The purpose of this post is to help you make your goals and aspirations more attainable and in turn, more possible in coming true. Whether you want to learn a new skill set like a new language or fly a plane, or if you want to reach your own personal goals, be they fitness (lose fat, gain muscle), learn to be a writer, etc., this posts aims to help.
First Things First: Who The Heck Do I Think I Am?
I am by no means a role-model who has climbed Everest, made my first million at the age of 18 or has expertise in any one field. In fact, I am one of the most flawed individuals in need of help I know.
I have, however, done a lot more than many. I taught myself guitar (just campfire good, but better than most) and a third language, Portuguese. This year I started on my path towards the American Dream; I started my own business. I have also faced some of my fears (learing to finally swim) and have become a faster reader and type at higher speeds. All these things did not just come to me. I worked on them and all had their difficulties. But I have had lots of success, and if you are interested in learning a few of my short cuts and most importantly, what not to do, then please read on.
Make Mistakes. It’s OK.
I have failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.
All the great home run hitters also have another stat that they lead in that no one likes to talk about; strikeouts. To succeed in anything you have to make mistakes. A lot of them. It is very uncomfortable and this discomfort, I believe, is the #1 reason people fail when trying new things. Why? Well tell me if you enjoy any of these things.
-Looking foolish to others as you struggle.
-Feeling dumb. Getting frustrated.
-Not making any perceived headway.
-After failing and failing, you try again and fail again.
Now imagine all this happening… everyday. Doesn’t sound like much fun does it? Well anyone who got good at anything had to go through all these trials and tribulations. And if you want to succeed at any of your goals, you will too. But I do have some good news. It’s not as bad as it seems.
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Reframing is a word that came from the NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) world. Basically, it means taking a different spin on things. I just like to think of it as, quit being such a negative Nancy and see the good in everything. This positive outlook spills over to other aspects in life, so that’s another plus.
If you are trying to learn a new skill set, like say, learning a new language, it’s easy to fall back on all the negative stuff. “Why can’t I remember that word?” “I can’t try my Spanish with a native speaker yet! I’ll look stupid!” “I just can’t learn a new language! Some people are better than others at learning that.” And the pity pot goes on and on and on.
Are some of those things true? Sure I guess. But you should look for other truisms as well. “When I DO learn that word I’m just that much closer to fluency!” “If I speak Spanish to her, I’m sure she’ll appreciate that I’m trying! Plus I get to meet new people, make them smile with the fact that I am trying to learn her culture, and if I do make mistakes, great! I know what not to do the next time!” “No one is hard-wired at any certain skill sets. If someone can do something, then I can too! There’s a term for people who think some are better than others… racists!” and so on. These are also a very much true and more so. Plus, they make you feel better, and are infinitely more likely to create results in your goal. After all, making excuses never got anyone anywhere.
Working For It Is Better Than Getting It
All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.
There’s an example that goes like this. You were dirt poor and worked your way through college and started your own business. It was hard and filled with more heartache than joy. After years of penny-pinching and sacrifice, you saved up enough money to buy your dream car, a Lamborghini. You also just happened to enter into a raffle and won the exact same car. You now have both in your garage. If one was stolen or destroyed, which one would hurt more? The first one right? It represents a whole lot more than just a car. That Lamborghini is your goal in a sense.
We respect men like Gandhi and Dr. King not jut because of what they taught, shared and believed, but because of the trials they went through. And they were both molded into the characters that we revere today because of those struggles.
You might think it’s unfortunate that we just can’t take a pill and in a few weeks lose all body fat and be ripped like 1980’s Schwarzenegger. I think it great. Good things come to those who work hard and when you reach any part of your goal, however small, you are doing more than the next man who just sits there and waits.
You Deserve Squat
Deserve your dream.
Most people think that life owes them something. It doesn’t and that’s a good thing! Someone is not spending their days working on a way to make you financially, physically, or emotionally healthier. “But I’m a good nice person!” Well the world is still going to run you over. “Well I’m a mean, defensive, bitchy person!” Well that same world is also going to run you over. You’re just going to be more miserable.
Nothing is just going to fall on your lap. It’s there though. All you gotta do is take it.
Gettin’ It Done
It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.
Now that we got the right state of mind, how does one exactly tackle these things? For starters, be stubborn.
I remember when I was learning guitar, man, I made a lot of people angry. I’d go everywhere with my guitar and play the same chords and the same song over, and over again. People would try to politely tell me to stop. But nope, I kept at it. My stubbornness was rewarded and I can pick up a guitar and play a thing or two. Am I good? Not really! Am I OK getting by and able to learn any song I wanted in a few weeks time? Sure. And none of that would’ve been possible had I not had a thick skull and brushed off the naysayers.
Just Do It!
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
Seems obvious right? Well most things are. Wishing to learn Japanese isn’t going to make it so. Reading about Hiragana, buying Manga, getting a Kanji tattoo, these are all superficial things. Get out there and freaking do it already! How ever small the step, it’s still a step. When you do hit a wall, get excited! You’ve done it before and know how great it feels.
Put Yourself Out There
Life is not accountable to us. We are accountable to life.
One of my favorite language learning books is Benny’s Fluent in 3-Months guide. One of the best bits of advice was to go out and make a language blog. The rational behind it is if you put yourself out there, you are more likely to do it. Seriously. Think about it for a second. I want you to think for a moment what goal, resolution, whatever!, you would like to accomplish or be better at by year’s end. Got it? Good. Go post it on facebook to all your friends and family to see. Not so ready to do that are you! You’re afraid that if you fail, everyone will hold you accountable. And that is exactly why you should. I’m not saying you start a language blog like I did, but I do think you should put yourself out there. It is a great motivator. And for those of you wondering, my goal is to learn Russian in 2011. So there.
Make Your Goals Smaller, More Realistic
To be realistic today is to be visionary. To be realistic is to be starry-eyed.
–Hubert H. Humphrey
And finally, the title of this post is, “Resolve To Not Have A Resolution” and I mean exactly that. Resolutions are usually these intangible, long away goals that are not very well planned out. I want to lose X pounds this year is too vague and too far away! You need to make your goals two things, a) shorter, and b) better defined.
There is nothing worse than a goal the size of twelve months! It starts plenty of bad habits. For one, there is no pressure to start. I mean, you have a year right? And if you do start right away, it’s easier to fall off. I mean, you have a year right? Goals should be a month-long, preferably a few days and weekly ones.
With Russian, I hope to have Comprehensive I of Russian Pimsleur done. However, if I get 10 to 15 of the 30 done, I’ll also be very happy. The point is, that’s more of a measuring point I would like to reach. What I plan to do is at least one hour (two half-hour units, the same one, twice a day) of Pimsleur a month. Will I have all 30 Units done or just 10? I’m not sure, but even if I just get up to 10 I will already be conversational! And that’s 10 more Units I have ever done and 10 more than you!
That’s All Folks!
And that’s about it. There are other things I did not go over and each of these things I touched on were so brief, each have had books written about them. But I hope this give you a primer on how and where to start.
The bad news is, you have the biggest hurdle in your way. You.
The good new is, you have the greatest ally in the world. You.