Each man is the architect of his own fate.’
Appius

Goal setting and Rule 4! Yes these seem to go on and on and on, but once you’ve worked your way through them; you will know that the goals you have set will be fabulous goals and you will be able to achieve them. Coaching is all about making your dreams a success story! It is about defining each dream or aspiration as a goal, and successfully achieving these goals one step at a time. Often Rule 4 in the definition of goals is forgotten because once you’ve defined your goal, the outcome of the goal is focused upon and not the preparation for success.

Yes it is true that working with your coach regularly and identifying each step along the way will help you achieve your goal. Whether you select to work with a coach or work through achieving your goals on your own, you will still need to plan to succeed. Robert Brault said ‘Sometimes, perhaps, we are allowed to get lost that we may find the right person to ask directions of.’ This happens too … you may select to start to work through your own goals and then start working with a coach. However you select to achieve your goal, now is the time to start to plan to succeed.

As I quoted in my article of the 1st November, 2010 – ‘If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail’ Harvey MacKay. Harvey MacKay has made a lot of statement around this – another is ‘Failures don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan’. Both of these quotes are fabulous and really explain what happens when you don’t take the time to plan to succeed and achieve your goal or goals.

Another of Harvey MacKay’s quotes:
‘Time is free, but it’s priceless.
You can’t own it, but you can use it.
you can’t keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.’

Now if your opportunity to make the decision to select to achieve your goal and in this the first question to ask yourself is if you are going to do this yourself or work with someone to achieve your goal. Once you know the answer to this, you’ll know how to proceed.

Jack Penn said ‘One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.’ As we go through creating your plan it is important that those steps that feel as though they are stumbling blocks are created as steps in your plan.

As you start this process of defining the plan to achieve your goal or goals, my suggestion is that you work with a number of ‘books’, sometimes called ‘journals’. Although journals are generally described as somewhere to capture your daily thoughts, your daily observations, and/or it could be used as a diary and capture your experiences of the day, they can also be used to capture future plans and that’s what we will be focusing on. What’s the reason I have books in quotes? I know that most people like working with individual books, but personally I work with a Filofax and multiple sections. Whatever you select to work with must work for you. In my article of the 15th November, 2010 I talked about a ‘goal book’ which you split into four sections – mini goals (at the front), medium milestone goals (second section), long term milestone goals (third section), and big picture goals (at the back). Now is your opportunity to get another three ‘books’:

  • The first will be used to allow you to capture the information as you think of it and make notes.
  • The second will be used for your ‘daily actions’. If you prefer the electronic age, the information in this ‘book’ can be captured in computer programmes like ‘Outlook’ and ‘OneNote’
  • The third is your ‘positive thinking’ book and I’ll explain how this works later.

Using your first book – your information book – looking at the Big Picture Goal that you’ve defined:

  • Break this goal down into identifiable chunks. Taking my goal of losing weight – 60kgs and size 12. I was able to break my goal down into identifiable chunks by size. This gave me 4 identifiable chunks.
  • As you will know from my article on the 8thNovember, 2010, this goal was and still is a big picture goal, therefore each identifiable chunk could now be identified as a milestone or mini goal. Once you have your identifiable chunks, specify each as a goal in its own right. Obviously one will be dependent upon the previous identifiable chunk. For me, my identifiable chunks were – size 18, size 16, size 14, size 12. In this size 16, 14, and 12 are all dependent upon being successful in getting to size 18. Size 14 and 12 are both dependent upon being successful in getting to size 16, and so it goes on.
  • You now have a number of goals defined – the original goal, the big picture goal – and a number of smaller goals. Going back to your ‘goal book’ write each goal in its relevant section. The first goal that you need to achieve will be defined as a mini goal. This is the one that we will now focus on.

Still working with your information book create a list of tasks that you need to do to achieve your mini goal. If there are steps that you do not know about or you have to research or tasks that feel like stumbling blocks, don’t worry just create each one as a task to achieve this mini goal.

  • Once you have your task list write down against each task how long it will take. One of the important elements of successful planning is building in contingency time. What do I mean by contingency time? In most projects you will find that a project manager will identify time that is not being used for the project – this time will often be allocated to answering emails, doing admin, answering the phone, dealing with emergencies. Experience shows that some project managers may add up to a 25% contingency time to a project, which in working terms is 32 hours out of a 40 hour week being allocated to the project and the other 8 hours being allocated to administration, emails, phone calls, etc. So if you think that a task may take 4 hours to do, to be safe add another hour to it and schedule it for 5 hours.

Now that you have your mini goal and the tasks required to successfully achieve this mini goal, you need to take out your diary, your commitments schedule, your planner; and working with it start to identify time that you can allocate to achieving this mini goal. In your daily actions book, use a different page for a day and write down the actions you need to take to complete each task of this mini goal. If, when working with your diary you identify that you have 2 hours on a Monday, 2 hours on a Wednesday, and an hour on the Thursday to complete a 5 hour task – then you need to clearly document this in your daily actions book AND block out the time in your diary, on your calendar, in your planner, or on your commitments schedule.

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.’ Confucius

Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.’ Mahatma Gandhi. ‘What is the positive thinking book for?’, I can hear you asking. Each step of creating a goal is important, each step of defining how to successfully achieve the goal is important; but throughout this whole process you will find yourself having ‘negative’ thoughts. Negative thoughts can be as simple as querying whether you can do something to total disbelief that you can achieve it. For me the positive thinking book allows you to capture your negative thoughts and convert them to positive thoughts. The important step here is to capture the thought just as you had it – don’t try and change it – don’t try and analyse it – don’t try and understand it – just capture it. Now that you have capture this thought, look at it and ask yourself ‘what is the reason I am having this thought?’ Write down anything and everything that comes to mind. Once you have done that change the thought to a positive one using Present tense, as a Positive statement, and as a Personal statement. Often we think ‘I can’t do this’ when really a little bit of thought, research, time, assistance, support and/or planning means that we can do it.

Don’t feed your mind with negative thoughts. If you do, you will come to believe them.’
Catherine Pulsifere

‘The reason man may become the master of his own destiny
is because he has the power to influence his own subconscious mind.’

Napoleon Hill

German Proverb
The greatest step is out the door.

© 2010 Barbara J. Cormack
First published under Cormack’s Capers in Magna Intuitum