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Most people take the time around Christmas and New Year’s Day to do some self-evaluation and decide what new goals, accomplishments, or habits to develop for the next year.
The vast majority of those goals are only acted on for a few days, and then they’re forgotten until the following year.
Nobody WANTS to set goals that they don’t accomplish. It’s not fun. It’s not rewarding. And it sets up a sort of mental inertia where your mind stops taking goals seriously.
So today, I’m going to tell you a few simple steps that you can take that will drastically increase the odds that you’ll achieve all of your goals. I’m not a motivational speaker…and I’m not going to throw in a lot of fluff. I’m simply going to tell you the techniques that I’ve learned through the years and actually use myself to create dramatic, lasting changes in my life on a constant basis.
When I follow the steps I’m going to tell you, I get the dramatic, lasting change I’m after. When I shortcut the process, I fall flat—just like everyone else.
To begin with, you want to set SMART goals. Smart is a mnemonic that means:
The SMART mnemonic serves as a negative filter. In other words, just because a goal meets these 5 criteria doesn’t mean you will achieve it, but if your goals don’t meet these 5 criteria, then your chances of success are close to zero.
As an example, let’s take fitness. If your goal is to “get in better shape” I would bet you money that you will fail. It’s not specific, measurable, or timely.
A better goal would be: “I will max out the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) for my age group with 300 points by March 1st, 2011.” For a 40 year old male, that would mean doing 76 pushups, 83 sit-ups, and running 2 miles in 13:36. But, this may or may not be achievable or realistic.
So, you could set a goal to score 210 points on the APFT for your age group by March 1st, 2011. For a 40 year old male, that would mean doing 43 pushups, 48 sit-ups, and running 2 miles in 17:05.
This goal meets all 5 criteria:
Specific – It has exact numbers, dates, and actions.
Measurable – “better shape” is open to interpretation and can’t be measured. 43 pushups is measurable.
Achievable – 60 days to 43 pushups is achievable for most people. If it’s not for you, set another goal.
Realistic – 1000 pushups per day by March 1st may not be realistic. 43 is. Setting crazy goals leads to frustration, injury, and reinforces the belief in your mind that you won’t achieve future goals.
Timely – There is a time component. The goal has a start date and end date, so it won’t be hanging over your head forever. For me, the more compressed the timeframe that I have to achieve the goal, the better and the more solid the deadline, the better.
If you want to go this route, here’s an online calculator that will help you figure out a realistic and achievable goal for yourself:Sorry, either Adobe flash is not installed or you do not have it enabled
If, on the other hand, you want to try a fitness program that is based on combat movements, I encourage you to check out the fitness program that I use, www.FitToSurvive.com
In either case, making a SMART goal is great, but there are a few more things that you’ll need to do to increase the odds of success.
Make it emotional. Goals that are purely fact based don’t pull you out of bed in the morning. Try to come up with reasons in your head of why your current situation is unacceptable and everything that will be good about achieving your goal. If you can’t figure out why achieving the goal will be emotionally rewarding, create a tangible reward for yourself.
Write it down. A goal that’s not written down has no more value than a fantasy. Writing down goals has a powerful effect of combining emotions, logic, and the senses of touch and sight. Getting that sheet of paper out every day, seeing them written in your own handwriting and reading them out loud to yourself is even more powerful.
Talk about it. Tell people what your goals are. If for no other reason than the fact that you may be willing to disappoint yourself but you will be less likely to be willing to share poor performance with friends and family.
Break it down. If your main goal is 2 months out, set monthly, weekly, or daily intermediary goals.
Track your progress. I like to use grid paper for this. I have the goals down the side, dates across the top, and I fill in my progress as I make it. For goals that take daily action, there’s nothing like a week of blank boxes to slap me in the face.
Set alarms. Set alarms on your phone or computer and schedule time in your day to accomplish your goals. Entropy (the tendency of things to move towards chaos unless acted on by an outside force) will always fill your schedule with “stuff.” You’ve got to cause order to happen by scheduling time to make your goals happen.
Stay consistent. Some goals, like getting out of debt or building up food storage don’t necessarily have daily components. Other goals, like reading, learning, fitness, breaking habits, making habits, and relationship goals, like going through “The Love Dare”, DO have daily action. The more frequently you can revisit your goal and take forward action on it, the more likely you’ll be to achieve it.
This isn’t theory…it’s what I use on a daily basis and it’s the “recipe” that I’ve found works for me. If I skip any of the steps, I usually fail. If I follow all of the steps, I have achieved more than 80% of the goals I’ve set over the last 10+ years. Remember, since the goals are specific, measurable, and have a time component, it’s easy to determine success or failure.
So, what are your SMART preparedness goals for 2011? Fitness? Education? Relationships? Skills? Supplies? Firearms training? Hand to Hand Training? Please share them by commenting below. Have any proven tactics (not just something you’ve read or heard) that help you achieve your goals? Please share them below as well.
As a quick note on hand to hand training. It’s no secret that I consider Tim Larkin’s Target Focus Training to be the most practical, scientific, realistic, and proven hand to hand training that I’ve ever seen or trained in. It allows people to effectively defend themselves against lethal force encounters in the 0-3 foot range—when there’s not enough time to deploy a knife or firearm and your first and only option is to use your body. Tim’s running an end-of-2010 special that goes through this weekend. If you haven’t checked out his materials yet, I encourage you to do so. I have every VHS and DVD that they’ve produced in the last 15 years and have gone through the live training multiple times. Here’s a link that will get you 25% off of live Target Focus Training. Right now, it looks like it will only be active through Sunday night.
And, if your preparedness goals include starting from scratch, combining lots of random prepping into an organized plan, or formalizing the work you’ve already done, I want to suggest going through my SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival Course. It will take you, step by step, over the course of 12 weeks to having a proven, written plan that you or anyone in your family can implement in the event of a breakdown in civil order. To read more about it, go to SurviveInPlace.com.
By the way, Ashton Kutcher (Demi Moore’s husband) is on the cover of Men’s Fitness this month. In it, he talks about how dependent society is on electricity and how a lot of his training is based on getting ready to defend his family in the event of a breakdown in civil order. We’ve sent him a copy of my book, “Urban Survival Guide” and hope that many Men’s Fitness readers get a wakeup call from reading his comments.
Until next week, God Bless and Stay Safe!
SurviveInPlace.com / UrbanSurvivalGuide.com