Recall the times you/people around you were so ambitious about the new year resolutions and what happened later. We’re always very determined at the beginning and then frustrated as the goals haven’t been achieved at all. Then, we might blame ourselves for not having enough willpower to persist. But is it the real reason? Or we are lacking something else that’s really important?
What Are We Really Lacking?
Many people confuse goals with strategies. Once they set the goals they think they’ll achieve them, when they haven’t thought about the strategies at all.
Strategy is just as important when it comes to our goals. Without strategy, we have only the finish line, without the means to cross over it. If you were running a race and you wanted to win, how would you make this happen? You would train, you would work hard; you would come up with ideas as to how best make your chances at winning the greatest.
By definition, strategy is how you endeavor to achieve your goals and make them happen. In other words having goals, and achieving goals, is not the same thing.
How To Strategize?
We must make choices in order to have a functioning strategy. We need to choose and design a plan and set of strategic ideas that best enable us to make it to our destination. You must formulate the route. It is not good enough to simply say “I will run the fastest in order to win”, this is again a goal, and not a strategy and it does not present a physical motion of how this goal will happen. It is the idea versus the practice. And we must make sure that the practice works. We must break down how we are going to train for the race, how we will gain speed, what it takes to achieve more speed, agility, and fitness, and start putting it into practice in order to see if these choices will work, and thus be deemed a success.
Changing Your Strategies
If, for example, your goal is to lose weight, you will list ways (strategies) in order to achieve this goal. Perhaps you will run three times a week, every week. Perhaps you will cut down on sugar, or start taking the stairs instead of the elevator. At the end of the week you weigh yourself and see if these strategies are working. If you are losing weight, you are on your way toward your goal! If you are not losing weight, however, it is always a good idea to tweak your plan, and revise your strategies. This is just as important in reaching your goal as devising your strategic plan in the first place. By keeping track of our plan, we can see what is working and what is not. In this instance, perhaps you are still eating too much and so the other strategies are ineffective. So you start running five times a week, and cut 25% from your meals. At the end of the week you weigh yourself again and hey presto! Results. You have fine-tuned your strategy so that it is moving significantly toward where you need to be. Your strategy is in motion and it is getting results. This means that your goal is moving forward from an idea, to a reality. And if you stay on track, you should reach your desired outcome – and cross that finish line – in no time at all.
Featured photo credit: Magdeleine via magdeleine.co