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Two Things You Need to Get on Track

December 2, 2011
Every morning I get a couple of emails from the folks at Early to Rise. Today they had a great article on goal setting. Here’s part of it:
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Two Things You Need to Get on Track
By Ryan Murdock

One of the most common questions I get about goal setting is: “Okay, I’ve mapped my goal but how do I make progress? I do well for a couple days but then I fall off track.”

It’s actually pretty simple if you implement these two practices: deadlines and accountability.

Now wait a second before you have a knee jerk reaction to the word “deadline.” I’m not talking about the crap we used to suffer at school. I never did homework and I’m not about to shove it on you either. I’m talking about deadlines that YOU set in place because you’re working on a goal YOU want to achieve.

Deadlines force you to get serious, to meet your targets, and to own up when you’re not staying true to your plan. Without firm deadlines it’s too easy to make excuses, to get caught up in endless email checking loops, or to sidetrack yourself with busywork that has nothing to do with your goal.

The thing about deadlines, though, is that you actually have to mean it. It’s no good setting deadlines if you’re going to fluff them off every time. “Your word is law.” If you commit to it, you get it done. It doesn’t matter if you have to walk across the Sahara. It doesn’t matter if your friends get upset that you just can’t be available for bar hopping on Friday. It doesn’t matter if you have to lick the road clean with your tongue. You’ve committed to it. Now do it.

And that’s where accountability comes in. You need a way to keep yourself accountable. I’m not saying you’re going to lie to yourself and dream up all these great stories about things you’ve never really done –although I’ve known a few people who fall into that trap. I’m saying memory is fallible, and it’s easy to imagine you’re accomplishing more than you really are, just because you’re “working on it.” A system of accountability gives you a way to track your progress. It encourages you when you see those successes pile up. And it brings “My word is law” into the physical, because you’ve written it down, posted it online, or told another person.

Implement these two simple practices and you’ll be amazed at the progress you make.

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My Two Cents: For those of you who are familiar with the EASIER Method of Goal Achievement, you’ll recognize that deadlines and accountability are just two parts of the method – when you set your goal you always set a deadline, and the “R” stands for Report, which provides the accountability piece. If you’re not familiar with the EASIER Method, I invite you to download your free copy of Success! A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Achieve Your Goals and Dreams.

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