Word Count: 1113
Estimated Reading Time: 8.6 minutes
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland
What is your GPA?
In school, especially at the collegiate level, the Grade Point Average (GPA) is used as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for students to assess progress throughout the course of study.
Ranging from 1.0 to 4.0, students express how well they are doing by the GPA on their record. It becomes a metric from their freshman to senior years. The GPA is a reflection of a student’s effort and discipline and follows them even after college into the job market.
In goal accomplishment, there is a GPA (Goal Plan Action) that reflects the level of effort and discipline you are consistently applying to reach the goals you have set. In today’s post, I have created an assessment to help you measure your progress throughout the year and make needed adjustments along the way.
The best way to change your tomorrow is to have a goal today. First, Ink the goal don’t just think it. Writing down what you want to accomplish sounds small but is one of the most often ignored stages of accomplishment. When you write your goals down, you get to see them twice. Once in your imagination and then on paper. It is the beginning of the maturation process of your goal. Zig Ziglar says, “A goal properly set, is halfway reached.”
Writing it down is an indication that you believe enough to take the time to write it down. Writing will serve as a constant reminder of what you set out to do, especially on tough days. It acts as a stamp of approval you are placing on the authenticity of your intent. The tragedy of not accomplishing goals begins when we give cursory attention to writing our goals and being clear about them.
Second, ask yourself, “Is my goal C.L.E.A.R.? C is for Compelling. A goal that lacks the punch to grab and hold your attention will lose its luster and appeal by the time March comes. According to Andrew Carnegie, a goal should command your thoughts, liberate your energy, and inspire your hopes. L is for Level Up. Are you meant to do this? Your goal (s) should merge with your purpose and growth. E is for Entrepreneurialism. What are the risks you are willing to take to accomplish your goal (s) and are they worth it? A is for Articulate. Can you express your goal (s) effectively if someone sat down with you? And R is for Rewarding. What will be your quality of life after you reach your goal (s)? Will there be fulfillment or emptiness? A reward is only one if it enhances your life not diminishes it. Fulfillment, not simply achievement should be the reward of seeing your goal come to fruition.
Having a clear goal and writing it down is the infant stage of developing the discipline required to reach your goals. For no goal is reached, without a plan.
This is the standard operating procedure (SOP) that you will employ by way of action to bring the goal to realization. Antoine de Saint-Exupery observed that, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” The litmus test of any plan is whether it is sustainable. We can call your plan a system. What system or plan do you have in place for the goal you want to accomplish?
The plan is the magnet between the goal you have written and the action(s) you need to take. Here is my plan for the goal of running my first marathon later this year:
Build my endurance: Between the months of January and March, I will run 50 miles per month and between April and July I will double it. I will sustain this in the month of August with a projected marathon date on my birthday in September.
Enhance my performance: What I put in my body will affect my performance. First, water is a lubricant to my body like oil is to a car. I plan to drink 8 to 10 classes a day. Elimination of juices and soda is of utmost importance. Second, the food I eat is like fuel to a car. I watch what I eat to ensure I put premium grade quality in my body.
Strengthen my mind: A strong mind is key to a good performance even in running. I learned this from marathon great, Eliud Kipchoge. I will keep my mind strong and fit by reading, getting enough sleep, and indulging in new experiences that will stretch my mind.
This plan is my road map to the destination called accomplishment. Having a plan is commendable but the plan must be converted into executable action steps.
Studies show that 80% of resolutions made fail by February. Why? I believe many resolutions are born from wishful not realistic thinking that is convertible into consistent actionable steps. We should start calling them “wishfuls” not resolutions. The biggest threat to accomplishing our goals is inaction.
Actions are the habits or executables you will consistently apply to reaffirm the plan and reach the goal. Recently, I heard a speaker say, “Successful people do consistently what other people do occasionally.”
Action begins when you awake to and are aware of the fact that every day is an investment opportunity in the direction of the goals you have set. It has been said that success is not taking one step in 20 different directions but 20 steps in one direction. As of this writing, I am executing my plan knowing that time is both friend and enemy depending on whether I use it or waste it. Keep in mind, small actions practiced over time result in big changes.
An important point in taking action in the direction of your goals is to perform acts of kindness and service to others along the way. The best way to live is to give and the shortest distance between you and your goals is often discovered when we choose to serve others. When we help others our lives become more meaningful and memorable. Don’t be selfish with your time and energy but apply them in the lives of others also.
Furthering the Discussion: If your goal is valuable, it should be worth the time to sit down and write it with a comprehensive plan of action. Check what you are doing daily against your plan. Your GPA aligns what you are doing currently with what you want to see eventually because, in the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to daily acts of trivia.