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“Review your goals twice a day to stay focused on achieving them” – Les Brown
Prior to 1954, even medical experts concluded that running a mile in under four minutes was humanly impossible. They claimed that any attempt would result in death.
But on May 6th, 1954, a runner called Roger Bannister, astonished crowds and experts alike when he broke the barrier in 3:59.4, and lived to tell about it. Bannister’s accomplishment silenced the experts, emboldened other athletes to break the record even further, and became a feat that is remembered even after his passing last year.
Just like the mile, you may have a goal(s) that seems elusive, but if you have not given up, just like I have not given up on my goal to run and complete my first marathon, here are four thought paths that I am working through to stay focused:
Don’t just think radical, think sustainable
The aura of a new year can make us dream up radical goals to see radical changes. But enthusiasm can easily evaporate as the new year turns into an old one. A radical goal can only be realized when we set up sustainable processes that will help us stay consistent and stave off the fluctuations during the year that could drown our goals in the waters of discouragement and despair.
When I first began blogging in 2017, I wanted to publish one every day. In my excitement and enthusiasm, I was blinded to what was realistic. I had to sit down and ask myself, “That is radical, but what is sustainable?” This is how I came up with a once-a-week publishing schedule. It allowed me to continuously write quality content while improving my writing from week to week.
Whatever goal you have set, as radical as it may be, remember to develop a plan that is sustainable especially in your private time.
Don’t just think visible, think invisible
Pastor and author Craig Groeschel says, “It’s the small choices no one sees that result in the big impact everyone wants.” What Craig is hinting is that private victories precede public ones.
Stephen Curry is perhaps the purest shooter in basketball today. He exudes flamingo-like grace each time he shoots the ball. I set out to discover how this effortlessness was born. Behind the curtain of the shooting extravaganza we are exposed to when he plays, is a practice regimen that explains it all. During the season, he puts up 300 shots after practice and in the off season he ups it to about 500 a day! This, in tandem with a unique light system that helps to improve his coordination and decision making on the court is the invisible that causes the exceptional visible display during games.
What are you doing behind the scenes of your life to bring into reality what you want your life to reflect?
Don’t just think perform, think learn
In an article called, The Learning Executive, Jim Collins begins by asking a thought provoking question, “How would your day be different if you organized your time, energy and resources around the objective of learning instead of performance?”
We live in a world where what you do or what you have done becomes the reputation that precedes you. Nothing wrong with that. However, performing should never trump the ultimate goal of life: growth. And growth comes by way of learning not just doing. If you only see performance as necessary to success, life will become a circus instead of a class. To do different you must think different and that comes through the portal of learning.
If you always set out to learn, not accomplishing a goal will not be viewed as failure. Learning ensures that you have a better life by being a better person. The only way to stop doing what is not working is to start learning what does. When performance mixes with learning productivity is the outcome.
As you create your to-do list, consider making a complementary to-learn list to foster growth and maintain a life-long journey of being a learner.
Don’t think limitations, think possibilities
I have heard it said many times that what the mind can conceive you can achieve. In my estimation, the statement is incomplete. At the intersection of conception and achievement lies belief. And belief is not just a concept, it is a system. Most often we doubt what is possible of us or what we are capable of because we carry a self-limiting belief system. And what we believe will likely influence our behavior.
Often, we lower our goals to the level of our past experiences instead of raising them to the level of future possibilities. The only limitation to goal accomplishment is the habits we are not willing to give up for the sake of going up. To create a mental environment where limitations die and possibilities awaken, discipline and consistency must be present to stretch us beyond our limits.
What habits, as uncomfortable as they might be, do you need to introduce to soar into what is possible for your life this year?
Furthering the Discussion: Take a daily self-assessment by asking this question, “What has taken place today that has contributed to the goal I have, and how can I build on it tomorrow?” The small disciplines you engage in daily will ultimately be responsible for the life you’ve always wanted, this year and beyond. Your future awaits, are you prepared?
Keep on Keeping on!
2. Frank Litsky and Bruce Weber, “Roger Bannister, First Athlete to Break the 4 Minute Mile Dies at 88,” New York Times, March 4, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/04/obituaries/roger-bannister-dead.html
3. Groeschel, Craig (2017). Divine Direction: 7 Decisions That Will Change Your Life p.15
4. Day in the Life: Stephen Curry, June 12, 2018, https://owaves.com/day-plans/day-life-stephen-curry/.
5. Jim Collins, “The Learning Executive,” August, 1997, https://www.jimcollins.com/article_topics/articles/the-learning-executive.html#articletop.