Setting and achieving goals is probably one of the easiest and yet most difficult activities we engage in during our lives. We set goals every day, yet when we look back on our goals we realize that something happened, and we did not achieve the goals we wanted to.
Creating a well-crafted goal and writing it down is a great start – however that is just what it is – a start. We have to put our goals into action, we have to begin the tasks and activities that move our goal forward and creates the momentum to achieve our goals. As simple as that sounds, it can be one of the most difficult steps in the path to reaching our goals. And starting to work on our goal is not enough either, we need to remain committed to our goals.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
Working on and achieving our goals is a journey. We start by planning, deciding what we want to achieve, how long we plan to take to achieve it, and what the final success will look like or establishing milestones along the way to measure how close to the end we are. And many people will say that the first step is the hardest. I would disagree – I think that the second step is the hardest. Don’t get me wrong, the first step is difficult. The first step is scary, and the first step can be challenging if we try to tell ourselves were are not ready to get going – more on this later. I believe however that though the first step may be difficult, the second step is harder.
When you make that first step, you often have people around you that are encouraging, cheering you on, and providing motivation to get in the game and get started. So you take the first step – Hooray!! You have begun, you are on your way, you are making a step forward, you are ….. hey wait a minute – where did everyone go? Now that you have made the first step, you start to see that you may be on your own to take the next few steps. You have shown the world you can start, but now you have to show the world that you can continue… This is why I consider the second step most difficult – because that is the step that you need to make to continue the journey, the step that takes you further from safety, the step that takes you deeper into an unknown.
The good news is, where you were is not where you wanted to be in the firsts place – isn’t this why you set a goal to do something new and different? You want to make a change, create something new, regain something you once had and would like to have again – you are wanting to move away from safety and do something else. So, each step that you make is getting you closer to where you want to be, and further away from where you did not want to be. Sounds like a win to me!
Getting ready for the first step can be difficult as well. What we need to ask ourselves is, are we truly unprepared, or are we just making an excuse to not start. Only you know if you are making excuses and that this is why you are afraid to start. I implore you to face the fear and take those first few steps.
To be truly unprepared and knowing you are not prepared is a good reason to delay the start – but don’t delay too long – get prepared quickly. You know what is not yet prepared, so get going, close that gap, and get yourself prepared. Caution! Don’t overprepare though…you need to know what is enough to get you started and what is enough for the task at hand. My wife and I love to SCUBA dive and getting ready to go diving does take planning and preparation. There is a range of gear and supplies that must be gathered up before we go. There are items that are needed for every dive (basic equipment) and some items that are specific to specialized dives (advanced support equipment). We have a number of backups and spares for various pieces of equipment and over the years have collected some items that can make our dives more pleasurable, but they are not necessary for all dives. My point is, if we are going to plan a dive to a local spring with 30 or 40 foot depths, we don’t need to prepare and bring all of our equipment that is designed for dives to depths of 100 plus feet – we need to bring the proper equipment for the type of dive we are planning to do. It is the same for getting started on our goals – we don’t need to prepare for every possible contingency – only the contingencies for the type of goal we are starting to work on. Trust me – there will be opportunities to increase our “supply” of knowledge and additional preparations as we start down the path to reaching our goals. How do you think my wife and I have expanded the types and range of dive equipment that we own – we discovered along the way what we needed that we had not yet been prepared for – and went and got it when we realized we would need it.
I summary – if you are not prepared to start or are afraid to start – don’t let this cripple you from starting. Find what you need to overcome the challenge and get in the game – get started!
Through my experience with creating goals, developing strategic plans, and creating changes to improve the efficiency of processes and procedures, I have discovered a system that provides the path from creating a goal or plan through recognition of a completed accomplishment. The CLEAR Process™ defines the steps that should be followed and in what order to follow them to achieve greater success in our goals, plans, innovations, or improvements we make in our personal or business lives. Part of this process is an iterative stage where you Learn, Execute, and Adjust as often as you need to while you work on achieve the success you set out to achieve.
For an in-depth look at how to apply The CLEAR Process™ to goals, plans, innovations, or any other endeavor that you want to achieve, check out our latest book CLEAR The Path to Reaching Goals and Achieving Success available on Amazon.com in eBook and Paperback versions.
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