Every time you get in your car to go anywhere, you are working on achieving a goal. There is somewhere you want to be, so you take action to get there. The three major things that get you where you want to go when driving are a specific destination, directions for getting there, and a way to track your progress. You must also have these three things to achieve any goal.
Before even getting into your car, you must know where you are going. Unless you have a specific destination, you’re just moving the car and wasting gas. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with this; some people enjoy just driving around and looking at the scenery. But if you want to get somewhere, you must know where you are going.
When setting your goals, you must know exactly what it is that you want. Get a clear picture of it in your mind. If it’s a new job, picture yourself in that job. If it’s more money, visualize that monthly bank statement. Imagine what you will feel like when you reach whatever it is you are striving for. Write it down, like you would write down the address of a house you are visiting for the first time.
If this is a destination you’ve been to before, you don’t need directions. It’s automatic, like tying your shoes or chewing your food. But what if it’s somewhere you’ve never been before? How do you get there?
You ask. You ask someone who’s been there before. You pull out a map. You check the Internet. The directions may not be perfect, and often they aren’t. “It’s either the second or third light, I can’t remember which,” is something often heard when getting driving directions. But you get the best directions you can.
Goal setting is the same. You get in touch with others who already have what you want. You read books, you listen to tapes, you attend seminars. You get as much information as possible that will assist you in reaching your goal.
Tracking Your Progress
You know where you are going and you’ve got your directions, so now it’s time to take some action! You hop in the car and you’re off!
But wait! It wasn’t the second or third light, it was the fourth! So what do you do when you realize you are off course? You check your map, you pull into the nearest gas station, or you make a phone call. You try to get back on track. But you don’t give up! You don’t turn around at the first closed road and go back home, saying “I didn’t really want to get there anyway.” If this were to happen, you’d never get anywhere you hadn’t been before, and your life would be pretty limited. Even if you have to head all the way back home, you start again. Eventually, you get to that destination, and isn’t it even more exciting when you get there after a difficult journey!
You may get sidetracked on your journey. If you get hungry, you stop for a bite. If you need to use the restroom, you stop to take care of that. But do you stay stopped? Do you sit in the restroom all day, wondering why you aren’t where you want to be? No, you do what you need to do and continue on.
Don’t quit on your goals, either. There may be setbacks, dead ends, even car accidents. But don’t forget that you’ll never get there if you don’t keep taking action and moving towards your destination. When that prospect says no, it’s not a failure; it’s another mile under your belt. When nothing seems to happen for a long period of time, you’re just getting closer to that next landmark. If you’re not sure what to do next, don’t be too embarrassed to stop and ask for those directions!