is as a complete accomplishment. Because of that, you have to be sure to celebrate the milestones along the way. In order to keep yourself on track, you have to acknowledge and celebrate when you get shit done. Decide beforehand how you will commemorate crossing certain thresholds. And do it!
10 When pursuing your goals, anticipate setbacks
Not everyday is a good day. Michael Jordan had off days and he lost a lot of games. but he is still considered the greatest. You will have bad days and somedays you may take 3 steps forward and fall 2 steps back. But the important part is that you keep moving. Knowing that it wont be a straight shot helps.
11. Pursuing your goals, helps you build character
Let’s be honest. Nobody likes a wimp who melts when things get too tough. Perseverance is a very attractive quality. We like to be around people who are disciplined and who have the fortitude to show up everyday for the things that they believe in. Going after a big fat ambitious juicy goal allows you to develop these transferrable skills.
12. Always be learning while pursuing your goals
Sometimes Plan A doesn’t work. And then you try Plan B, and that isn’t much better. Plan C is a bust. And Plan D is just a hot ass mess. The point is to keep learning from each of these plans and keep fine tuning your plan until you find the right one. Do not personalize your plan failure, assess what went well and amend the part that failed. Turns out, Plan W works like a charm!
13. When working on your goals, keep everything in context
This big ambitious goal of yours is one aspect of your life. There are other areas in your life that are probably working just fine. Once you meet your goal, things will improve because you will get the results that you want, but your life will not magically transform and you will not become a magical super hero fairy. Do not fall into the trap of magical thinking that says you have to put your life on hold while you are pursuing your goals. That is false. The pursuit of your goal, is a part of your life but it should not be ALL of your life.
14. When pursuing your goal, always use positive self talk
Bullies suck. Don’t be one. And bullying yourself makes you a bully. Talk to yourself in way that encourages you to be your best and want to perform at your peak. When you talk badly to yourself, is another form of self-sabotage. You create a hostile mental environment which pushes you further away from your goals because you are fighting against yourself. When speaking to yourself be encouraging and kind. This doesn’t mean to let yourself off the hook, but you can hold yourself accountable without all the negative talk.
15. Your goals are not the end all be all, they are merely stepping stones
I see this all the time. People fight tooth and nail to get to where they want to get. And then the experience feels a bit….anti-climactic. This happens when people forget that their goal is not the end all be all, it is a stepping stone for something else. You want to lose weight so that you can move better, be healthier and prolong your life. You want to write a book because you want to share your knowledge with the world. You want to run a marathon to build your character and sense of accomplishment. Your goal helps you live more fully. It is not your reason to live.
16. Your goals must have deadlines
Give yourself a delivery date and etch it in stone. If you are not dead-set on the end date, you will always put the work off until tomorrow. I know this personally. This is how my PhD goal has become spread out over years and years. I did not have a sense of urgency. You must have a sense of urgency that lights a fire under you and kicks that butt into gear! Create clear, specific, non-negotiable deadlines.
17. Surround yourself with visual cues/triggers that keep your goals forefront in your mind
Whatever it is that reminds you of your goal, whether its a picture, a number, a quote or a mantra, keep it close to you so that you can look at it to remind you of why you started and why you are going through all the trouble. Sensory cues and triggers can also work to remind you that you need to be doing certain activities during your daily practice.
18. Work on your goals first
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Pay yourself first.” It means that you should put your savings on autopilot before you start paying bills and buying non-essential items. If you wait until after you pay everyone else to start saving, you will never have enough money. You can apply the same concept to your goals and your time. Set up your schedule so that you are working on your goals before anything else. Work on your goals before you leave the house in the morning. Write. Exercise. Train. Meditate. Record. Whatever. Just work on your goal in a meaningful way before you do anything else. This is your best energy. Use it on you. Because if you wait to have energy after you do everything else with your day, you will not be able to show up for yourself a lot of the time.
19. When you are pursuing your goals, remember that you are your own competition
It is very easy to compare yourself to people who have already achieved the goals that you aspire to. But when you compare yourself, you only create a false sense of inadequacy. Remember that you are your only source of competition. The only person that you are measuring yourself against is the person you were yesterday.
20. When pursuing your goals, you will surprise yourself
When you have a whatever it takes mindset and are relentless about getting what you want, and you begin to manifest the results you are seeking, you will surprise yourself. You will be able to do things that you have never been able to do. This will feel amazing!
Alright, Abundance Seeker, as always I hope this was helpful.
If you have some big fat juicy life-changing ambitious goals that you haven’t been able to accomplish but are burning with a desire to do so, check out my Goal-Getter 90 Day Individual Session Program. We can work together to shatter them!
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