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Accomplishing My Goals Essay

Changes usually do not occur all of a sudden. Even if they seem unexpected, they are in fact a result of continuous preparations, some smaller shifts in one’s way of thinking, or based on other premises. At the same time, there necessarily exists a trigger that launches the process of changes; this can be anything, starting from an event and up to a new thought. For me, such a trigger was the article “Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This,” written by the author and businessman James Clear.

Clear believes goal setting may deal more harm than favor. Instead, he offers an original approach for organizing one’s life through creating systems instead of setting goals. A system is a sequence of actions you repeat in order to move in a chosen direction. According to Clear, if I got his idea correctly, focusing on the process of movement is more productive and effective than focusing on goals, because it is the movement that is crucial for achieving goals.

For example, if your goal is to collect an extra $1,000 by the end of the year, your system might include slightly increasing your monthly income (through regular freelancing, for example). If you want to win a competition, your system is to train regularly and persistently. There seems to be no difference, but in fact it is huge. When you focus on a process instead of a goal, you free yourself from the constant stress and craving for immediate results, the urge to try to control outcomes that do not depend on you, and the “yo-yo” effect, when a person feels stressed after reaching a goal, as there is nothing else to strive for.

The changes in my way of thinking started when I correlated this article with the philosophy of “Kaizen,” or the Japanese practice of constant improvement: small daily changes or improvements lead to more results than titanic efforts in an attempt to reach your entire goal all at once. Then I correlated these observations with the way I usually tried to make myself do something. “I need to improve my Japanese speaking skills by the end of the year.” After this, I made my way through a couple of weeks of attempts to study and practice regularly, organize my time, and give up some activities in favor of my goal. Yet after these attempts, I usually quit my efforts.

Kaizen, combined with the article by James Clear, gave me another perspective. I discovered it is much more effective for me to set a general direction, and make small steps that do not require effort. I have already improved my Japanese skills due to the simple fact that something is better than “all or nothing.” When I have five to 10 free minutes, I use my smartphone to learn a couple of new words. When I am on public transport, I read a page or two of any comprehensible text in Japanese. When I cook food at home, I use free minutes to learn a new grammar rule. Sometimes my “classes” take just five minutes per day. But there is still a result, and I achieved it much faster and easier than if I would force myself to reach the set goal.

Recently, I have started to apply this approach in other spheres of my life. Rollerskating, job performance, relationships, sports, doing something new or something I am not good at. It turned out the type of activity does not matter; what matters the most is the system and small steps in the chosen direction.

References

Clear, James. “Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.” Entrepreneur. N.p., 17 Dec. 2013. Web. 27 Mar. 2014. <http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230333>.

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Want to get going on your goals? This is how.

“Vision is the spectacular that inspires us to carry out the mundane.”

Chris Widener

Can achievement be broken down into steps? It isn’t always that clean and easy, but those who achieve great things usually go through much of the same process, with many of the items listed below as part of that process. So if you have been struggling with achievement, look through the following. Begin to apply them and you will be on the road to achieving your dream.

Related:5 Steps to Achieve the Life You’ve Always Dreamed Of

Step 1: Dream it.

Everything begins in the heart and mind. Every great achievement began in the mind of one person. They dared to dream, to believe that it was possible. Take some time to allow yourself to ask “What if?” Think big. Don’t let negative thinking discourage you. You want to be a “dreamer.” Dream of the possibilities for yourself, your family and for others. If you had a dream that you let grow cold, re-ignite the dream! Fan the flames. Life is too short to let it go.

Step 2: Believe it.

Yes, your dream needs to be big. It needs to be something that is seemingly beyond your capabilities. But it also must be believable. You must be able to say that if certain things take place, if others help, if you work hard enough, though it is a big dream, it can still be done. Good example: A person with no college education can dream that he will build a $50 million-a-year company. That is big, but believable. Bad example: That a 90-year-old woman with arthritis will someday run a marathon in under three hours. It is big all right, but also impossible. She should instead focus on building a $50 million-a-year business! And she better get a move on!

Step 3: See it.

The great achievers have a habit. They “see” things. They picture themselves walking around their CEO office in their new $25 million corporate headquarters, even while they are sitting on a folding chair in their garage “headquarters.” Great free-throw shooters in the NBA picture the ball going through the basket. PGA golfers picture the ball going straight down the fairway. World-class speakers picture themselves speaking with energy and emotion. All of this grooms the mind to control the body to carry out the dream.

Step 4: Tell it.

One reason many dreams never go anywhere is because the dreamer keeps it all to himself. It is a quiet dream that only lives inside of his mind. The one who wants to achieve their dream must tell that dream to many people. One reason: As we continually say it, we begin to believe it more and more. If we are talking about it then it must be possible. Another reason: It holds us accountable. When we have told others, it spurs us on to actually doing it so we don’t look foolish.

Step 5: Plan it.

Every dream must take the form of a plan. The old saying that you “get what you plan for” is so true. Your dream won’t just happen. You need to sit down, on a regular basis, and plan out your strategy for achieving the dream. Think through all of the details. Break the whole plan down into small, workable parts. Then set a time frame for accomplishing each task on your “dream plan.”

Step 6: Work it.

Boy, wouldn’t life be grand if we could quit before this one! Unfortunately the successful are usually the hardest workers. While the rest of the world is sitting on their sofas watching reruns of Gilligan's Island, achievers are working on their goal—achieving their dream. I have an equation that I work with: Your short-term tasks, multiplied by time, equal your long-term accomplishments. If you work on it each day, eventually you will achieve your dream. War and Peace was written, in longhand, page by page.

Step 7: Enjoy it.

When you have reached your goal and you are living your dream, be sure to enjoy it. In fact, enjoy the trip, too. Give yourself some rewards along the way. Give yourself a huge reward when you get there. Help others enjoy it. Be gracious and generous. Use your dream to better others. Then go back to No. 1. And dream a little bigger this time!

Related:31 Things That Happen When You Finally Decide to Live Your Dreams

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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