A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today

West point R day

R-day Class of ’80

At the end of Beast, New Cadet Training, we assembled for a lecture. Jubilant at having survived this formidable introduction to West Point, we were soon put in our places. Colonel Kirby projected a bar graph showing our progress as cadets within the total USMA experience. After the hardest 7 weeks of my life, the segment we had completed was a sliver of time.  A month and a half out of the 47 months until graduation represented minuscule progress and barely registered on the chart. How disheartening… The point of the lecture is lost, but the memory of that demoralizing episode has lasted through the years.

Jan 16 any roadI believe in goals. As Lewis Carroll said in Alice in Wonderland,
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, sets a challenge for himself each year to learn new things. He picked two goals for 2016:  to create an artificial intelligence assistant and to run 365 miles (a fitness challenge he opened to all–sign up on Facebook). His previous goals have included: wear a tie to work every day, learn Mandarin,  eat only animals he killed himself, code every day, meet a new person outside of Facebook every day, write a thank-you note a day, and read a book per week.
Mark Zuckerberg provides a good example of how to set goals. He (or someone) published them. They are focused and specific. And given his business background, he is using social media for accountability and help achieving his running goal.
Here are tips for setting achievable goals.
  • Take baby steps. Start small. While it’s great to have lofty goals, it’s important to set intermediate steps to mark the way. When volunteering in my son’s 3rd grade classroom one year, I recall a little girl stating her goal was to lose weight. This was a bad idea for several reasons: she looked to be normal size and she was an 8 year old. Also, a goal of “losing weight” is too vague. How do you know when you’ve achieved it?
  • Be specific. Make your goals attainable and reasonable.
  • Focus on just one thing at a time.
  • Write it down.
  • Make it public. Share your resolutions with others.
  • Assemble a community for support. Pair up with an accountability partner or crew
  • Put a system in place to support your progress. Establish practices or triggers that act as reminders.

jan 16 goals card

Jan 16 let goYou might use your goal or resolution as a theme for the new year. Figure out a word, phrase or object that will remind you of your emphasis. And share it with others and with us (comment below or on Facebook). What annual challenge are you going to pursue with extreme focus? What is one action you can take immediately to bring your goal to life? Let us begin.


© Joan S Grey, 8 Jan 2016

One thought on “A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today

  1. Pingback: THE TOP 2 WAYS TO GET YOUR BLOG READ | IndexCardCure™

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