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- Make sure it's written - and specific - and include a deadline. You've got to know exactly what you're working toward, or else how will you know when you have reached it? When you haven't documented it on paper or you aren't specific your goal becomes a moving target, always just a few inches out of your reach. Or you run the risk of selling yourself short by settling for less than your total original intention.
- Know why you're doing it. What are the rewards associated with reaching it? Are there emotional rewards, tangible rewards? What are the negative consequences that you want to avoid by achieving it? Give this a lot of thought, because it's your motivation to persevere through all of the necessary actions to accomplish what you set out to accomplish. If your big goal is no big deal, you're more likely to walk away from it before it's done.
- Plan for obstacles. You know some that are there already, because they are the reasons why you haven't achieved the goal yet. List those, and then stretch your thinking into potential obstacles that might slow you down or even stop your progress. Are you thinking that this sounds like Negative Nellie talking? It's only negative if you stop here. When you do a good job with this step you will be far less likely to be stymied by being caught off guard.
- Brainstorm solutions. There is more than one answer to your obstacles. Challenge yourself to develop potential alternatives to your first solution. Some might sound silly now, but might gain relevance once you get there. Some solutions overcome more than one obstacle, and these become your critical path. And some will wait until your first solution doesn't work for some reason - your Plan B will be already ready in case you need it.
- Choose your path and act. No plan is successful without action. Choose your best solutions and convert them into a series of action steps. Incorporate the action steps into your daily calendaring and planning system. You might find it a bit scary if your goal is a big one, or if it's a Must-Do sort of goal. It's understandable, because when you take action you reveal a result. But no worries - your plan increases your likelihood of success.
- Align your self-talk with your goal. Choose statements that affirm the abilities and characteristics that you need for your intended accomplishments. If you need to be more comfortable meeting new people, talk about that as if you are already there.