The truth is, ambitious goals can intimidate and demoralise as much as they can motivate and inspire. Big goals can seem overwhelming. Sometimes, it’s just simpler and less stressful not to make any promises!
I’ve found myself in this exact same position recently.
You see, I really enjoy unsupported cycle touring. Taking in the world and the people in it from the seat of a bike, is one of the truly great experiences.
I’ve been “dreaming” for years about one particular ride. In fact, it has consumed way too much thinking time. My dream ride is from the lowest point in Australia (Lake Eyre at 13 metres below sea level) to the highest point in Australia (Mt. Kosciusko at 2,228 metres above sea level). It’s about 2,000 kilometres, 3 to 4 weeks of riding, 7,500 metres of climbing with several days between supply points through some pretty hostile (but inspiring) natural landscapes.
I've found no evidence that it has ever been done, and when you're fat, too old and lack ability, it is actually quite intimidating.
So what's the formula for turning big dreams in to reality (if we could solve that one, the self-help/personal development industry would dry up over night)?
Well for me, there was a simple reason that I'd been unable to turn a 10 year dream into reality.
I never actually started.
Sounds stupid, I know. Whether it's fear, lack of belief or any number of other self-limiting thoughts, I've been content to sit back and just think about it.
So, a bit over 12 months ago, I decided to piss or get off the pot. If this is ever going to happen, stop dreaming and start doing. Find a way!
But how to eat that elephant? By eating one mouthful at a time.
So working backwards from the end goal, each obstacle has been thoroughly researched and then broken down in to bite sized chunks. Everything that needs to be done has been (hopefully) identified and put on a timeline. There is less thought about a grand end result and more focus on immediate actions that slowly effect the long run.
And now we (yes, there is another) are just a few short months away from completing the “Salt to Summit”. I’m 10,787 km’s into a 13,855 km training program. I'm still too fat (it’s a good paddock) but the route has been laid out, food and water drops determined, station owners contacted, risks minimised, equipment tested.
My point is that all these things seemed too daunting, to the point where nothing got started. But when broken down in to simple activities, the project has taken on a life of its own.
Look at the next step, not the summit.
Performance is maximised when Motivation, Opportunity and Ability work together.
For those of you using the MOA model to build your own personal plan for improved performance and success, you are making great progress. Your Accountability Partner is ready, your Personal Stocktake is done, your Goals have been prioritised. Now let’s eat your elephant, one mouthful at a time.
You can mark this as your fourth task. It relates to motivation – goal breakdown.
Breaking down your big goal to actionable steps is where the rubber meets the road. These mini goals:
These tasks have to be well defined, quantified and time bound. Futire blogs will explore how to track progress, as making YOU answerable to YOUR commitments will be the major function of your Accountability Coach.
There are numerous approaches and resources available, press here for some tips.