You can always see where you've been from where you are - just as you can look out and over from the top of a mountain, it's easy to evaluate the past based on the present - but the challenge lies in making decisions from where you are that still propel you forward. The trick isn't keeping track of where you've been, but keeping your eyes on where you're going. Writing down what you want, be it saving money, losing weight or finding a new job, will keep your subconscious active in helping you achieve your goals. When you know what you're aiming for, you'll consciously make the choice that gets you closer to your target. Goal setting gives you real-time perspective and allows you to evaluate each moment in light of what you're trying to accomplish. You won't just let things happen to you, instead you'll train yourself to make split-second decisions that best serve your goals.
The thing is, you have to choose. Every time you find yourself at a fork in the road, choose, even if you don't know what's best. The more choices you actively participate in, the more you learn what works and what doesn't and you'll not only learn to trust yourself, but you'll develop a systematic approach to problem solving that gets you closer to what you want at every opportunity.
Two parts to success:
- developing your vision
- setting your goals
Your vision provides focus and helps you discover your path. How you see the world greatly influences how you move through it and where it is you're trying to go.
Setting your goals should excite you, maybe even scare you! They should inspire you to actually do the work require to achieve them and as a part of 'doing the work' you must (must!) write. them. down. Your goals should be specific, measurable and written in the present tense - don't be afraid to break bigger goals down into a number of smaller ones. Make sure you're using affirmative language - write down what you will do, not what you won't do - be specific and concise. No justifications! You can always change your mind. Always attach a date to your goal - dates hold you accountable - don't over think it, just pick one.
Finally, share your goals with others! Tell your friends, family, significant other (shameless plug: tell your coach!), start a blog or tweet about your goals - tell anyone who will support you on the road to achieving them. The more people you tell, the more folks who will hold you accountable as you work toward what you want.