How to Reach a Goal

So, you’ve set a goal for yourself. Splendid. Goals are wonderful things. Goals give our lives purpose and direction. They compel us to challenge ourselves and to develop our knowledge and abilities. They help us achieve things that look good on resumes and help us score chicks/dudes.

Of course, to reap the illustrious benefits of goals, we must reach them. How do we do that? Just follow these two steps.

1. Find out what you need to do to reach your goal.

2. Do those things.

Simple, right? And yet, a surprising number of people don’t do these two things. They seem to believe that they only need to show up, and whatever skill and knowledge they need to succeed will come to them. In short, they think things will work out because they want them to. Not actually true.

Achieving a goal is like baking a cake. Can you bake a cake by just buying a box of cake mix? Of course not. You have to find out what ingredients you need, what tools are required, how much time it’s going to take, and if you are willing and able to execute the instructions. In other words, you have to (step 1 above) find out what you need to do to bake the cake (i.e. achieve your goal).

Once you’ve completed step 1, you can move on to step two: Do those things.

What are those things? Many of them depend on your specific goal. What you need to do to, say, write a novel differs from what you need to do to run a marathon (obviously). However, it turns out that no matter what your goal is, there are three things you will always have to do to achieve your goal.

***Work hard. Harder than you think you have to.***

Most people know — in theory — that they will have to work hard to get where they want to go. What they don’t seem to know is just how hard they will have to work. Too many of us subscribe to a tacit belief that if we’re good at something, if we’re meant to achieve it, it’ll come easily to us. Wrong! Talent withers without hard work, and goals along with it. In other words, if you’re not sweating and struggling and occasionally feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re not really working hard, and if you’re not working hard, you’re not progressing toward your goal.

***Seek and accept help. ***

Here’s the place where lots and lots of folks get tripped up. Generally speaking, most of us don’t like to accept help. It makes us feel weak or vulnerable. Or maybe we feel like the achievement isn’t really ours if we don’t accomplish it alone. Let me be the first to tell you that’s a heaping load of bull-pucky. No one (I repeat) NO ONE reaches any goal without help. There are always many someones, often unrecognized, supporting, advising, teaching, providing for, even loving and caring for us. Therefore, there is no shame in seeking assistance. Indeed, if you’re serious about reaching your goal, about being the best you can be, you will do whatever it takes to get there — even and especially accepting help.

***Don’t give up. ***

This one is a no brainer. If you give up, then you don’t reach your goal. If you keep going, you’ll get there. It really is that simple. But make no mistake, it won’t be easy. You will struggle. You will fail. Things won’t work out exactly as you planned. But failure doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up and leave, that your dream isn’t meant to be. Failure is an inherent part of every journey. It’s the ruts in every path. Often failure is our most skilled teacher, the very one that propels us to the next level. And the only thing that teacher requires, is that we get back up when we fall — and keep going.

So there it is. Everything you need to know to reach a goal. All the critical things you need to do to achieve your dream. Oh, all except for one…

Start!