How To Start Achieving Your Goals

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In this week’s episode of the working with Podcast I answer a question about getting clear about your goals.

You can also listen on:

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Script

Hello and welcome to episode 77 of the Working With Podcast. A podcast created to answer all your questions about productivity, GTD, time management, self-development and goal planning. My name is Carl Pullein and I am your host for this show.

This week, I have a wonderful question about really getting clear about your goals so the next steps become obvious.

Before we get into this week’s question, I would like to let you know I have taken 25% off my Email Mastery online course. I know many of you really struggle to get your email under control and even when you do finally achieve the fabled inbox zero, within a few minutes your inbox is filling up again. 

This course will give you the tactics and know-how to get your email under control and to keep it that way with only a little daily maintenance. You were not employed to spend all your days answering email, and you don’t have to. 

Take the Email Mastery course and finally get away from having to deal with overloaded inboxes forever.

Okay on to this week’s question and that means it’s time for me to hand you over to the mystery podcast voice for this week’s question. 

This week’s question comes from Stephen. Stephen asks Carl I am really struggling to get started with my goals. I know what I want to do, but I am finding it really hard to get started. Do you have any tips that might help?

Thank you, Stephen, for your question. 

Now, goals are a very interesting thing to me. I was very fortunate when I was a teenager to be a track and field runner. I was lucky because I had some great coaches and at the end of every season I would sit down with my coach and discuss the season just finished. Look at my best times for the year and make a decision about what times I wanted to achieve next season and what races I wanted to do well in. 

I remember well the end of the 1984 season when I finished with personal records of 2 minutes and 6 seconds for the 800 metres and 4 minutes 16 seconds for the 1,500 metres. My coach and I decided that 1985 would be the season I would break 2 minutes for the 800 and 4 minutes for the 1,500. 

We then put together a winter training programme that would build my strength and head in to the spring training season where we would work on speed endurance training to get my fitness and strength up to the level so I could break those barriers. 

That focus on a specific outcome—breaking 2 minutes and 4 minutes—was simple. I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve and it had a time line—by the end of September 1985—this meant that throughout the winter of 1984/85 I was focused on one goal - achieving what I called “the double sub”. 

And that’s how you need to be to achieve your goals too. What’s the outcome and what do I need to do to achieve that outcome in a specific period of time. 

Too often goals are too vague. Goals such as to loose weight, to run a faster 10k time or to get a promotion. These goals are not specific enough. How much weight do you want to lose and by when? What time do you want to run the 10K? Under 1 hour? What position do you want to be promoted to? It’s this kind of specific you need to get to. 

Let’s take the promotion goal. I get this one quite a lot with my language students. I will ask a student what do you want to improve your English? And the reply is usually “So I can get a promotion”. Okay, so I’ve established that improving English is not the real goal here. Improving English is just a part of a bigger goal. When I ask the student what position do you want to be promoted to, they often don’t know. They are just thinking in terms of the next step up.

You see this does not work. The next step up is not ambitious enough for you to get truly motivated. Basically, if you do a reasonable job at your current level and don’t make too many mistakes, you will eventually get that promotion. And deep down you know that. 

What you need to be doing is thinking much farther ahead. Where do you really want to end up? What position do you want to be in in 10 years time? Let’s say you are a junior finance administrator at your company today, but in ten years you want to be CFO. Great now that’s a fantastic goal to go for. 

Okay, so what do you need to become the CFO of your company? If you don’t already have it, perhaps a degree in accountancy, Your CPA qualifications, maybe an MBA. And that’s just the academic qualifications. What about the skills you will need. Leadership, strategic planning, management etc. There’s a lot to figure out. 

So let’s look again at Stephen’s question. How do you get started once you know what you want to achieve. 

The first thing to do is to create a time line to success. Create a simple line across a piece of paper and on the right hand side write 2019. At the other end of the line write 2029. So now you have a line that represents ten years. 

Now on that timeline write out what you have to do to achieve the position of CFO by 2029. Mark years off along the way. For example, by the end of 2020, you will have completed your degree in accountancy. Great. What do you need to do next? Perhaps get your CPA qualifications. Okay, get that on your timeline. Keep going until you have completed everything you decided needed to be done to achieve the CFO position. 

Now, as we are currently in 2019, you need to expand on whatever needs to be achieved this year. If you really are just starting out, you may need to find a university to study your accountancy degree. You will need to apply to that university. You may need to decide whether to study full or part-time. A lot of decisions to make. These need to be made into a project and added to your to-do list manager. 

There are no shortcuts. There’s a lot of decisions to be made and a big goal like becoming your company’s CFO in ten years time will need breaking down into it’s component parts. Beginning the year by asking yourself what do I have to accomplish this year that will take me a step closer to becoming the CFO? That’s where you start. Apply to universities to get enrolled into an accountancy course. Commit sufficient time each day / week to your studies and focus on completing that step. Once you have your degree, move on to the next step and keep going. Review, evaluate where to go next and get moving. 

To achieve your big goals needs a lot of patience, action, consistency and time. (PACT) but before you get to building on these cornerstones you need to have a plan in place on a timeline. You need to know the steps to get there. Once you know the steps, you can then take the first step, break it down in to actionable tasks to perform so you have a place to start. 

Back to my running story, because I had a very simple goal, that I gave a nickname to “The Double Sub” all that winter I trained very hard. I came in to the spring stronger, leaner and determined to hit my goal. By the end of June, I had run 1 minute 54 for the 800 and 4 minutes 3 seconds for the 1500. I was so close, and that gave me the determination to give it one more push. I worked so hard in July to improve my speed endurance so I could get under that elusive 4 minutes and at the end of July, I ran 3.58.9. By the end of the season, my times stood at 1.54.2 for the 800 and 3.54.8 for the 1500. 

For me, the lesson I learnt in 1984 and 1985 has stayed with me ever since. All goals are achievable if you make them simple, clear and are determined enough to achieve them. As long as you stay focused on them, are will to do the work necessary to achieve them and are prepared to push that extra mile to get there you will get there. 

But it always starts with that first step. You will achieve nothing unless you are willing to take that first step. Cemeteries are full of people with unrealised dreams and goals because they never took that first step. They never established what the first task was and they never went that extra mile to make it happen. Don’t let that happen to you. Do the planning, create the time line and take the necessary action to make it happen. 

This is where your to-do list comes in. Once you have done your planning, you need to take the first part of your goal and make it a project in your to-do list manager. Then create recurring tasks that will take you closer towards achieving the goal for the year. If you want to break 1 hour for a 10k make sure you have your daily training in your to-do list manager. If you want to finish your degree in accountancy, make sure you have your reading and studying tasks in your to-do list manager. Break everything down into daily tasks and make sure they are coming up on your daily to-do list every day. Only by taking action consistency over a period of time will you get to where you want to go. 

I hope that has answered your question, Stephen. I know so many people really struggle with setting and achieving goals, but as I say, when you use a simple piece of paper and draw out a timeline, then turn you goals into small, daily activities, you will amaze yourself about what you can achieve. 

Good luck and thank you.

Thank you also to all of you for listening and don’t forget, if you have a question you would like me to answer, then get in touch either by email or by DMing on Facebook or Twitter. 

It just remains for me now to wish you all a very very productive week. 

The Working With… Podcast | Episode 42 | Building An Extraordinary Life With Kevin Blackburn

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In this very special episode, I talk with Kevin Blackburn of Life Success Engineer about making the decision to change your life, your career and starting your own business. 

You can also listen on:

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LINKS:

Life Success Engineer:

Website

YouTube Channel

Podcast

 

Thank you to Kev for doing this. Listen out for part 2 where we talk about goal planning, productivity and the apps we use coming next on the Working With Podcast. 

 Email Me | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Beginners Guide To Building Your Own Productivity System

Time And Life Mastery 2018 Edition

The Working With… Podcast Previous episodes page

 

The Working With… Podcast | Episode 37 | How To Find Your Purpose

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In this week’s episode of The Working With… Podcast I answer a question about How to find what it is you want to do with your life.

You can also listen on:

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Script

Hello and welcome to episode 37 of my Working With Podcast. A podcast created to answer all your questions about productivity, GTD, time management, self-development and goal planning. My name is Carl Pullein and I am your host for this show.

This week’s question is a rather popular question. I also find a lot of my English communication students also struggle with this. Discovering what it is you want to do in life. I know that sounds like a big philosophical question, but the truth is if you don’t know what it is you want to do with your life you are going to drift and drifting through life is never a good thing. As I wrote in my blog post last week (a link is in the show notes) drifting through life results in a life of regret and by the time you realise you have spent your whole precious life drifting it is often too late to do anything about it. 

Before we get into this week’s question, I want to give you guys a heads up to the launch of my Time And Life Mastery 2018 edition course. Time And Life Mastery is my premium online course that takes you on a journey of self-discovery and shows you how to discover exactly what it is you want to achieve in life. Once you have established what it is you want to achieve and do, the second part of the course shows you how you can take control of your time so your goals and purpose take centre stage of your daily life. 

It’s a fantastic course and last year’s edition was my most popular course by far. The course launches on the Friday 3rd August and I would love to see you there. There’s a link in the show notes to the course’s page where you will find all the information you need. 

Right, onto this week’s question so it is now time for me to hand you over to the mystery podcast voice for this week’s question.

This week’s question comes from Sandra, Philip and Sandeep. They ask: I know it is important to have a plan, but I really don’t know what I want to do. Do you have any tips on how to find my goals and purpose?

Thank you for the question guys. 

As I mentioned in the intro, I know this is a very difficult question for many people. In fact, if I am being very honest with you, it took me a very long time to discover what it is I want to achieve in life. I would have been around 32 years old before I discovered that teaching was what I wanted to do. Before that, I tried many jobs from hotel management and selling cars to being a lawyer. All of which left me feeling empty and not excited about the future. It was only when I took the chance to come to Korea and teach English did I finally discover that teaching was what I wanted to do and that I loved everything about teaching from the planning of lessons to the helping of students to improve an area they were really struggling with. It was my willingness to experiment and try new things that finally led me towards teaching and the discovery that teaching was the vocation I loved doing. 

So that would be my first piece of advice. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Experimenting doesn’t mean quitting your current job and trying something new, but let’s say you are curious about teaching, there are plenty of opportunities where you can volunteer to teach something you know about. That could be inside the company you work for—you could volunteer to do a presentation on your know-how. One of the companies I used to work for did a monthly training session where a different teacher each month would do a fifteen-minute training session on their own teaching know-how. It was a great way to get new insights into teaching and how to handle difficult, non-responsive students. 

Another way is to start doing whatever it is you want to try. If you want to be a writer, then start writing. Begin a blog and write something every week. You don’t need to publish anything. You just need to write. You can judge for yourself if you enjoy the process. Same goes for creating videos or making your own music. We have the technology now on almost all our devices to create and make things whether that is writing, film or music production. 

But let’s say you have absolutely no idea what it is you want to do. How do you discover the things you want to do? Well, this is a lot easier than you may think. The first thing you need to do is to take a piece of paper (or a note in your note-taking app) and write “fifty things I want to do in the next ten years” at the top. Then, underneath the title begin writing down everything you would like to do over the next ten years. Don’t filter anything. No matter how unrealistic something is if you want to do it or would like to try to over the next ten years get it written down. This is not about what is possible and what is not. This is just a list of things you would like to do over the next ten years. 

One of the things on my ten-year list is to fly to the UK and buy a brand new Aston Martin DB11 and drive it all the way to Korea from the UK. Aside from the prohibitive cost of actually buying an Aston Martin, it is also a rather unrealistic thing to do. However, it is not really about whether you will actually do something it is more about getting your thinking into a place that will allow you to discover the kind of things you truly want to do in your life. 

The problem we all share is that over the years we have developed filters in our mind about what is possible and what is not possible. Many things we have labelled as being impossible have become that way, not because they are actually impossible, but because we have allowed these filters to develop by listening to other people who have told us what are the right or wrong things to do. But remember, when someone else tells you what is right and what is wrong or what is possible and what is impossible they are only giving you their own opinion. Opinions are not necessarily correct. Often the best way to find out is to try for yourself. 

Now this list of fifty things is going to take some time. When I did my list it took a few weeks to get it to fifty. The first twenty were quite easy. After that, it became much harder. But I persisted and after a few weeks, I had a list of fifty things I wanted to achieve over the next ten years. 

The funny thing is, many of the things on my list have become true. I have begun a blog, started a YouTube channel on productivity and written a book each year. All of these things I found I really enjoy doing. Strangely, writing the blog, my YouTube channel and this podcast are all related to teaching people. Most of the things I really enjoy doing come back to that. Teaching. It is what I do and it is what I feel is my purpose. 

Once you have your list of fifty things you are going to find there are quite a few things that have a common purpose. For me, it was creating content to share with other people. Of course, there were a few material things on there too. Buying the Aston Martin for example and also buying a house on the east coast of Korea. These are material and they are things I want to do over the next ten years. The point is you write everything down. Don’t let whether something is possible or not stop you from putting it on your list. The whole point is you have a list of your desires and wants. 

Now, once you have your list of fifty things you will need to start dividing it up into when you would like to accomplish them. Some of them you may want to do in the next year. Put those on the next year list. Others may be in the next three years, or perhaps 5 years. And of course, some of the bigger, more ambitious things may require a bit more time. Put them on your ten-year list. When you divide these things up into when you want to achieve them, try to get an even a stream as you can. There’s no point in loading everything up into the next five years. This is a ten-year list. So spread them out over a realistic timeline. My Aston Martin idea would go on my ten-year list for example. There’s a lot of things I want to do over the next year and taking one or two months off to travel across the world is not going to be very practical when I want to develop my YouTube channel and blog over the next five years. 

One thing I can promise you is this exercise is fun. It allows your imagination to run wild and it breaks down the limiting self-beliefs that you have acquired over the years about what you can and cannot do. And we’ve all picked up those limiting self-beliefs. This is one of the reasons why many people struggle to find what it is they want to do with their lives. They allow these beliefs to take hold and to start believing they cannot do things. The truth is you can do these things, but you first need to allow your imagination to open up. Once your imagination opens up and you get fifty things written down, the next step is to start and work on a plan to make them become a reality. 

For me, starting the YouTube channel was a big challenge. I have never been comfortable in front of a camera, so I realised I would have overcome that fear first and then develop a theme and a plan to make it happen. Three years ago I did that. It took a few weeks, a lot of abortive attempts but I persisted, and today when I look back at my first videos I cringe at how awful they are. But then I look at what I am producing today and what I have learnt over the last three years about video production and editing and I feel happy I am progressing in the right direction. The same can be said for my blog. I read those early blog posts and laugh at how bad they were. But again, over the last three years or so, I have learnt a lot, got better and now I feel confident I can sit down and write a reasonable blog post. Now I am a contributing writer for Likehack - so I must be doing something right! 

The thing is we have all got to start somewhere. And if you really have no idea what it is you want to do with your amazing life then the best place to start is with a piece of paper and start writing out all the things you would like to do. It doesn’t matter whether some of those things are crazy, stupid, impossible or the complete opposite of what you are doing today. It does not matter how old you are. It is never too late to change direction. The point is if you discover you are moving in the wrong direction then it is better to find out now rather to never find out. 

So start the list. It will take you a few weeks to get to fifty. But the time and effort is well worth it because of what you will discover about yourself.

Good luck and remember, if you do want to go into a lot more detail and you are serious about building a life you can be proud of, then take a look at my Time And Life Mastery course. That could very well be the course that changes your life for the better and set you on your way to accomplishing the things you really want to accomplish. 

It just remains for me now to wish you all a very very productive week.

The Working With Podcast | Episode 32 | How To Make Your Goals Achievable.

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In this week’s episode of The Working With… Podcast I answer a question about prioritising the tasks you do each day.

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Script

Hello and welcome to episode 32 of my Working With Podcast. A podcast created to answer all your questions about productivity, GTD, time management, self-development and goal planning. My name is Carl Pullein and I am your host for this show.

This week’s question is all about achieving goals. Something I know a lot of people struggle with and yet, there is a method that is incredibly powerful and will change the way you think about how possible it is to achieve the goal. 

Before we get into this week’s question though, I'd like to remind all of you who have enrolled in my Ultimate Guide To Goal Planning course that I published the first supplemental class last week. You can take the class by logging in to your account and you will find the class in the supplemental classes section. 

Okay, let’s get into this week’s questions and so it is now time for me to hand you over to the mystery podcast voice for this week’s question. 

This week’s question comes from Charlie. Charlie asks: Hi Carl, I really struggle with getting started to achieve my goals. I know what I want to achieve, but just don’t know where to start. Do you have any tips for getting started with my goals?

Good question, Charlie. 

I think the hardest thing about achieving goals is not really discovering what you want to achieve, but rather how to get started achieving the goals. Knowing where to start and how to start can be very difficult. 

Once you have discovered what it is you want to achieve you should write it down. Whether that is in a digital format or in a paper notebook is really up to you. My advice is to write it in a format you prefer. Personally, when I write out my goals in the first place, I usually do it on paper. There’s a very good reason for doing this. The process of writing out your goals helps to get your mind accepting your goal. In many ways, your mind is going to be your best friend and your worst enemy. Best friend because your mind will give you the methods to achieve your goals. Worst enemy because your mind will also throw up all the excuses you need for not doing anything towards achieving them. 

Once written down, I start writing out the action steps I will need to achieve those goals. At this point, it’s more of a brain dump, rather than a strategic game plan. I want to get as many ways I can think of to achieve the goals written down. Some are crazy, some a practical. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is I have a long list of ways I can achieve my goal. 

 Once I have fleshed out my goal with actionable steps I go through those actions and delete all the impractical ones or ones I feel isn’t going to work. I then transfer these practical steps to my to-do list manager. I want to be able to build those actions into my daily to-dos. 

However, before I get to even fleshing out my goals on paper there is a simple trick I use that is incredibly powerful and one that transforms a goal from a statement into a question that has my brain seeking ways to make the goal happen. It’s a simple change, but one that lights up the creative centre in your brain. 

Let’s say you have a goal to earn $1 million in the next 12 months. Now for a moment let’s forget about whether this is possible or not. What most people do is write it out like:

“I will earn $1 million in the next 12 months.” 

Now the problem with writing it this way is your brain will now start thinking of all the reasons why you cannot earn $1 million in the next twelve months. (this is your worst enemy at work) Our survival instinct in our brains is programmed to avoid failure and risk and having such an ambitious goal, your survival brain is going to recognise the potential for failure and begin the process of discouraging you from setting the goal. If that fails, it will give you all the excuses you need to not start working on achieving it. This is because many thousands of years ago when we were on the menu for large tigers and other predators, any risk we took would likely result in us being consumed by one of them. Not a good outcome. So we are naturally very adverse to risk and the possibility of failure. 

Instead of writing goals out in this way, reframe the goal as a question. By that I mean ask yourself “What do I have to do to…” and then write your goal. So in our $million example, we would write the goal out as:

What do I have to do to earn $1 million in the next 12 months? 

What happens next is something bordering on miraculous. Instead of your brain looking for excuses why you cannot achieve the goal, it will now start looking for ways to achieve it. It’s quite scary how your brain changes from being negative about a goal to becoming a creative solutions machine for finding ways you can achieve it. 

Now I tested this out the other day. I don’t really have a goal of earning $1 million in the next twelve months, but I decided to try this out. The first thing I did was ask - how much do I have to earn each day to make a million dollars in the year? That worked out at $2,740 per day. I then asked how many products would I have to sell per day to earn that, that worked out at 90. Suddenly, instead of looking at the goal of earning 1 million dollars I was asking “what do I have to do to sell 90 products per day?” This took me into all sorts of different avenues and in the end, I came up with a set of things I would have to do to change the way I am working today so that over the next twelve months I could earn 1 million dollars.

But let’s take this to a more realistic level. Imagine you want to lose some weight. And in this example, you want to lose 30 pounds in the next six months. Challenging, but not impossible. So here you might start asking what do you have cut out of your diet that would help losing weight. Perhaps you eat too many cookies or maybe you put too much sugar in your coffee. So you could write down reduce my sugar intake by half, or stop eating cookies Monday to Friday. You might decide going out for a walk at lunchtime would help or taking an evening stroll after dinner. Basically, what you are doing is writing out as many ways you can think of that would help you to achieve your goal. It’s a sort of brain dump. 

The point here is that your brain goes from searching for reasons and excuses about why you cannot achieve your goal of searching for ways you can achieve your goal. 

Once you have a list of ways to achieve your goal, you can now start sorting them out into what you could start doing straight away. You can look for action steps that you can begin doing today or tomorrow. You can delete the ones you think will not help and you can add others as they come to you. 

The deeper you go with this, the more likely you will find better ways of achieving your goal. You may find you have to adjust your timeline a little—something I often have to do with my goals.I can be a little over-optimistic at times—but if you stick with it, you will soon find action steps you can start right away that will begin your journey towards achieving your goal. 

Once you have a good list of action steps, get them into your to-do list manager. I often find people write goals down in a separate place from their to-do list manager. This could be a notes app or a journal somewhere. That is good, but if they are not also in your daily to-do list manager you are not going to do the necessary tasks to achieve your goals. The action tasks required to achieve your goals need to be in your daily to-do list and the only way to get them into your daily to-do list is to have them set up as projects in your task manager. I know duplication, generally, is not a good thing, but in this instance having your goals written down in a journal or notebook and also in your task manager where they are feeding your daily to-do list works and works extremely well. It helps to keep your goals up front and centre when you are planning your day or week. 

Finally, I use what I call my Weekly Objectives Plan. This is a sheet I use when I do my weekly review on a Sunday afternoon. This sheet helps me to focus on the things that are important to me. Now, this is not just about my goals, it is about all the things I want to achieve over the next week. There is a section dedicated to my goals and habits. This is where I can allocate a particular goal to each day of the week. Once I have completed this sheet I make sure that my daily to-do lists for the following week have action steps each day related to the goals I want to focus on. This helps me to stay accountable to my goals and ensures each day I have to do something towards achieving my goals. Of course, there will be days when events over-take you and you may find you cannot do what you wanted to do. But the idea is that by using this planning sheet you will stay focused each week on what you want to achieve as part of your goals. You can download this worksheet from my website, carl pullein.com - there’s a link in the show notes where you can download it for yourself. 

Hopefully, this answers your question, Charlie and thank you. Thank you also to all of you for listening to this episode. If you want to learn more about planning and achieving your goals I have an online course you can enrol in at my learning centre. There’s a link to the course in the show notes and it would wonderful to see you there. 

It just remains for me now, to wish you all a very very productive week. 

 

The Working With... Podcast | Episode 27 | Finding Time To Work On Your Goals

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In this week’s episode of The Working With… Podcast, I answer a question about finding time to achieve your goals.



Script

Hello and welcome to episode 27 of my Working With Podcast. A podcast created to answer all your questions about productivity, GTD, time management, self-development and goal planning. My name is Carl Pullein and I am your host for this show.

In this week’s show I answer a wonderful question about finding the time to work on your goals when you have a full-time job and little spare time in the evenings and at weekends. 

Don’t forget, if you have a question you would like me to answer then all you need do is email me at carl@carlpullein.com or DM me on Facebook or Twitter. All the links are in the show notes.

Oh and I would just like to thank all of you who have enrolled in my recently published new FREE online course; The Beginners Guide To Building Your Own Productivity System. I’ve been overwhelmed by how many people have enrolled and I feel so thankful to be able to help so many people. So a BIG thank you to all you who have enrolled. It really does mean a lot to me. 

Ok, let’s get in to this weeks question, so it is time for me now to hand you over to the mystery podcast voice, for this week’s question. 

This week’s question comes from Alana. Alana asks, Carl, I have a lot of goals and plans, but never seem to have time to do anything about them. Is there anything I can do that will help me focus on my goals every day?

Great question Alana and thank you for sending it in.

I think this is a problem many people face when they really want to change their lives, but have work and social commitments that always seem to take up much of their available time each day. I know I have struggled with this in the past. 

The thing is if your goals are important enough to you, then you will always find a way. If what you want, and your reasons for wanting it is strong enough, finding the time usually comes naturally. Whenever I am working with a client and I see they always have an excuse for not doing anything towards achieving their goals, I always ask them about the reason they want to achieve that particular goal— what we call “their why”— most of the time I find their reason for wanting to achieve the goal is not personal enough. 

What I mean by that is if the reason you want to achieve something is to impress your boss or impress your family and friends, then the reason for doing it is not for you. Sure, if you do achieve the goal, people might go “WOW!” for a few minutes, but then your achievement will be quickly forgotten. If, however, your reason for achieving the goal is deeply personal, then when you do achieve the goal, the feeling of accomplishment and achievement lasts much longer and always inspires you to set yourself another, more ambitious goal. It becomes a beautiful cycle of achievement. 

Let’s take an example. Let’s say you have always wanted to build your very own application. You want to create a note taking app that you believe will be the best in the market. That’s a good starting point, but the next question you need to answer is “why? Why do you want to build this app? Now, there could be a number of reasons. Reasons such as you have never been able to find a note taking app that works for you and you want to build one, it could be because you love building things or it could be because you really want to start your own business. All of these are good, valid reasons. Get these reasons written down underneath your goal. 

Your reasons are your motivation. Almost everyone I know would love to be a millionaire. I’m sure you would too. The reason most people will never become a millionaire is because their “why” is not strong enough and not personal enough. Building your own app, losing weight, becoming a millionaire is easy, but the process to building, losing or becoming any of these things is hard. Often very hard. Losing weight is a great example. Most people make a decision to lose weight just after they have eaten a very large Sunday dinner and finished that off with a ginormous helping of chocolate fudge cake Hmmmm. As they sit down after eating, thy look down at their stomach and see this bloated beachball of a stomach and say “I must lose some weight”.

Well, when you are full it IS easy to decide to lose some weight. But what about the next day. You eat a banana for breakfast and you have a salad for lunch. How do you feel at 4pm? You’re very hungry. Now how easy is it to maintain a diet? Not so easy. Past experience has taught me ignoring hunger pangs is incredibly difficult and if someone comes round to your table with a packet of biscuits (cookies to my American friends) how easy is it to say “no” now? THis is why your “why” has to be strong and has to be personal. 

I say “personal” because often we think we have a strong “why”, but the “why is someone else’s why. A great example of this is when we visit our doctor for a checkup and the doctors tells you you need to lose a little weight. Sure, losing weight might be good for your long-term health, but what if you are happy with your weight and you don’t see it as a problem? Here we have a situation where the goal is clear - lose some weight, but the motivation to lose weight is not strong. You are not going to lose weight. The why is some else’s why. 

When you have a clear goal, and a strong, personal why, finding the time to do something with the goal is much easier. But before you can go about achieving the goal you need tasks that will help you to achieve it. Let’s take the note taking app goal. To create an app of any kind involves a lot of steps. It is not just about writing the code. You need to think about the design, the colours the features and interface. You also need to start building the code. If you have no idea how to code, then you need to start learning how to code. There are many steps. This is great because there will be a mixture of big and small tasks. Tasks that will take many hours and tasks that will only take a few minutes. Get these all written down somewhere. In a task management app, a notes app or a notebook and paper. Just get them all written down. 

Okay, I know this is a very long way round to answering your question Alana, but the truth is, unless your goals are set properly, they are crystal clear, have a strong why and have a precise deadline, you will never find the time to do anything about them because there will always be something else that seems more important than your goals. Once you have your goals set up strongly, then you will find it much easier to motivate yourself to find the time. 

I have found in the past if I am trying to achieve a personal goal when I am working it can be very difficult to motivate myself to spend time working on the personal goal once I finish work. A few years ago when I decided to take part in the ChunCheon Marathon here in Korea, I found it incredibly difficult to find the time to do the running to prepare for the marathon. What really helped was my desire to prove to myself that although it had been ten years since I had run a marathon, I could still do it even though I was now in my forties. So when I came home after a long day of teaching and it was pouring with rain outside, all I had to do was remind myself of my reason for running the marathon and I soon found I was dressed in my running gear and heading out the door for a run. It really does come down to your reasons why you want to achieve the goal. 

Another way to keep yourself moving forward with your goals is to schedule time each day to work on the goals. Don’t go mad here, just allocate time between say, 9:00pm and 9:30pm to work on your goal. It could be doing some research if you are very tired or it could be writing code, running, doing yoga or any number of things. All you need to do is refer to your list of tasks the night before, choose one task that you will complete the next day and write it down into your to-do list or calendar. The very action of choosing the task, writing it down and having a set time for you to work on the goal will be enough to motivate yourself to get it done. I have a set time each day between 10:30pm and 11pm to study something. It could be anything, a TED talk, a motivational video on YouTube or some reading research. All that matters is I do some learning each day as that is a goal for me. To learn something each day that improves my life and my skills. I have been doing this for over four months now and it is surprisingly easy to sit down at 10:30pm and get started. 

Of course there are the elements of PACT. Patience, Action, Consistency and Time. When you throw these into the mix you really are setting yourself up for success. To build an app, lose weight run a marathon, they all require patience. You need patience because none of these will happen overnight. Likewise, if you are not taking any action, consistently over a period of time you are never going to reach the finish line of any of your goals. You have got to make a “PACT” with yourself and make it happen. 

The truth is we all think we are busy. But busy is just a state of mind. Sure you might have a lot of things to do each day, but we also have the same time each day—24 hours— and what we do with most of those hours is entirely up to us. Prioritising the things that are important to us, should always be at the top of our lists and pre-planning what we will do, the night before when you do the Golden 10 minutes, and committing yourself to doing those tasks is the only way you are going to make it happen. There are no substitutes or quick fixes. You just have to do whatever it takes to make it happen and we all have that ability. Whether we choose to use that ability really does come down to us and out motivation for doing whatever it is we want to do.  Which is why having the right “why” for doing achieving you goals is so vital. 

I hope that answers your question, Alana and thank you for sending in your question. Thank you all for listening to this show, please subscribe to the show so you can have each episode delivered automatically to whatever app you are using to listen to podcasts. 

It just remains for me now, to wish you all a very very productive week.