Goals specify Action!!
If you haven’t defined a target, then what are you aiming at? Everybody wants something! Everybody! In the video I talk about the conversations that I am always having with people. People want to get healthy, so the ask me how I did it. People want to get debt free and get a grip on their financial life, so they ask me how I did it. People want to be connected and have great relationships, so they ask me how I did it. People want to find work that they are passionate about, so they ask me how I did it…
The first thing I did was assess the situation and come up with a plan. The first action step is usually something a lot smaller than what most people think it is. First step to paying off debt, call the people I owe and get the exact dollar amount. The first step I usually recommend to someone trying to get healthy is to read a book on diet (Diane Sanfilippo’s Practical Paleo is a great start). You can’t create a plan with knowledge you don’t have! A lot of people are going to start exercise programs this year and they are going to launch headlong into a program that they found somewhere that doesn’t care who they are, how much time they have, or what habits they can sustain for the long run. The program shouldn’t care! It’s your job to care enough to do some research and preparation in order to achieve your goal (ie critical thinking).
Yes, it’s true. Some of you need some face-to-face accountability with others in order to move forward in certain areas of your life, but I’ve come to learn that it’s not always going to be there, even when you need it the most. One statement that bothers me from time to time is when I tell people about the different mountains I’ve climbed in life and they say, “Most people just don’t have that kind of discipline! You were given a gift!” Was I given a gift to be able to lose weight? Yes! The books that I have read over the years were written by other people who went through years of training and tons of mistakes in order to refine their knowledge into readable form for you and me. Was I given a gift to pay off debt? Yes! The fact that I understood basic arithmetic and had a phone to call the creditors and ask for the amounts due, meant that I could calculate how much money I needed to kick out each month. The authors of the books and the people on the phone were my accountability partners. However, it was my choice to do the work. I had to get busy with what I had in front of me. This is what bothers me about so many people who make that ‘gift’ comment. People aren’t doing what they can, with what they have, to get to what they want, and the reasoning is, “I don’t have this person or that thing or this character trait…”.
- First, it’s a gratitude and ownership problem. If I’m not grateful for what I have, I’m not going to take personal responsibility in using it. I’m going to look at everyone else who has what I think I need, and start saying things like, “They’re more gifted than I am…”, or whatever.
- Second, the discipline is developed in the process of execution. Not just execution, but persistent trial and error. That’s where my grit comes from. That’s where my determination comes from. There wasn’t some angel that floated out of the sky and just gave it to me. I had to get to work. That’s why I am a Character DEVELOPMENT Coach. The word development implies continuation. Always learning. Always Growing. Always in the process.
Many of you know I am a man of Faith. The Bible often talks about God’s Grace in our lives (The things that he gives us that we don’t deserve and didn’t earn in any way). Do we not realize how much of a gift it is to not have to find shelter every day? To not have to sit down at a sewing machine and make our own clothes. The fact that we don’t have to hunt down animals for food and we can just go to the grocery store. It’s amazing! If you are in debt there are a bevy of free resources online that other people have worked incredibly hard to put together so that you and I can utilize those resources to work on our finances. The internet and smartphones puts that information at the tips of our fingers, literally! That’s an incredible Grace from God. How are we going to respond to that Grace?
“We all have challenges and we all have opportunities.” However, some of us are so obsessed with our challenges that we don’t recognize the gifts of opportunity that exist right there in our own lives. Some of us are so covetous that all we can think about is the opportunities that exist in other people’s lives. We are ungrateful for our own existence. That mentality leads to no action.
When I worked in healthcare I meet a man who was quadriplegic. I remember being upset about something that had happened in the ER that night. As I was helping treat this patient I couldn’t help but notice how appreciative he was for all of us taking care of him. He obviously would rather have the function of his body and be able to take care of himself but that’s not what he was focused on. He was focused on the fact that people cared enough to treat him with dignity and he still had the breadth of life in his lungs. His example changed my garbage attitude that night. What a gift to me in the moment!
I’ve been blessed with so much and sometimes I forget. However, when I count all the little things that have, that I didn’t create, it spurs me to respond by giving it everything I have in efforts to fully utilize what I have been given. This process develops character. The Character to sustain whatever it is you want. If I wasn’t willing to try and fail, repeatedly, I would not have kept the weight off and stayed out of debt. That process has developed discipline at high levels and there’s no ceiling there for any of us. If we have the ability to express choice, then we can develop self discipline! When God gives us what we want, the process of engaging those choices has developed in us the character needed to sustain our desires. Making big goals difficult to reach, is a grace from God in itself. God, in his infinite wisdom, understands that we fickle humans need to engage a hard battle to reach our biggest dreams and greatest hopes. That way, we appreciate it and are less likely to squander it.
Create a plan and chose to ENGAGE!
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Critical Thinking Questions:
Four Fundamental Areas in Life:
- Health – Exercise, Diet, Sleep, Recreation etc.
- Resources – Money, Possessions, Space (Home, Office etc)
- Relationships – Romantic, Family, Friends, Coworkers etc.
- Work – The Work that you believe in
10 years from now, what do you want these areas of your life to look like? Write it down! What are some simple/specific/measurable goals that you can achieve in the next year that will lead to these things? Present day, what is the first tangible step that you need to complete to hit those year long targets? WRITE IT DOWN, look at it at least 2-3 times a month, and practice gratitude for the little things that will help you achieve these goals. Update it as needed!
I Love You and God Bless!