Any goal is realistic with an intelligent plan to accomplish it.
That’s a phrase I use in every goal achievement presentation and is the subtext on the slide from the below picture…
It's true. I would wager almost ANY goal you've ever thought about in your life IS realistic. An intelligent plan makes it so.
(if you missed it in a prior email, this is a foundational component of "SMART Goals" vs "DUMB Goals")
Why, then, don't we accomplish all of our goals?
Because planning the work is only half the battle. We have to also work the plan.
This can be hard. Often times, REALLY hard.
Not complex, but hard.
I'm writing this post because I've had 18 speaking engagements in the last 6 weeks. When you interact with this many people, patterns start to emerge. People talking about closing 2022 strong, starting 2023 fast, etc.
I encourage everyone to set a goal without restrictions. Something that speaks to you and is absent of societal pressure. Something that you truly want.
Then create the intelligent plan. Map out how you can bring it to fruition.
Now comes the PIVOTAL point where you have to be real and honest with yourself...
Do you want to follow this plan?
Another favorite phrase:
Lots of people want a gold medal but very few people want to train like an Olympian.
And here's where I'll go in a different direction than you're anticipating...
It's OK to say, "Ya know, I'm ok with a silver or bronze. That gold medal training program seems a little over the top."
You might not realize this, but if you geek out over peak performance psychology like I do, you make this decision almost entirely on the teeter-totter of three different "pains":
Outcome Pain: the perception that you do all the work and, in the end, it wasn't worth it. Juice wasn't worth the squeeze.
Loss Pain: what you have to give up to get something. The sacrifice and price of admission is real.
Pain of the Unknown: the possibility that when things get hard, you'll quit. No one wants to face the realization that they're not enough (false narrative, by the way).
There are ways to combat these three different pains that we'll cover in another post but I can give you an example from my own life:
I've never qualified for the Ironman World Championships (in Kona). Closest I got was missing by 10 minutes in my 4th Ironman Wisconsin.
I could very easily create an intelligent plan for me to be able to take 10 minutes off of my best time...but I'm at a different place in my life right now.
I'm enjoying building my speaking business, working with amazing coaching clients, writing books, and spending time with family & friends (while trying to stay sane!). I will continue to do events like Triple Bypass and Twin Cities Marathon, but qualifying for Kona is simply not a priority for me right now. The Loss Pain, in particular, is too great.
I'd urge you to approach your goals the same way. To simply summarize:
1. Set a goal free of psychological and societal limitations
2. Create an intelligent plan to accomplish it
3. Study the plan and ask honestly whether you'll follow it
4. Return to Step 1 or get to work 🙂