“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius
When we strike out to achieve something, the territory is unknown—we have never done this thing before. If we had, it really wouldn’t be something to pursue—we’ve mastered it already. Pursuing goals will result in mistakes, missed milestones, and frustration. It’s ok.
When we first map out a route to a goal, we are guessing. We have read what others have done; we follow some of the steps they have taken. As we walk this path we find out that what these others have done doesn’t work for us. Do we give up? Never.
As Confucius suggests, we measure where we are, we look at the finish line, and we adjust our sails. We reformulate a new plan to help us achieve the same end-state. This could result in altering our diet, altering our writing plan, or even learn a new skill that will contribute to our goal’s achievement. Whatever we do doesn’t give up the goal it merely changes the route we will take to get there.
The changes you’ll make will relate to what you do each day. The action steps you are taking each day to edge toward your goal. These action steps, although small, will build toward your goal.
Here’s an example. Let’s say your goal is set and you are making progress. Once a week you review your progress against all your goals and discover that you will not meet your deadline by the time you set it. Uh oh! If you’re writing a section of your book a day (typically around 500 words or so), you can adjust this by writing two sections (around 1000 words a day). At the end of the next week, you’ll be writing 7,000 words instead of 3,500. This small adjustment should make a dramatic improvement to your writing plan’s productivity.
Maybe it’s a planning issue. You set out a daily schedule and for some reason fall off your schedule consistently. Print out your daily routine and look at what happens when. Perhaps it is an energy issue? We all have those parts of the day that we are most productive. Maybe you could adjust your writing to the afternoon or evening? Try it out. You have nothing to lose.
For me, my prime time for exercise is when I get up. I know that if I don’t go to the gym as soon as I wake up I will miss that workout. This was my adjustment to achieving my goal of being in shape and trimming some weight. Does this make sense?
Whenever you are pursuing a goal, take some time to review your progress. I typically do this on Sundays (my do-nothing day) to check in with myself and see where I am making progress and where I am falling behind. As I plan the next week, I adjust my schedule. I think about what is working and what is not working—then I make a new plan and review my results again the next week.
I hope all of you are achieving what you want to in life. If not, take some of the advice that Confucius offers. Good luck on your journey to success!
Until next time…