Making it real: A to B
After chatting yesterday with a friend about making changes in our lives, I was reminded that all of this making stuff is really a practice that helps us make change in our daily lives. The process to making things real, is in many ways a lot like following directions to get someplace, and it can be accomplished with these 5 easy(ish) steps
A ruthless assessment of where you are:
Trying to make reality conform to your expectations is a dangerous thing if you don’t know where you are and are not willing to take action. In the sport of orienteering this is referred to as “Bending the Map”, and it is sure sign that you are lost. If we ignore cues from the outside world, we run the risk of becoming disoriented, our thoughts and actions become unclear and unproductive. One of the best strategies for assessing reality is to simply talk about it with another person. Getting out of your own head allows you the opportunity to get into the head of others, and see from their eyes.
A vision and desire for how you want things to be:
Goals are long term visions of where we want to be headed. They define at least, a destination we wish to arrive at and even more they can suggest a direction we wish to take. This perspective helps us remember that the destination is flexible, making it easier to stay in touch with reality and change course when needed. A major pitfall for many of us is that when setting our goals we focus on the destination only instead of the journey. Remember, process is important. “The Main Thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing” ~Stephen Covey,
A crystal clear understanding of something, the lies between where you are and where you’re headed:
Objectives are more short term and actionable than goals. They can be seen as a series of small measurable steps or targets that need to be hit in order to achieve our goals. You can think of this process as using a divide and conquer strategy for goals that are too large for the short term. Objectives work best when they are S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. So be clear(Specific) so that you can know when you’ve succeeded (Measurable), the goal is to break the task down to easier steps (Attainable) that matter to you and move you toward your goal (Relevant). And this is short term work, so set a (Time) line. The shorter the term the more likely you are to achieve it.
Taking action toward your objectives:
Taking action takes desire and faith. The desire causes you to lean forward into the effort and the faith allows you to trust that your foot will hit the ground before your nose. There is a common misconception that it takes motivation for you to act, but this is not the whole story. Action also LEADS to motivation. So a little action can motivate you toward more action. If the task of achieving your objective is too daunting, simply break it down into smaller objectives. Start small, think about how the successful achievement of something as seemingly inconsequential as starting can trigger a positive feedback loop of action and motivation before you know it, you’ll be on your way.
This is process. Check your reality, reaffirm your goal, determine an objective, start small and act toward that objective, once you complete that, check in with reality, does your goal still make sense? If so, what is the next milestone on your journey. Take time to celebrate because if you take the time to notice, you’ll see that you’re already on the path.