Friday, June 17, 2011

Set Real Goals for Real Success

By Joseph R. Byrd


We all have goals. At least we all have things we want to achieve. What is the difference? There is actually a big difference between a goal and something you want. Something you want can become a goal, but you have to make it a goal.

It takes a specific action in order to achieve something. There are the steps it takes to start moving in the direction you need to move. There are the many challenges that you will have to overcome and finally there are the ideas that you will need to generate in order to solve these problems and continue to progress despite the many challenges you face.

If you just want something, you can't possibly go through these steps. It takes more than wanting something to start making changes, analyze and overcome challenges. It takes more than just wanting something to achieve it.

What does it take? It takes a goal. Actually it takes a series of goals that will take you progressively through the steps you need to create new habits and change your lifestyle. But it all starts with one goal. If you have a goal, just one goal, you can achieve anything you want to achieve.

I know this may sound quite dreamy and even a little "pie in the sky", but in fact it is the exact opposite. The dream is for you to think that by wanting something you can have it. By simply wanting, hoping and wishing, you can and even feel that you should have something. That is the mindset that many people have these days and it is leading us down the wrong path.

What path is that? Well, health is my thing. I think it, talk it and live it every day. Naturally, the path I am talking about is the health of the average person. I don't have to site statistics or show you any scary details about what is happening right now. You know as well as I do that our country is suffering from many epidemics that we have brought on ourselves. We brought them on ourselves despite knowing exactly what we need to do to stop them.
We can prevent everything we are dealing with if we can change our mindset. Right now our mindset is something like this:

"I want to live a healthy lifestyle."
"I want to look and feel good."
"I want to live a long and happy life."
"I want to hear good news when I go to the doctor."
"I only want to see the doctor for routine check-ups to make sure everything is STILL GOOD."

These are all great things to want. They are even great things to say. They are statements that we are all saying every day. Unfortunately, they are rarely goals. They are nothing more than statements about things we want. The things we want are important, but at this point, they don't seem to be important enough to achieve.

We all want to make these statements true. What will it take to start achieving these things and making them true? It will take goals. Each of these statements is an opportunity to set a goal. A goal is nothing more than a destination or a point that you desire to reach. In health it may be a weight, size or simply a feeling. It can also be a specific number of days, hours or even minutes of exercise. A goal can be eating a certain food or not eating at a certain restaurant. No matter what you want to achieve, there is a goal that can help you achieve it.

What happens if we don't set real goals? Well, that is even more simple that when we do set goals. There are very few options here. When you don't have a goal, you don't succeed. That is all there is to it. Can you take a trip without a destination? Well, you can certainly drive around, but until you decide where you are going, you aren't really going anywhere. Don't get me wrong, when it comes to life, I am an "enjoy the journey" person. I am certainly enjoying the ride as I go, but I am on my way to somewhere that will bring me great satisfaction.

This is where most people get hung up and give up on their goals. They look at the destination and feel like it is too far away to reach. It is easier to say, "I would love to be there." but it is more challenging to say, "I want to be there and I will take action in order to get there."

That is the difference between wanting something and having a goal. When you have a goal, you have a plan to get something. When you just want something, you are not taking the steps needed to actually get it. You have to want something before you can decide to take action, so it is a good thing when you can identify something you want.

When you want something enough, you will take the steps necessary to get it. When you really want to achieve something, you will set a goal to get started in that direction. The most common mistake that people make is trying to look at each achievement as something that they have to do in one step or with one goal. Actually, most habits are many goals wrapped into an entire series of habits. Once you set one goal and start making progress, you can handle each challenge as it comes. If you just sit back and hope that something will happen, you will keep seeing the whole picture and it will never appear to get easier. It will always look like this big daunting thing that you don't think you can realistically achieve.

Once you can set a goal, even one goal, you are able to start breaking down each thing you want and taking it step by step. Nothing worth doing is easy. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that living healthy is easy and you should be able to do it with no problems. That would be mean and would actually keep you in the mindset that it can't be done.

In fact, that is happening all over the country as we speak. Someone just read another article or saw another report on what they should be doing. The remembered that they are not doing it and it felt even further from reality when they saw yet another story about how they should be able to do it. The reality is, we know what we should be doing. We know what we can do and we want to do it, but we are not doing it because we have yet to go beyond wanting.

We are still making statements about what we want, but we are not taking action. Once you take action, you can take statements like this:

"I want to live a healthy lifestyle."
"I want to look and feel good."

You can turn these statements into real action. The difference between wanting and doing is the practice of setting a goal. These statements can be goals with some slight adjustments. They could look like these instead:

"I am going to exercise before work on one day."
"I am going to bring lunch from home a few days this week so that I don't eat fast food everyday."

These statements are simple. They don't take a ton of effort, but they will make a big impact on your lifestyle. If you can make these statements, you are on the right track to setting real goals. If you can make these statements true, you are achieving those goals and succeeding.

What is the difference between simply wanting something and actually achieving it? It comes back to goals. Wanting something is great. We all want things in life. Some of us are getting what we want, while others just keep on wanting.

The only difference is goals. Setting a goal means that you are actually going to do something to get what you want. If you set a goal and reach a goal, you are succeeding. So when you break it down, setting real goals leads to real success.

Business Health Expert Joe Byrd uses his passion and expertise to bring business and health together. He integrates health education in lifestyle topics such as Stress Management, Weight Management, and Smoking Cessation into businesses in order to accomplish the following:

Improving Employee Health
Decreasing Health Care Spending
Increasing Your Employee Productivity
Improving Employee Satisfaction and Retention

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