Recently, I announced I will be publishing the second edition of my popular Your Digital Life book later this year, an edition I am really looking forward to publishing as it brings my first productivity and life success book up to date and allows me to improve the content and to show you how best to get the most out of the digital devices we all carry around with us every day.
During the research and planning process, I wanted to come up with a way to help people memorise the key components to achieving their goals and to help them create a life of success. Most people already understand they need to plan their goals. Whether they use the SMART goals system (Specific, Measured, Achievable, Results and Timed) or the more simple What | Why | How the process of creating goals is quite easy. This is the easiest part of setting and achieving goals. What is difficult is actually achieving them. What do you need in order to achieve the goals you set for yourself? How do you stay motivated when things plateau or you don’t hit your milestones? This is an area I have been researching and found there are four things required if you want to stick with and achieve your goals. They also conveniently form the acronym “PACT” which stands for Patience, Action, Consistency and Time.
Worthwhile goals require patience. If you were to set out to get yourself a graduate degree, you are not going to enrol one day and the next day pick up your degree certificate. It is going to take three to four years before you finally graduate from college. Whatever your goal is, patience is a vital ingredient. Without patience, you will find yourself quitting well before you get close to the finish line. Before you leave the start line, you need to understand that achieving your goal is going to take a tremendous amount of patience and if you mentally prepare yourself for that before you start, you are going to go a long way towards reducing the risk of quitting when things slow down.
Once you have decided what your goal is, you need to do something. There will be no success unless you take action towards achieving your goal. This could be reading around the subject, actually going out and doing some form of exercise, or learning the new skills you will need to achieve the goal. Action is the key component in achieving anything. I often see many people spending a disproportionate amount of time planning and not doing any action at all to achieve their goal. Without any kind of action, you will fail. Your actions, whatever they are, need to be built into your day, every day. If you are not taking any kind of action regularly, you are not going to move any closer towards your goal.
With action, you also need consistency. If your goal is to complete a full course marathon by the end of the year, you are going to have to go out running three to four times a week for several months. The action of going out running consistently applied over a period of time will result in the completion of the full course marathon. Running six time one week and then not running at all for the next five weeks will not result in a successfully completed marathon. I can assure you, the whole event will be a nightmare and incredibly painful. (I have personal experience on that one) The same applies to completing your degree, you need to attend lectures and study consistently if you want to achieve your graduation certificate. That consistent action is how you properly prepare for a marathon and how you do the required studying and reading in order to pass the exams to get your degree certificate.
The final part of this equation is time. You need to allow yourself sufficient time in order to complete whatever you want to complete. If your goal is to lose 20 kilograms in weight, you need to remember you did not gain that weight overnight. It happened over a period of years. To lose it is not going to happen overnight either. You are going to have to set a realistic time frame. To lose 20 kilos is going to take several months to do safely. Time is always going to be a factor in any goal achievement. Be realistic, then add a little extra time. There inevitably will be slips up, delays and mishaps. Allow for them when you set your time frame.
When you put these four parts together with the goals you set for yourself, you are setting yourself up for tremendous success. The reason most people fail at achieving their goals is not the planning part, quite often the problem is they spend far too much time planning. The reason is they never start. You need to get out of the planning stage as fast as you can so you can start taking consistent action.
Many people feel every step towards achieving their goals have to be meticulously planned out. This is not true. You can always adjust your course as you go along. When planes fly between continents they are often blown off course by the prevailing winds. The computers and the pilots are constantly making tiny adjustments to their course so they arrive safely at their predetermined destination. These planes have a goal, the destination, they know how long the journey will take and they know that to arrive safely they cannot take any shortcuts, they follow the predetermined plan and make adjustments as necessary. You should be doing the same. Review your goals on a weekly basis and make any necessary adjustments when required. The planning stage gave you your destination, now it is time to take action, consistently, patiently and by allowing sufficient time to successfully achieve your goals.
Good luck and if you want more details on achieving your goals I do have an online course you can take that will help you to set clear achievable goals. You can also download the free iPhone and Computer wallpapers for PACT right here.
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Carl Pullein is a personal development and productivity specialist, presenter and author of Working With Todoist: The Book as well as Your Digital Life, a book about using your technology to achieve greater productivity. Carl works with clients all over the world to help them focus on the things that are important to them and to become more successful, productive and creative.