A while back I discussed the Price of Perfection, as it related to my writing goals. Writing that post reminded me once more to find ways each day to reconnect with my passion for writing and for life if I want to achieve my goals. I have never been one to spend my time obsessing about my goals but it is important to internalize goals if we are to have any chance of achieving them.
You’re probably motivated by fear of failure
Without clearly defined goals I can guarantee you one thing. You are just as likely to achieve what you value as goals as you are to achieve what you don’t. That’s a 50% chance of failure right off the bat. Now I see you looking at me with pleading eyes, “please Michael can’t the glass be half full” I hear you cry. Ok for you I’m going to make the glass half full … Except now that I think about it, one of those thick books on my bookshelf is on NLP. Would you believe me if i told you that 9 out 10 people reading this post are motivated by what they don’t want not by what they do want and value. We are very literally running on auto-pilot away from our goals. The problem is all our goals and everything we value is on the far side of that mountain of fear and self loathing not in the other direction.
Your fear is your fuel
I see I’ve got you thinking now. To those shaking their fist at me, no I’m not a quack, in fact stay behind after class I have a note for your mother. The proof, as one of my best friend reminds me so often, is in the pudding. The majority of people on the planet today are living lives that are less than or equal to mediocre. Your life probably has a fair sprinkling of mediocre in it too. When you are not connected to your goals you are probably connected to your fears. Your fears are feeding your mediocrity, keeping your goals at arms length.
Passion is about values not value
It’s not about your bank balance, car or your salary. Mediocre is about how well you are living. How closely your life, goals and your values are aligned. How proud are you when you speak about who you are, not about what you have? Any Yahoo with enough money can buy a shiny BMW. Only you can live a life that allows you to sleep soundly at night with a faint smile. Only you can figure out how to fall asleep secure in the knowledge that today you exercised your purpose achieved your goals on this planet and added value to the world.
These are some of the best ways I’ve found to integrate my goals with my life:
Spend at least 5 minutes a day dreaming
This tip is the most fun on the list, for each goal you are working toward spend part of your 5 minutes visualizing what achieving that goal will look like, smell, like, feel, sound like and what it will taste like. The more senses you call upon the better. Visualizing helps to make this possible future and achieved goals more real. Only when your dreams and goals exist in your minds eye completed and achieved will your body start taking the many steps toward them.
Leave yourself visual reminders of your goals
Put up post it notes with your goals on them. Write your goals in the margins or inside covers of your notebooks. Send yourself future dated e-mail reminding yourself to focus on your goals. Get software get posters get crayons if you want just get creative with remembering your goals. The only way these reminders of your goals will work is if they can knock you out of our stupor during your normal work day.
Tell your friends
Speak about your passions and goals often. Tell your friends tell strangers tell your cat. The more you involve other people the more committed you force yourself to be to your goals. All the poor people you tell will become walking breathing reminders of your commitment to your goals and the fact that your name is on the line. Always remember though your goals are for you. So use the livestock around your cubicles and the love of your friends and family to your advantage for a change.
Spend your free time reading about people who exhibit the values you wish to have. Find people who have succeed in areas you desire success. The exercise will teach you how how it’s done also you’ll learn from the mistakes from others. The most powerful lesson I take from research is that it is possible. How empowering is that statement? It is possible! As soon as you allow that thought into your life a lot of excuses disappear like manure in the sun.
The only way to achieve your dreams is to live your goals. Use these techniques and any others you come across to incorporate your goals in your living.
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I find that my online time is often unstructured and extremely unexciting going through the same routine refreshing pages on social media sites and generally waiting for things to happen. It doesn’t have to be this way!
Why have a structured surfing schedule?
You have a truckload of goals, personal goals, professional goals, social goals and whole host of other goals I haven’t thought of. All the information you need is out there on the web. l haven’t seen it out there but I have faith that for pretty much any problem you encounter some helpful soul has posted a solution. The only reason you still haven’t found your solution? You haven’t been looking. In life we thrive on routine, achieving goals require chains of complex unrelated non-routine activities which quite frankly leave us all feeling uneasy.
Ok Ok so I need a web surfing schedule now what?
- Go grab a pen and paper and write down the areas in which you have goals.
- In most cases you are probably visiting a site on this topic already use Google to find similar sites buy using the “related” command in order to use it, just type related:<website> in the Google search box and it will give you a list of sites similar to the one you’ve selected. This is also a great tool to check out who your competition is if you have a website or blog.
- Now schedule some time weekly to go web site scraping, no not the bad kind of scraping where you steal info. Go forth and scrape the sides and corner of the web looking for content.
- Set a time limit on your social networking. Sites like twitter are very useful as they don’t require a huge investment of time however some other site can cause users to fall into the trap of sitting waiting for content. It’s the social networking equivalent of 500 tv stations and nothing to watch, so you end up app surfing bad plan. Approach your social networking with a plan. If everyone you know is online spend time catching up. if no one is online maybe send some personal messages to friends you haven’t spoken to in a while. Send the boss the link to an interesting site you visited. Send a proffessional message to a client reminding them you’re still alive and care about your relationship with them. Social media/networking can add a great deal of value to your life and business. Use it don’t let it use you.
- Move work that doesn’t need to be done online offline. I’ve often popped online to update a post or write an e-mail only to end up being swept away down a river of unneccesary information by a single errant click. I find typing my e-mails and blog posts offline I can reduce the risk of being distracted by the bright shiny lights of the internet.
- Do the most important things first. Start your schedule with items that have fixed times to them like writing a post or checking your web analytics. Leave more open ended tasks like checking your Rss feeds, researching a post or social networking for last. This way you know that the important things are done which will quieten your mind considerably and you won’t feel the time pressure to complete these tasks so you can move on to what you know must be done.
- Share site you find with your network and encourage other to do the same. The web is huge don’t re-invent the wheel involve your contacts and find out what they’re tracking that you’re not it’ll save you heaps of time. Perhaps use your social media sites to pose the question, or start a group or a Lens asking the question “what site do you spend the majority of your time on” the sky is the limit.
I hope you find this list to be useful I believe if you can find more structure in the way you approach your time on the net you’ll soon start finding the web your best ally in achieving your goals rather than a distraction from it.
I recently started using Evernote, see my Evernote Review. I have found this tool indispensible for capturing bits of text or even whole pages from sites I’d like to keep as reference. I highly recommend using Evernote to keep track of your reading material and even of your time online. Evernote’s biggest advantage is that everything is stored online so you can access your notes from virtually anywhere.
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