Unleash Your Inner Rocky: Get Organized to Achieve Your Goals

As the leaves turn to golden hues, the temperature drops a degree or two, and you get settled back into regular routines, it is the perfect time to revisit some of those goals you set back in January.

Have you gotten caught up in the daily grind and let them fall by the wayside? If so, don’t beat yourself up. We all have good intentions, and we know as well as anybody else that sticking to the goals we set for ourselves is hard to do. Happily there’s no time like the present for getting back on track. In that spirit, grab a pen, your journal and your calendar. This column is all about organizing your top goals, creating an easy to follow roadmap for follow-through, and most importantly, helping you plan ahead for the inevitable slip-ups so they don’t cause you to throw up your hands in defeat.

Sarah on “Finding Your Focus”

“What is it that you really want to achieve by the end of 2009? Shed a few pounds? Spend more quality time with your spouse? Finish a degree program? Get your house totally organized from top to bottom? Organize your photos? Win a competition? The fact of the matter is, while you may want to do it all, to succeed you will have to focus your efforts on a few things that really matter. Let go of all of the things that aren’t so important and really focus your attention and energy on reaching one thing by the end of the year. Choosing your goal priorities might be an easy, off the top-of-the-head, no-brainer for you, or it might require a more formal process, like ranking all the items on your goal list in the order of their importance. Whatever works for you, grab your notebook and pen, take a few minutes and focus on which one truly matters and which ones can be let go. If you’re struggling to choose, you might want to consider imbalances in your life. Is there one area of your life that is most in need of attention? Perhaps focusing on goals in the troublespots will have a more meaningful impact on your overall state of well-being.”

Alicia on “The Importance of Specificity”

“The more specific you can be about the end goal, the more likely you are to get there. Try to define your goal in measurable terms so that you can easily track your progress. If you’ve got a fuzzy goal statement, such as, “start saving” or “get in shape,” take a moment now to get more specific about the end point. Do you want to start saving to get to a particular amount or for a particular purchase? What does “in shape” really mean?”

Here are a few more tips for unleashing your inner Rocky:

1. Break It Down
Big changes are accomplished by taking consistent steps in the right direction. Break down your bigger goals, like “lose 25 pounds,” into a series of mini goals. For example, lose 4 pounds by October 20, and another 1.5 pounds by October 25. Smaller, specific goals are easier to reach. Once you have the thrill of reaching one, you’ll want to reach for another, and another. Before you know it, you’ll have arrived at your destination.

2. Plan for Imperfection
Nobody is perfect. Recognizing that fact and planning ahead for the inevitable slip-up will almost certainly increase your chances of keeping your resolutions over the long-term. Just because you had a moment of weakness doesn’t mean that you should throw in the towel on your goal. Instead, reaffirm your commitment to actually crossing the finish line. List one or two small actions you can take immediately to get yourself back on track to attaining your goal. Once you do this, you’ll know exactly where to turn and what to do when you’re less than perfect.

3. Enlist a Buddy
Whether it’s a friend from the real world, or someone you’ve met in a virtual world, having someone who can support you on your journey can spell the difference between success and failure. Identify someone who can support you and enlist their help this week. Ideally it will be someone who shares your goal. Agree to be there 100% for each other along the way with encouragement to get back on track when you inevitably slip up – whether it’s by phone, email, instant message or text message.