Posted by Tommy Runfola | September 21, 2016
I’m sure most of you out there have heard this saying before. It is Habit #2 from the famous Stephen Covey book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
No matter what age you are, let me pose this question to you: “WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?”
YES I’m serious. Regardless of what chronological age you are, continuously re-asking that question to yourself from time to time can really help bring your life and goals back into the proper perspective.
The above question may appear at first a little trite, but think about it for a moment.
Are you, right now, WHO you want to be, WHAT you dreamed you’d be, DOING what you always wanted to do? BE HONEST. Often times people find themselves achieving victories that are empty. Running long and hard to attain successes that have come at the expense of things that were far more valuable to them.
So circling back to Stephen Covey’s Habit #2, I want to discuss the importance of IMAGINATION! The ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes, is where your REAL success in life is going to come from. The power of IMAGINATION and Covey’s Habit #2 is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental creation FIRST, and a physical creation SECOND. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint. If you don’t make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default.
- Limit your focus to only a few goals. If you constantly have trouble keeping to your goals, maybe you’re spreading yourself too thin. Pick 1-3 goals that are most important to you, and stick to them. Don’t bother yourself with any other goals until these goals are achieved (or unless priorities shift and these goals no longer reflect what you want in life).
- Create a vision board. A vision board is a collage of pictures and images that represent your goals and dreams. Creating a vision board helps you to visualize your end goals more clearly, which inevitably inspires you to take consistent action. Not only that, it also serves to remind you of your goals every day when you see the board. I’ve a vision board in my bedroom which I see every time I’m in my room. Every time I see my board, it reinforces my goals to me, and reminds me to take action so as to move forward.
- Track your results. It’s important for me to track the results of what I do, because otherwise it feels like my actions are not making a difference. Hence, every time I work on a goal, I will identify 1-2 performance metrics, then track those metrics daily/weekly. They are my connection to the end goal, because they let me know whether I’m on track or off track, which in turn lets me know whether to tweak my actions or not.
- Start a journal documenting your goal pursuit. Having a blog or private diary to document your goal pursuit can be a therapeutic experience. A lot of times, we abandon our goal pursuits because we get frustrated mid-way and we are not sure what to do about that. However, when we write out our thoughts, it helps us to get clarity on our issues and renews our interest in the goal. Many readers at my blog created their life journals in the blog forums and have found that to be tremendously helpful in keeping them focused on their goals.
- Be clear on why you’re pursuing the goals. If you keep giving up on your goals halfway, perhaps you were never serious in them to begin with. For me, if I’m really serious about a goal, I’d never give up on it – I’d keep hammering away at it, regardless of the obstacles, until they give way and I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor.
- Learn to say ‘NO’. Do you often put your goals aside for other people? It’s okay to do that once or twice, but if you keep doing the whole time, something is seriously wrong. You can’t forever put your life on hold for others! I used to have trouble saying no to others, until I realized I was just doing myself and my dreams a disfavor when I say yes to something that’s not what I want. Learn now to say ‘NO’ and you may find a bigger pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.
Hopefully these tips can help you RIGHT NOW to reassess your goals and get crystal clear on your vision of ‘what you want to be when you grow up.’ REMEMBER, life is in the journey, not the destination. We are always ‘growing up’ so to say, and it’s important to keep re-evaluating our goals so that we can truly feel satisfied from both work and achievement!