I thought I’d put a different spin on the Goal-Setting process here. Everybody has tried setting a similar flimsy goal like ‘lose weight and tone up‘ … and failed miserably. So let’s shake it up and spark new ideas to apply!
So we just attained a big goal, it happened today. Our budding family traded in our beloved sedan for a brand spankin’
new used compact SUV. Yes, that time has come, and we are now officially parents (the first kid as I understand it is just kind of a “test drive”, getting the SUV has officially vested us as ‘all in’).
Our lead time from “goal start” to “vehicle in driveway” was 2 weeks. Half that time (1 week) was not in our control, spent waiting for the vehicle post purchase (ie: our goal was attained in 1 week actually). Once you set your goal, gaining momentum quickly is key to keeping yourself motivated to reach the finish line. Below are my top 4 tips I think will help guide you.
Bite the Bullet and Do it: Practical Guide for Setting Goals and Executing your Strategy
First, You Must Accept and Own the Need for Change.
For me, that acceptance came not at the time my wife said “we’ve got a second baby coming, I think we should get a bigger vehicle soon… it will be easier before the new baby arrives “. She was of course 100% correct. But, just hearing this, I resisted the change. Do any of these ring a bell?
- “The time isn’t right to spend that kind of money.”
- “There are too many other things on our ‘to do’ list getting ready for the new baby in just a few months.”
- “Jeez, can’t we just make it work with our current small sedan at least for a few months – maybe we can do this when the time is better…”
This was me resisting change HARD. However, my wife had planted the seed. She had ‘inceptioned’ the crap out of me, if you will. All that seed needed was a trigger. Here’s when that happened for me: I was sitting in the back seat of our sedan, knees crushed up against my chest as I tried to play peek-a-boo entertaining our 20-month-old daughter while stuck on the Allen Rd exit ramp in rush hour traffic. Our daughter was not amused, and emitted a cry so fierce I saw an entire flock of birds change direction – as if evading a predator.
At that moment, it dawned on me that sitting between a 2 year old and a newborn attempting to entertain one and feed the other would involve pains neither I nor my wife should accept, and I refused to endure / prolong the process any more. My wife had been right, of course, and I let her know. She did not say “I told you so” – which she could have; no instead she modestly chose “ok” . That evening, having truly felt and understood the need for change, we began in earnest to research our new vehicle. The team was aligned. The clock could start. Magic happened.
Second, You Need a Specific Goal.
The goal doesn’t need to be crystal clear, but it should be specific enough that you can build an action plan towards it. For example, if our goal was simply to ‘get a bigger vehicle soon” we would not have achieved our quick success. We would have hummed and hawed and browsed and wasted time without getting any results. This ‘need for change’ would loom over us, whispering in our ear the need to deal with it like a pile of dirty laundry that continues to build on your bedroom floor. Mocking you as you try to ignore it every morning you walk past.
Instead, our Specific Goal was ‘we need an SUV, either model X, Y or Z, it should be <100k KM, under ## Dollars and have at least these features. And we need it before the birth of our next child.” You should be able to see how having a little bit of detail in the goal – specific, quantifiable elements, and giving it a due date – helped us set off in the right direction from the get-go. Now we’re moving, so let’s talk details:
Small, attainable milestones are key. Keep these steps action-oriented. When you can ‘cross it off your list’ and move to the next thing, you trigger a dopamine release. You feel good. You’ve taken one step closer to your goal, you can feel it clicking in to place, and you actually gain momentum. Simple things add up, some examples:
- Each evening, contact 3 dealers about a specific model and book test drives for our Test Drive Day
- Map out the route we will take to visit each dealer on test drive day to minimize wasted driving time
- Print each car’s specs to bring along for making notes and comparing our favourites.
You should notice that each of these actions have a clear deliverable. You can put in effort, and know that yes you did achieve this thing today, even if it does not mean a car shows up in your garage once you have clicked ‘print’ on a car ad. You put effort in, and achieve a result. These actions are building you towards that final goal, incrementally preparing and building yourself towards it, and setting you up to be flexible if things change.
Example equivalent strategic actions directly related to Ketogenic Diet weight loss would be …
- “Consume less than 20 grams of carbs today”
- “Skip Breakfast 3 out of the next 5 days”
- “Fast until 12 noon and stop eating after 6pm”
… even if your weight stays the same, you can be proud of having completed these actions and be confident you are making slow steady progress.
Building these kinds of actionable strategic milestones are crucial in attaining your goals. The beauty is you can revise them any time on the fly. The key is to just start taking steps towards your goal, and adjust.
A more practical turn of the popular phrase: “Ready, Fire! Aim”.Michael Masterson
Even now, as proud owners of our dream vehicle, we continue to refine our strategy. We have an after-action plan that will help us post-goal maintenance (aka sustainability). This includes customization to suit our expected future needs based on past experience:
- some sweet space-saving technology,
- a nifty hanging organizer
- protection for our upholstery
- “Just in case” contingency – some survival redundancy.
You can see that applying lessons learned from our past experiences will likely lead to ‘less pain’ in our new state. We are setting ourselves up for success pro-actively. This is equivalent to adjusting your environment to subconsciously & naturally form new habits positive to attaining your goals. If you are interested in this, see #1 on my list of recommended reading .
Finally: Stay Accountable and Give Yourself a Due Date
Without my wife and I driving each other forward, pumping each other up, and holding each other to our shared goal, this process likely would have taken weeks to months. We shared excitement when one of us found a new vehicle to add to our test drive list, or clumsily missed a hi-5 once we finalized our driving route for test-drive day (BTW there was a planned pit stop for a totally keto lunch at Wendy’s, yes staying low carb is possible even on the busiest of days, don’t make excuses and make it happen!).
The point here is: someone keeping you accountable will keep you true. You will be far less likely to deviate from executing your strategy to achieve your goal while you have someone else there to ‘lean on’ in times of trouble. Can’t you hear me? I say we all neeeed somebody! To leeean on! And on that note, allow me to remind you “just call – on me – brother – when you – need – a – haaand” 🙂
Hope these steps help you in achieving your goals big and small. Now you know what you need to do, so Bite the Bullet and Do It!