How to Automate Achievement in Three Easy Steps
In the first post of this series I talked about how goal setting makes achieving your dreams totally inevitable. After that coin dropped for me, I started asking around about how to effectively track my progress. Because if I can track it it's science and I know how to science. I am a meticulous tracker IF things are quantifiable. Problem: Most personal goals are anything but. (Cue hysterics.)
Take a deep breath and let's review some terms:
A dream is a certain feeling, or lifestyle you want to achieve, or the legacy you want to build. A goal is a teeny tiny step on the path to achieving your dream. You have broken down your dream into goals.
This means that you can not be off track, if you are setting the right goals. You do not need to know how far along you are to achieving your dreams, all you need to know is that you are progressing. Do you trust yourself to have chosen the right goals?
Here are three things you can do to automatically achieve your goals :
You want to track completion of your goals. And one of the best ways to achieve anything is with habits, the automatic completion of a repetitive task. I learned this when my friend Primoz showed me his system, he tracks his habits in an excel sheet.
As an example, to become a recognized authority on any topic you need to know how to speak and write effectively and authentically. Practicing writing and storytelling are habits that would support that goal. Of course you could dedicate a whole day each month to writing and storytelling with the goal of ending up with one good story to tell, but it would require much more initial cognitive effort and be less effective than five minutes every day.
Do you think you could come up with a good turn of phrase within seven tries? Most of my writing gets less than two edits. If I spent five minutes a day for one week working on one sentence it might actually be brilliant, effective and memorable. Within a month I would have four such phrases. Can you imagine doing this in one day? No, me neither.
Habits automate reaching your goals. Choose things that if repeated will accumulate into big wins.
Choose the right circumstances
The other side of the habit coin are processes and circumstances.
You could set yourself the task to write 5000 words every day and then struggle to complete the task, or form the habit. You could also see what environment actually supports you in a creative writing flow.
My husband writes really well in the mornings in a café with a background noise of people. I prefer afternoons on the sofa with a dog snuggled up on either side.
Choosing an environment and a time that makes your task easy will mean you do it. It might not always be 5000 words, or always be a text worth publishing, but on the other hand sometimes it will be.
And the more often you do it the more likely you are to get good at it. Trust yourself to get things done without micromanaging yourself. Fix your environment to support valuable tasks.
Take notes on what works and how you spend your time
Depending on how you see yourself you might falsely assume that you are totally getting a lot done, or nothing at all. Neither is likely to be the full truth. Writing down how you spend your time and under what circumstances allows you to track reality and draw conclusions about what works for you.
Going back over notes like these in a weekly, monthly or yearly review allows you to set better goals for the next time period and shows you how you are getting closer to achieving your dreams. These little course corrections and process adjustments bring you closer and closer to smooth sailing.