The Rainbow of Goal Realization: Yes!

In any given day, we make hundreds, maybe thousands, of decisions. We say “yes” to everything from showing up for work to taking on a new project to staying up late (or getting up early) in order to finish something that needs to be done. It is that same decision-making ability, that same determination, that same will to say YES! that is a necessary part of reaching a goal.

Last week, we talked organization, the second step in The Rainbow of Goal Realization. We broke our goal into smaller, more manageable pieces. We took an honest look at our calendars and set some deadlines. We considered our time, envisioned our pathway, and planned our route. Today we’re going to take that one step further.

Although this is the third step in the process, it really goes hand in hand with organization. All the strategizing and scheduling and organizing in the world won’t produce progress on a goal unless we commit to saying YES! to that goal.

It’s saying, “YES! I can do this.” “YES! I want to do this.” “YES! I will do this.” It’s saying YES! to showing up when we’re motivated to move and even more so on those days when we’re really not feeling it. It’s continuing to say YES! when results take longer than we hoped, when we run into obstacles, when we hit a plateau.

Of course making time for and saying YES! to this new thing may also mean saying no or not right now to an old thing. It may mean learning a different routine, changing some habits, retraining a mindset. That’s one of the hardest parts of striving for goals, but it’s also one of the biggest benefits because it forces us out of our comfort zone and into a place of growth.

The length of time between the day I said I wanted to write a novel and the day I finally said I have written one was way longer than it needed to be. It took me years because in the first many months, I wasn’t saying YES! to that goal. It was something I truly wanted to accomplish and something that, for the most part, I thought I was capable of doing. But in those early days and months and years, my YES! was more of a maybe. Or whenever I get around to it. Or someday when I don’t have other things vying for my time.

But guess what? Those whenevers and somedays don’t happen unless we consistently say YES! to making them happen. So if you want to realize your goal. If you want to see growth and change and movement in your life, then just say YES!

In my last series, The ABCs of a Purposeful WIP, I started using the phrase progress is possible. And I believe more than ever that that’s true. Progress IS possible, but we must be purposeful, we must say YES! to make it happen.

The Rainbow of Goal Realization: Organization

If you accepted my challenge in last week’s blog post (or from the Facebook video), then you are in possession of your own personal mission statement, detailing the what and why of your current goal. You’ve identified what your goal is, why you want to achieve it, and what you hope to gain by achieving it. And now you’re ready to move on to the next step in The Rainbow of Goal Realization: organization.

Although some goals can be one-time objectives that we often check off in one fell swoop, most that are centered on personal or professional growth are complex, long-term aims that are easier to achieve when broken down into multiple, smaller chunks. Doing this helps sharpens our focus and lessens the chance of overwhelm, thereby increasing the likelihood of success. This is why organization is so important.

So, using my goal of traditionally publishing my novel as an example, here are a few tips to get yourself organized and goal-oriented:

  1. Divide your larger vision into several, more digestible pieces. Being as detailed as you can, take some time to jot down and order all the necessary, smaller components that, together, will lead you to your larger goal. Since I’ve already completed my novel manuscript and compiled a list of literary agents I want to query, my next few steps include: writing a query letter, creating a synopsis, and sending my submission package to those literary agents.
  2. Take an honest look at your schedule. Decide how much time you really have to devote to this goal each day, week, or month. If you’re already swamped, that may mean working in shorter bursts and just being okay with taking a little longer than someone else might. I’m often overly optimistic about how quickly I can complete something, but I am learning to both accept and plan for my slower pace. Fortunately, when it comes to our goals, we get to set the timeline. The important thing is to focus on our own abilities and run our own race.
  3. Set a target completion date for each smaller goal. Now that you know how much dedicated attention your schedule can tolerate, you can make estimates for how much time to allow for each step and then set a completion date to aim for. As an added reminder and incentive, go ahead and pencil in these target dates on your calendar or even note them on the mission statement that you created last week.
  4. Make adjustments as necessary. Life happens and although we can’t be fully prepared for the unexpected, we can roll with it without letting it completely derail us. There also may be some necessary adjustments if your goal involves doing things you’ve never done before and therefore you’re not exactly sure how long they will take. I’ve never researched literary agents before, so the two weeks I slated for completing that task turned out to be a vast underestimation. I also had the holidays and travel and time with family to account for, so my original target date for finishing my query letter and synopsis has been amended to February 7, pushing my first round of agent submissions to February 10. The bottom line is we need to be okay with losing a little momentum because of things that are out of our control, but not okay with losing it completely. It may take some time, but it is possible to find that sweet spot between flexibility and firmness.

Most goals are more like marathons than sprints. You don’t reach the finish line without preparation. It takes organization and planning and really even a little training (or retraining) as committing ourselves to complete a goal often requires the formation of new habits and new mindsets.

So my challenge for you this week is to again find some quiet time and get yourself organized, get a plan in place, and get yourself one step closer to realizing your goal.

The Rainbow of Goal Realization: Reason

Let’s talk about goals. Do you set them? Struggle to set them? Avoid setting them? Maybe you’re like me and setting them is the easy part, and it’s the follow through that often trips you up. Or maybe you don’t even bother because there never seems to be enough time in the day for such things.

Wherever you stand on the goal-setting front, I’m here to tell you that in the last year and a half I have come to know just how important goals are. Not only do they give us direction, but they create opportunities for intentionality and produce a sense of purpose. And when we achieve them, we are rewarded with feelings of accomplishment, boosted confidence, and an increased knowledge of our capabilities, which gives us the courage to reach toward another goal.

But again, it’s that achievement part that’s tough. I struggled for years to move past setting (and failing to meet) writing goals, to frequently surpassing them. How did I do it? If you had asked me then, I would have fired off a bulleted list of self-improvement topics that look a lot like those I discussed during The ABCs of a Purposeful WIP series. Accountability, consistency, faith, etc.

As I’ve thought about it further, though, I’ve recognized my own pathway toward reaching my goals has been as simple as following the rainbow. The Rainbow of Goal Realization, that is. Last week I introduced you to the seven steps involved (employing the colors of the rainbow mnemonic device Roy G. Biv): reason, organization, yes, go, become, inspire, victory.

Today, we’re going to take that first step. Today, we are going to define our reason for wanting to achieve this particular goal. Our reason, or our WHY, will serve as an important reminder throughout this entire process. It’s the motivation that will propel us forward when we hit a roadblock, pick us up when we fall, and get us back on track when we lose our way.

To figure out your reason (if you don’t already know what it is), here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. Make sure your reason is indeed yours. Doing something because someone else wants you to or thinks you should (or even because he/she thinks you can’t) will not generally provide enough incentive to see a goal through to fruition. Goals based on someone else’s opinions or desires can create feelings of bitterness and resentment, and while those types of emotions can provide fuel for a time, they often don’t last for the long haul. So find a quiet moment or two and really listen to what that little inner, super honest voice is telling you about this goal. If your heart isn’t in it, if the desire to go after it doesn’t belong to you, it might be wise to consider a different aim.
  2. Transform your reason into a mission statement. This statement is really just a short sentence that identifies: what your goal is, why you want to achieve it, and what you hope to gain by achieving it.
  3. Write down your mission statement. We humans are forgetful creatures and we often need all the help we get can to remember what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. If you’re comfortable doing so, sharing your mission statement with others who are encouraging and supportive of your goal, will also add a level of accountability. If not, simply posting it someplace that’s private but where you will see it every day can be enough to keep it on the forefront of your mind.

As an example, I have two long-term-ish goals that I am working toward in 2020. One is personal, one is professional. My professional goal is to traditionally publish my novel. My personal goal is to simplify my life of extraneous physical and mental clutter. I have developed two separate mission statements for each goal:

I am working toward traditional publication for my novel because words are important to me and by sharing mine I hope to add joy and inspiration to the lives of those who read them.

I am removing the unnecessariness from my life because it is through simplicity that I will create space for stillness in order to hear God’s guidance for where I may be of service.

Those are my mission statements for my current goals. What is/are yours? My challenge to you this week is to take some time to figure it out. Define your reason and create your mission statement. Bravely and boldly take that first step toward realizing your goal.

The Rainbow of Goal Realization

You don’t have to hang out with me long to know that I love alliteration. I love the rhythm of alliterative words and how they add a poetic flourish to phrases. How they dance across a page, roll off the tongue, and more importantly, how easy they are to remember.

My last series, The ABCs of a Purposeful WIP, was an alliterative dream. I talked about Acknowledging Accountability and Navigating Negativity and Waking up to Worth. All the things that I either struggled with or found helpful in making progress on both my manuscript WIP and myself as a human WIP.

I also love color. As a kid I dreamed of living in a house with siding planks painted in repeating shades of the rainbow. Since that hasn’t happened (yet), I’m satisfying my kiddie self by calling on a popular mnemonic device to take us through my next series. You may recall Roy G. Biv as the helpful tool many of us learned as children to remember the colors of the rainbow—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

However, for my purposes, Roy G. Biv stands for:

  • Reason
  • Organization
  • Yes!
  • Go!
  • Become
  • Inspire
  • Victory

Altogether, this creates The Rainbow of Goal Realization. Over the next seven weeks, I’ll be digging deeper into these topics, devoting a blog post and a Facebook video (posted every Wednesday) to each one. So if you have a goal you’ve been wanting to achieve but you’ve found it difficult to get started (or maybe you don’t even know how/where to start), be sure to check in again next week as we dive into that first step: reason.

Until then, if you missed out on the last series, you can find all those videos on my Facebook page. Or if you prefer to read them, they are available here on the blog under the category The ABCs of a Purposeful WIP.