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Got Goals? 4 Tips from Real People That Achieved Real Goals

Got Goals? 4 Tips from Real People That Achieved Real Goals

    As an alternative to posting the hackneyed advice of self-proclaimed life coaches and storytellers (e.g. Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, etc…), I thought I’d collect and share advice from real people in the mySomeday community that achieved real goals.  In the past, they admitted to having issues with finishing what they started.  “So, what was different this time?”, I asked.  Although they all agreed that building a detailed step-by-step Plan was essential, each had a unique aspect to that Plan that kept them motivated.  Here are their tips.

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    1.  Break It Down

    Maia was determined to get out of credit card debt but was daunted and occasionally paralyzed by the enormity of the goal.  She decided to break down the path into clear, achievable steps and discovered that checking off smaller to-dos generated real momentum.  These small flashes of progress kept her head in the game and allowed her to continue to believe that the goal would someday be reality.  Maia is convinced that taking the time to break down the path into incremental steps made the difference for her.

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    2.  Picture It

    Globehound turned 40 and decided it was time to go back to the future and get back in shape.  To stay motivated, he strategically placed unflattering pictures of himself in various places next to images of people he’d like to emulate.  This ‘in your face’ approach worked wonders.  Whenever he felt lazy or was eyeing that bag of Doritos, he’d take a quick look at the pictures and the urge was squashed.  Now that he’s back in shape, he posted before and after pictures of himself as a constant reminder of a place he does not wish to return.  Globehound was adamant, this visual anchor located in a prominent place had a profound impact on his ability to stick to his plan.

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    3.  Broadcast It

    Christine wanted to change careers.  She knew it for a long time but it wasn’t until she shared this goal with friends and family that she started to make real strides.  Knowing that others were watching and rooting for her proved to be just the motivation she needed to continue to check off steps in her plan.  She used the ‘Share’ option on the  Someday page and broadcast her intentions to her Facebook Wall.  It profoundly affected the accountability factor by adding social pressure and expectations to the mix and Christine says it was just what she needed to make the move from consulting to fashion.

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    4.  Make It About Something Bigger Than You

    A4S4L4 had run a half-marathon before but she was feeling a bit unmotivated this time around.  Someone suggested that she make someone else the beneficiary of her efforts.  She built a plan to run a half-marathon and included a charitable partner.   Knowing that her efforts would do good beyond personal satisfaction gave her a real sense of necessity.   If she was in a rut, she would visit the charity’s website and suddenly her laziness felt insignificant.   She claimed that adding this one element shifted her entire perspective and gave her massive amounts of motivation.

    Got any stories or motivational tips?  Please share.  We’re always looking to incorporate new elements into our site to increase the motivation and accountability factors.

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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