Is the goal the most important thing, or is it the system you set in place to reach that goal?
It’s not either/or; it’s both/and. The two go together. They’re inseparable.
But one of the big challenges for most of us is that, once we’ve set a goal, it becomes all we think about. THE GOAL.
“I haven’t hit the goal yet,” we say, over and over again.
Setting goals is important, but it's the system that gets us there. It’s not constantly reminding myself of my goal. That’s important, but focusing on the system that helps me get one step closer to that goal? That’s everything.
It’s also the beginning of when the problem starts—the problem of comparison. Comparing ourselves to other people is something we all do as humans. And it’s a huge obstacle to actually achieving our goals. I’ll get back to that in just a minute.
What is one big goal you’ve set for yourself? Here are some that people have shared with me recently: Get my realtor’s license. Buy my first short term rental. Learn a new language. Repair my credit.
My 12-year-old daughter wants to start her own business selling chapstick online. She wants a website and videos. She’s making plans, earning money, setting her goal.
I’ll share one of mine. As the pandemic hit, I set a goal to go LIVE with Cash Flow Diary every day for 30 days straight. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I knew there would be challenges.
And I knew I’d be given lots of opportunities to disappoint people who showed up to watch.
That is part of the journey for all of us.
I like to look at it as an equilateral triangle with points labeled G, P, and T. The G at the bottom left is for setting the Goal. The P at the top is for the Plan that will get you there. And the T on the bottom right is for Tracking your progress along the way.
[add a triangle image?]
Is focusing just on the goal going to make it happen? No. But that’s what we do. Without a system, you’re just hoping. You’ve got to put in place a plan. What plan will make this happen?
This triangle is the system. Goal, Plan, Tracking. You’ve got to focus on the whole thing, not just one point (the Goal).
Set the goal, set the plan, and the only thing left is tracking the activity necessary to reach the goal. The tracking is the part a lot of people skip, because we don’t want to be held accountable. Then we have the opportunity to let people down. And that’s no fun.
With my Go Live for 30 Days Plan, I was hesitant to do it. I knew tracking would be right there on the calendar. Here’s the unwritten benefit of tracking: it’s a visual representation. That’s what is missing when we’re going after a goal and don’t track. Tracking is evidence of our progress.
It’s another way of saying “I am on my own success cycle.” But if we’re not willing to track, we won’t know. We will wait for a feeling. We will wait for actual attainment of the goal.
Mine was an easy-to-track plan, but I didn’t want to feel bad if I didn’t get it done. And I knew that frustrations and roadblocks were inevitable. Disappointing people was inevitable. Over time, we can start feeling less than encouraged about our goal and tell ourselves it’s not important, and we abandon it.
Somebody somewhere trained us that we had to get things right the first time, on our own, without help. And if we can’t be first, then did we really win?
Speaking of winning, here’s where I want to share a few words with you about comparison. Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s definitely a time for competition. (I miss my Olympics already. Anybody with me?)
But with most things in life: does it really matter if you get there first?
Let’s take this global pandemic for example. It happened to all of us at the same time. Let’s say, six months from now, I take a look around me and say, “Hey, wait. How come I didn’t make as much progress as my coworker?”
Comparison is permissible, but is it beneficial? Does it help you? I submit for your acceptance that the answer is no. Comparison is never helpful.
Set a goal. Develop a plan. Figure out what resources you’re missing and how to get them. Because you’re tracking, you don’t need external encouragement from anyone else. You don’t need to blame anyone else.
You don’t need to compare yourself or your goal to anyone else.
You don’t have to be first. You just have to be the best version of you. When you’re on this system of maintaining your goals, you’re free to cheer other people on, to help them succeed—even higher than you—and to enjoy the process.
With these things in mind, there isn’t a goal that’s out of your reach.