Zig Ziglar once said:
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
Each of us knows from our own experience that he’s damn right. The general flow of human life tends to be toward ease and comfort. It’s easier to sit on the couch and watch TV or surf on your phone than it is to get up, go outside and get some exercise done. Comfort is insidious. One day flows into the next, and many of us never quite get round to turning our good intentions into reality.
Have you heard that the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Those good intentions, while no doubt admirable, tend to remain unrealised mainly because they’re too vague. Vague ideas are impossible to focus on and aim for; they are moving targets. Do you have moving targets in your life? What are they? Perhaps you want to eat a more healthy diet or lose the winter weight that has crept up on you. Maybe you just want to establish a regular workout routine and stick with it this time.
The keys to your success are two-fold:
1. steady the target and
2. create momentum towards it.
How to stop a moving target
Imagine a target shooter trying to hit a small bull’s eye on a distant target. He begins to aim, but the target suddenly shoots to the right, and before he can position himself to aim again, it darts to the left. Will he ever hit that target? Not likely. (OK, maybe Mark Wahlberg could do it but other than that, I don’t think so…)
Without setting specific goals, your good intentions are exactly like that moving target. You would like to ‘lose some weight’, ‘feel a little better’, ‘make a change in your diet’… but without clearly defined goals and methods, you can’t focus and make it happen. There is nothing to work on.
The way to steady the target so you can finally hit the bull’s eye is to define your goals and write them down. Here’s what real goals need to look like:
I want to lose x Kg in the next y weeks.
I will only eat sugar twice a week, on z and q, starting from a.
I will go to the gym x days a week starting from y.
I will fit in a dress size b to go till the c party.
I want to start bench pressing x Kg more in y days.
Can you see the difference? It’s more specific. There are actual targets you can see here. Once you know where you want to end up, you’re much more likely to get there. Create momentum to reach your goals. However, you actually have to start moving toward your goals. Action is everything. This is where momentum comes in. In his book, Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy discusses the Momentum Principle of Success. In Tracy’s words, “This principle says that although it may take tremendous amounts of energy to overcome inertia and get started initially, it then takes far less energy to keep going.”
There is much wisdom in his words. Sometimes, the hardest part of reaching a goal is just getting started. That first day of doing things differently or the first experience of bypassing an unhealthy treat in favour of a food that will give you more energy can be daunting. It isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t fun… but it’s VITAL to get it done. So how do you get that momentum? How do you start moving?
Accountability is the answer. Having someone else involved in your efforts can be the most important factor in your success, which is why a great coach can be the difference between total success and complete failure. It’s hard to change lifelong habits on your own. You need radical motivation that comes from involving others in your efforts. Setting deadlines, making commitments and even entering contests all provide an external motivation that will carry you through even the toughest temptations. And once you get started, you will find that the momentum principle kicks in and it becomes easier and easier to keep going.
You can make that moving target come to a screeching halt and blast the bull’s eye right out of it by taking a few minutes to write down what you want. Again, don’t make your goals too broad. Be specific, and then begin brainstorming ways to get others involved with you; that will provide your momentum. Success is within your reach. You can do this!