Thursday, August 27, 2009

How to Achieve Your Goals

How to Achieve Your Goals

1) Know Yourself This is the most important and crucial stage.

We must know ourselves in truth; we must understand our motivations, our skills and abilities BEFORE we begin setting goals. In my opinion this is the number one reason people fail to achieve their goals - they do not know themselves. Take your time to understand your past; what has given you satisfaction before, what motivates you, what gives you energy and so on. To set goals without knowing oneself is like making a goal to cross the Atlantic not knowing that your canoe is ill-suited to the task.

2) Break it Down.

Dream big, have big goals but learn how to break them down into small bite size pieces. A goal broken into four smaller parts is easier, and actually much more fun, to achieve than trying to tackle the entire goal in one fell swoop. In order to the keep the goal small it must first be measurable and quantifiable.

Answer these three questions: What, how much, and by when? This is very important; if you can't measure your goal by some objective standard you will not be able to build the energy necessary to achieve it and will lose impetus. The reasons most of us fail at achieving goals is that we bite off far more than we can chew, fail to realize the powerful influence that is inertia and do not have clear, measurable objectives by which to gauge our progress. By breaking the goal into small, bite size pieces we greatly improve our chances of achieving the goal, which in turn gives us the confidence, energy and determination to set and achieve other greater goals.

3) Ask for Help.

Asking for help increases our chances of successfully achieving our goal because we now have two or more people working to achieve it. Basic math. In the story of the Mahabharata Arjuna's son was murdered on the battlefield of Kuruksetra against the rules of war. When Arjuna found out he vowed to kill the person responsible, before sunset the following day, or he would commit suicide. This definitely satisfies the What, How Much and By When considerations. The first thing Arjuna did was ask for help, he asked Krishna and Krishna agreed. However unbeknownst to Arjuna, Krishna, who had vowed not to take up arms in the war, called his own personal chariot driver and told him to ready the chariot for war as he himself would join the fight if necessary to help Arjuna achieve his goal.

Arjuna was successful and we see in the story his goal setting satisfied all three criteria. He knew himself and his ability; he was, after all, the greatest warrior of his time. If anyone had the skill, knowledge and ability to achieve this goal he did. The What, How Much and By When were clearly and unequivocally addressed ie: the perpetrator - dead - by sundown. He then had Krishna helping and even willing to take up arms to assist if necessary.

It is an incredible story in terms of achieving a monumental task. Throughout that day Arjuna was beset by numerous obstacles. I am positive that this is the origin of the term, "threw everything but the kitchen sink" because the opposing army did just that. Arjuna's horses tired and needed to be rested - on the battlefield; three of his brothers were on the verge of being killed and he had to turn back to go rescue them; and an entire army was hell bent on stopping him. But, with the help of Krishna, he successfully went from one obstacle to the next until he had achieved his goal.

It is a wonderful story and we should take lesson from it. First know ourselves, our wants, our desires, our abilities and motivations. Then break the goal into bite size, measurable pieces. Then ask for help. There is also the incredible and inspiring story of Terry Fox, the young man who, with cancer and a prosthetic limb ran "The Marathon of Hope" to raise funds and awareness for cancer research. When asked how he could bear the pain and difficulty of the run considering his prosthetic limb and deteriorating health he is quoted as saying, "I only run to the next telephone pole."

Rest assured we can reach our highest and grandest goals with knowledge of ourselves, with help from others and one telephone pole at a time.

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