There is a famous quote attributed to Henry David Thoreau, which says, “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Setting goals and achieving them is probably the most exciting thing in life. Being “successful” to me is not only about the reward. Success is about the journey – setting out an actionable plan, having the discipline to follow through with your plan, having the right mindset, and being committed enough to complete the race and clinch the prize.
In goal setting, plans are the stepping stones. Think of it as a stairway – the goal is to get from the ground floor to the first floor of a building. The steps (plan) are the means of achieving this goal. You must climb the steps (execute your plan) to reach the desired goal (reaching the upper floor). Along these lines, I recently decided it was time to step up my focus on my health and fitness. I had an overall goal, but I also needed a plan, which was to have a Muay Thai fight. This experience taught me several lessons, which I will share with you:
What’s in a goal?
A goal needs to be clear and actionable: In this case, I had a goal (improved personal health). I also had a definite plan which was to set up a date for the fight. With a plan in place, I had no doubts about what I needed to do (have the Muay Thai fight on the set date) to achieve my goal.
You need to perform a gap analysis: I had a goal and a plan. I also needed a strategy to drive this plan; to show me where I currently was, and what I needed to do to get from that current point to the goal point. Back to the analogy of the stairwell – a gap analysis would be to assess what needs to be done to get from the ground floor to the first (climb the steps one at a time). My gap analysis showed that to achieve my plan, I needed to get in the ring and have the fight.
Execute your plan: My goal (get healthier) was backed by a plan (have the fight) with a clear strategy (get in the ring). I had everything I needed to achieve this goal; all I needed to do was stay focused on these plans, show up, and execute the strategic plan.
Smash that goal! I had the fight.
Of course, part of the plan was rigorous and dedicated training over many long and gruelling hours. As you can imagine, my fitness levels and overall health were improving as I did this. Armed with adequate training, I was able to take on the fight.
Reap the benefits of goal attainment: It sure feels good to score an achievement.
As I committed myself to better health, a few wonderful things happened:
I dramatically improved my fitness levels
I lost weight
I upgraded my mental health
I developed my skills
Late in the training period, I added an extra charity element which ended up raising $3,700 for the mental health charity Livin.org.
In the words of Tony Robbins, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
Being deliberate about acting towards reaching your goals is the difference between being an achiever and just wishing for things (Which doesn’t take you closer to your goals, by the way). I have done it – and so can you. Go smash those goals!
A short clip from towards the end of the fight