I recently stumbled across a great goal setting website called 43 things.
It allows you to list your goals, share your progress and encourage others to do the same.
Better still, people who have achieved the same goal that you are currently after can tell you how they did it and what made a difference to them!
When I’m on 43 things, it’s like I’m on facebook. The only difference is I’m not wasting time looking at random photos and thinking about what to update my status to. Instead, I’m setting goals and getting inspired about my life (which is a way more productive use of my time if you ask me).
The basic idea behind the website is simple: if you write your goals down in a list, then you’re half way there to achieving them.
Sounds too simple? Too good to be true? Well, maybe that’s a little oversimplified but I love the basic idea behind the site.
My only gripe is often we set goals for ourselves and then feel completely overwhelmed by them. The website doesn’t really appear to go into detail about how to maximise your chances of actually achieving the goals written on your list.
‘How will I get from here (where I am now – thesis not finished) to over there (where I want to be – thesis finished)? It seems all too hard!’ is what goes through my mind nearly every day.
No, I’m not binging on hungry jacks. The whopper is symbolic.
Years ago (when I was feeling overwhelmed by a big project) a friend sat me down and said:
Friend: ‘Jane, how would you normally eat a burger?’
Me: ‘I guess I’d press down the top first…’
Friend: ‘Yeah and what else would you do?’
Me: ‘I’d take a bite…’
Friend: ‘And then what?’
Me: ‘umm…if it tasted good, I’d take another bite’
Friend: ‘You wouldn’t put the whole thing in your mouth at once would you?’
Me: ‘No, that would be stupid…I’d feel sick and bloated..’
My friend went on to tell me that the burger represents my long term goal (the project I am working on) and the bites out of the burger are my short term goals. It’s only through taking one bite at a time that I’d be able to eat the whole burger. The thing is all those little bites add up.
That image of the burger has stayed with me ever since. I now know that if I want to achieve a goal, I need to break it down into all the little action steps. A mind map usually does the trick.
Then of course, I need to take action.
But where do I start?
David Allen in his book ‘How to get things done’ recommends we ask ourselves ‘What’s the next action I can take to move me forward on this project?’
So in a nutshell: Write it down, break it down, ask yourself ‘What’s next?’ and then do it.