How To [Insert Your Biggest Dream Here]

No, this article is not about how to insert your biggest dream here. The title is my attempt at being witty and clever. You’ll figure it out. Many of us get big ideas. I get them almost daily it seems. Very few of us act on our big ideas. Even fewer carry out the ideas to completion. We get excited and start working feverishly on our new project. There is a rush. We get a burst of energy and go to work. This excitement fades quickly sometimes and other times we can sustain the motivation for a while. In almost any case the motivation fades. Successful people are those who can overcome this process and stay dedicated. We all (anyone reading this blog) want to be awesome. If you don’t that’s okay but you might as well leave now because I mostly want to talk about how to be awesome.

My Bad Example: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Last October I had a great idea for a website. It was going to be amazing. It is called CraftBattles.com The idea started from wanting to take our annual pumpkin carving contest online so friends and family all over the country could participate. Then I thought, what if I did a different contest every season such as gingerbread houses, easter eggs, etc. Then I took it a step further and thought I should open it up to all crafts and just leave it up and restart it every once in a while. I worked hard in October to get the site working and get friends and family to submit their photos. Things were going good and traffic was on the rise. I even decided to make it easy to share your craft on facebook for your friends to come vote for. It was perfect and it was going to go viral. Guess what. The site has been up for nearly 6 months and has done practically nothing for the past 5 months. Could this site be big? Sure. Was it a bad idea? Maybe. There are a lot of reason why it hasn’t succeeded. One being that I haven’t followed through. The site is very basic and could use some real improvement. I did the minimum necessary to get it functioning and little else to improve the usability. I also gave up quickly on getting the word out. My plan was to visit craft bloggers and start getting the word out. The biggest problem is I am not crafty and the subject doesn’t interest me all that much. I was looking for an easy win and when it didn’t take off I gave up.

We want the world! We want to have the next million dollar idea, get six pack abs and change the world. This is a good thing. But…

You Gotta Want It

This is simple yet I often skip this step. Did I really want a website about crafts? Probably not. I just wanted to create a site that would go viral and see if I could make a few bucks. I am not a crafter. Money usually isn’t the best motivating factor. Really try to imagine your new and improved life and what it takes to get there. You may want some of the perceived benefits of reaching your goal but deep down inside you may not want to reach your goal. I can say I want a chiseled physique but when I come across guys who spend their life in the gym and are 100% dedicated to getting that physique I can’t really say I want to live their life. I just want the results.

The REAL Secret

If you have determined that you truly have found goal worth pursuing, congratulations! You are now ready to make it happen. Now go and buy every book on the subject, spend all day reading blogs about it, Cut pictures out of a magazine, Sit and think about it every waking moment, if you think about it enough and stay completely positive and don’t doubt; it will magically just happen. Hold on, hold on. I’m kidding! I hope you don’t buy that garbage.

Be realistic about how long it will take to achieve your goals. Set a deadline to shoot for. Begin the planning process. Like I said, most people lose steam between 1-4 weeks. Pathetic, I know. So in your planning you need to break down your goal to something reasonable you can accomplish this week. Something very small that you know without a doubt you will be able to do. This can be difficult because we have a lot of excitement and we may be tempted to set a big goal the first week. We might say, “I am going to blog, vlog, tweet, run, lift weights every day this week!” And, we may have the motivation to do it. Slow down, slow down! Well, disclaimer first: It is possible to go full steam ahead right away and make it but this is only in rare cases and with rare people. I’m not going to stop you. But believe me, I’ve done this too many times and failed. What really works is setting yourself success in small increments. This week do just a little more than you did last week. If you did nothing last week do very little this week and when you do reward yourself. Pat yourself on the back. Feel good about actually doing something no matter how small it may seem. Accomplishment feeds your motivation. Plan your first several weeks so that you improve every single week. Don’t worry so much about the end goal. Just focus on improving each week however small the improvement may be and celebrate those improvements.

If you don’t accomplish your goal on a given week don’t repeat the same week. Repeat the previous week. You already know you can do it. You need to prove to yourself you haven’t lost what you have built so far. Really try to set your first goals so that you don’t reach this point until you are at least 8 weeks into it. If you have improved every week for 8 weeks and properly celebrated you will be much more prepared to handle a small set back. If you have a set back the first week you either set a bad goal or you skipped the first step of this process and you really really have the wrong goal.

A Good Example

I ran a half marathon almost 5 years ago. When I started training I think I could barely run two miles. I found a program where I know I could make it to week 4 and was pretty sure that if I made it that far I could make it to the end. I then found a race that was scheduled a week or two after I would complete my training plan. Roughly every week I added a mile to my long Saturday run. I did have a setback or two but they didn’t happen until I had already reached the half way point. I wasn’t going to give up then. It was a great feeling to know that I had followed through with my plan and reached my goal. I also lost about 25 lbs in the process which was an extra bonus!

Do you want to help me reach another goal? Click to tweet 😀