I wrote this for an audience of one, a long time ago. My daughter has heard me break things down like this many….many….many times. I figured I’d share it. It’ll be the closest thing I’ll ever draft that could remotely be considered sound advice.
- Have a goal. Make sure it’s big and bold, so it scares you a bit. If it doesn’t scare you – it’s too small.
- OK – you have a goal in mind? And it scares you a little? Excellent. Now develop a plan. Draw up the path to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Write it down – don’t just think about it.
- So – you now have a goal AND a plan? Good. Now break the plan down into manageable pieces. Take your time. Go step by step. Be patient.
- Don’t just treat your plan like a bunch of items to be checked off on some list. Focus on each step you take to get closer to your goal. Fall in love with the process. Let it become a high priority in your life and give it the level of attention that your aspirations truly deserve.
- Celebrate the wins. That can be something huge that you accomplish along the way to your ultimate goal (like running your fastest mile while training for a marathon), or something smaller (like stepping on the scale and seeing that you’ve lost a pound or two on your way to your goal weight).
- Forgive yourself when you don’t accomplish all that you wanted in a day. Just promise yourself you’ll work a little harder tomorrow. If you are dieting and you find yourself giving in to a craving for Oreos (speaking from experience here), forgive yourself and simply do better tomorrow.
- Remind yourself that the only person you are competing with is the person you were yesterday. When working on your goal, go into a bubble. Focus on the simple task in front of you – not a call you need to make later this evening or a meeting scheduled for tomorrow. When working on your goal, it is the only thing that should warrant your attention.
- Don’t be afraid to “plus” your goal while you are working toward it. It’s OK to make your goal bigger while you’re on the path to achieving it – it may take longer to accomplish, but the juice is worth the squeeze in the end.
- Don’t be afraid to share your goal with others. Your allies will ask if they can assist you in achieving it. They’ll keep you focused and motivated. And if the person you share your goal with responds with something like “oh please – that’s impossible”, then just smile back at him / her while understanding that the goal may be impossible for them because it’s not their’s. It’s YOUR’S. “Impossible” is just a big word thrown around by small men.
- And last but not least: when you achieve your goal, whatever it may be, don’t forget those that were in your corner all along the way, helping you get there. When you receive the recognition, pass the credit.
Thus endeth the sermon.
It’s kind of cool, when simple positive actions become habits…and then the results of those habits begin to be noticed. Simple things like taking a minute here and a minute there to do as many push ups as possible before jumping back on to the laptop and continuing to work, or taking 30 minutes out of the day to focus on learning something new – from how to measure acidity in a glass of wine to the origins of old sayings like “what a fiasco!”
Just a note: the term “what a fiasco can be traced back to several stories – and here are two of them:
Google’s primary explanation: “The French faire fiasco (to fail) was adopted in turn from the Italian far fiasco. When the term “fiasco” entered English in the mid-1800s, it meant “a failure or break-down in a dramatic or musical performance,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary.”
Ah, but there is more to it than that….
Fiasco is one of the Italian words for a bottle (it’s related to English flask) and the idiom far fiasco, literally “make a bottle”, developed first among Italian theater and opera people in the eighteenth century to mean perpetrating a bad performance. Why? Because some of the actors would down a bottle or two before hopping onto the stage and performing their version of Cats. The result was a car-wreck of a performance.
Here’s another tidbit: some say that the term “what a fiasco” comes from the fact that some bottles of chianti wine are really poorly designed. They cannot stand on their own. So….they need to be encased in a wicker sheath. So the term basically sounds like sarcasm: picture 2 Italian guys drinking a bottle of chianti, when they remove the wicker wrapping from the wine bottle. They then try to stand it up, it immediately topples over and spills all over their Zenga suits. One looks at the other and says “hey paisan – look at dis! Wadda fiasco, eh?”
Last note: this month’s Runners World magazine has an article that simply rocked. This dude is my hero.