A dream is a goal with a date on it and action steps for achieving it.
It’s April. If you’re like the majority of people, your New Year’s goals are long since forgotten.
If there were one goal that you’d resurrect for the Spring, which would you choose?
Many goals are lost in the sea of other priorities simply because they require too much effort to attain. In order for a goal to become attainable, the lifestyle and habits around it must be evaluated.
Your life’s cookbook
A great motivation speaker, Omar Rivas, taught me the following:
Your daily activities are the ingredients in each recipe. And all of your habits combined create your personal cookbook.
Your daily activities –>your habits –> your outcomes –> your life
Your recipes (habits) make up the cookbook of your life. Are the ingredients (your daily actions) nourishing?
Are your recipes and ingredients worthy of passing on to your family members, so they can keep your recipes forever? Would they pass on health, vitality, love, happiness and success?
It’s important to evaluate the recipes of your life regularly. As you evaluate them, you then have the ability to tweak them.
Borrowing from Omar Rivas again,
Take personal inventory of your time, how you spend it, and how much of it you spend.
Jot down every single activity of yours: Sleeping, eating, cooking, shopping, cleaning, personal hygiene, socializing, commuting, reading, writing, watching TV . . . even having sex (okay, that’s often spontaneous).
Just as you would with your finances – take stock of how you are spending, and you adjust according to your financial goals and your budget.
Make it easy: I use a digital calendar to track all of my activity: email, social media, commuting, reading, writing, goofing off, exercising, etc. I forecast my schedule as far into the future as I can. I forecast every week in advance. Then, I adjust my calendar throughout my day/week so that I can honestly keep track of my time. For example, I may have “write blog post” in my calendar, but I actually decided to clean my office instead – a procrastination move. So I hold myself accountable by changing what happened in my calendar.
Evaluate the patterns you see.
Expect to discover behaviors that are inhibiting your progress. This is the point of the exercise.
No need to judge yourself for not being perfect.
Do you complain there is no time to cook or exercise, but find you’re spending 2 hours watching TV each day? That’s helpful for you to recognize, especially if your goal is to improve your health or fitness (which I think it is if you’re reading my blog). =-)
With self-compassion, call it like you see it.
After evaluating patterns, ask if your behavior is moving you closer to your goal. Decide which behavior to work on first.
Most of us need support and accountability in improving our behavior. For example, I work out with a trainer because it ensures I’ll actually workout. Without him, I just putz around.
Big goals, like quitting smoking or losing 100 pounds, need to be broken down into smaller, simpler steps. For help with making SMARTER goals, see my post here.
Your attitude and subconscious beliefs
Sometimes, we don’t really believe that we can achieve what we say we want. Or, we say we want something, but we aren’t willing to make the sacrifices it takes to achieve it.
To better understand how your subconscious may be limiting you, check in with these two interviews about how the subconscious mind works.
Releasing Subconscious Barriers, a podcast with Tina Huang, PhD in neuroscience
Stop Spinning Your Wheels: How to Get What You Want, a podcast with Bea Soyla (professional hypnotherapist)
Here are resources from my library to support you in your journey:
- The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. (I have it on audio and in hard-copy. Great book!)
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin (from the author of the Happiness Project)
As Mr. Rivas famously says, A dream is a goal with a date on it. It’s only a wish if you haven’t set a date and broken down your action steps to achieve it.
Don’t let the learning stop here. Take action in one small way today. In the comments below, tell me what will be your next action step.