Five-year-old Jakie was ambitious. In 2019 he made a goal to count to 50. He mastered counting to 15. When he sat with his mother to make goals for 2020, he only wanted to make a goal to count to 25, not 50. He insisted on backing off his “aggressive” goal.

Have you ever had the Jakie syndrome? Do you ever want to give yourself a “break” and back off your goals? That is called stop trying. I believe people don’t fail, they stop taking action steps. 

From the many time management and goal setting workshops I have conducted, I believe there is a need to understand how to set realistic goals with realistic time frames balancing, of course, realism with the courage to act.

Some consultants equate REALISTIC with goals set low enough that you can easily reach them or that you can’t possibly fail to reach. Few individuals or companies would thrive in the marketplace if they set goals that were easy to achieve, goals that guaranteed no failure. On the other hand, unrealistic goals quickly fall by the wayside and discouragement sets in.

When you set goals that are low enough to easily reach, you take courage and the commitment to act off the table. When you have courage and take action on realistic goals, you experience small episodes of success as you inch toward the finish line, making you more confident. It is important to combine a BIG dream with hard work and realistic mini-steps to make that vision a reality. Courage to act on daily action steps gives you confidence.

At a recent conference, I listened to Bill Bonstetter, the president of Target Training International, an assessment company. He made the statement that he didn’t make New Year’s resolutions but he makes yearly goals. Since most New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside by mid-January, his statement made a lot of sense to me.

What might be missing in your New Year’s resolutions are the written steps with deadlines that build mental commitment and make the resolutions become reality. Typically, New Year’s resolutions are nothing but statements and if you are normal, you think New Year’s Resolutions will become a reality by just making the statement or uttering the words. But a New Year’s resolution is only an intention, a glimmer in the eye, perhaps even a promise to yourself. The question is how do you move from the intention, the dream, to actualization? For most people there is a huge chasm between intention and actualization, requiring the services of a team of engineers to build a bridge between the two.

You make the intention, the promise become reality by turning the idea into a goal statement and then breaking it down into specific and measurable steps, using the acronym SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based.

We may debate the Achievable and Realistic aspects of goal setting, but not the Specific, Measurable and Time-Based. These three elements are crucial to overcome the Jakie syndrome and to make every year a year of achievement.

I recently watched a news program anchor interview a personal fitness coach. The coach said, “Don’t make a goal to lose weight [that is pretty generic] but make a goal to walk 1000 steps a day.” Of course the goal is to gradually increase the amount of steps you take in any given day but a goal of at least 1000 steps per day is  specific, can be measured – either you did it or you didn’t – and time-based – it occurs every day.

You could park at the far end of the parking lot, take the stairs or have a walking meeting. All of these will help you in your goal of walking 1000 steps each day and getting in shape.

Here are a couple of sites to help you establish a good pattern for walking:

Making your goals time-based takes effort and an investment of your personal time. To summarize, it means breaking the goal statements into action steps and giving each step a deadline on your calendar whether that is Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar or another tool that has proliferated as an app.

It is important to note that the thought sequence goes from left to right and the action sequence goes from right to left as seen in this illustration:

This is a simplistic graphic but it puts across the point of breaking your goals down into baby steps, tasks you can do in 5-10 minutes.

For more information on setting and getting goals, contact Brandau Power Institute at 770-923-0883.

What are your dreams? Can you turn those dreams into goals by using the suggestions in this article?

I recommend setting only 2-3 goals that are aggressive, ambitious and will take you to the next level of achievement both in your personal life and in your career.

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