Please Note: This is a guest post by Marcus Smith, read more of his posts at his blog.
If you would like to write a guest post, get extra traffic and exposure for your blog, click here. Once again I would like to thank Marcus for submitting this great post. Now on to the post…
First of all let’s get this out of the way. I love to read. I live to bounce ideas off other people. If I didn’t brainstorm I’d probably die. I agree that process maps bring clarity to any endeavor. I know that planned courses of action are absolutely necessary for extended success.
These things are all well and good. They all have their place in a successful lifestyle.
All the planning, brainstorming, and process mapping in the world won’t amount to anything if you fail to get off your butt and take measurable action.
For the rest of this article I will open your eyes to what it takes to see a personal project/task/undertaking through to a successful end. I’ve used these methods to shed 50 lbs of fat, create powerful business connections, attract clients into my business, and build traffic to my website.
Create Blocks of Time
Everybody wants to get in better shape. Most people want to be millionaires/billionaires. A select few want to be the rock, paper, scissors champion of the world.
It really doesn’t matter what you aspire to be. If you don’t make the time to do so it will never ever happen. Oftentimes we don’t get what we want because we haven’t set the time to do it.
For years I struggled with my weight. I wasn’t morbidly obese but I was still overweight. At my worst I tipped the scales at 252 lbs and I sported a 40” waist. When I walked the friction of my thighs would create tear at my pants and underwear. For years and years I whined and complained about the issue. I’d get on a “health kick” and watch my weight go back and forth. The weight would always came back.
One day in late 2006 I made a change. I decided that Monday through Friday between 5:30 – 7:00 PM was my work out time. That hour and a half was non-negotiable.
If I was working I stopped and worked out. If someone wanted to make plans, no matter who it was, they had to wait until 7:00 PM. I drove to the gym during thunderstorms, hailstorms, and traffic jams.
As soon as I set that non negotiable 1.5 hour time period I noticed a change in my body. Those unwanted pounds grew wings and flew away.
Setting non-negotiable times for action is the first step to getting off your butt. Good habits (like bad ones) are incredibly hard to break.
A google search of the term “setting goals” returns 4.17 million results. My personal favorite is the tried and true classic S.M.A.R.T. goals system.
Let’s use the goal “I want to speak to 4 unique audiences in 2008” to show how S.M.A.R.T. goals work.
Specific – Being vague will absolutely kill you. I want to improve in public speaking is a vague goal. I want to speak to 4 different audiences in 2008 is a specific goal.
Measurable – If you say you want to speak to 4 different audiences then you can measure your success or failure. It’s an easy thing to do. If you manage to get in front of 4 audiences you’ve succeeded. If you don’t then you haven’t.
Attainable – I agree that we should all aim for the stars. However, you can’t go to outer space if you don’t have a spaceship. When setting goals do yourself a favor and set reasonable ones. There is nothing more deflating than setting a goal and failing because your goal wasn’t realistic. There’s a big difference between speaking to 4 unique audiences in2008 and speaking to 50.
Realistic – Setting a goal that you can meet is a good idea. You have to take an inventory of your skills, available time, and motivation to achieve the goal in order to be realistic. If you have the requisite skills, time, and motivation then the goal is realistic. Setting goals that are outside of these constraints set you up for an unnecessary downfall (think 4 audiences in a year versus 50).
Timely – Providing a time frame gives your goal life. A time frame adds the elements of urgency and closure. There’s nothing more concise and motivating than a crystal clear drop dead date.
The last section of this article is without a doubt the most important piece. Taking action is essential to getting off your butt and making things happen. Creating time and setting goals are both important but they mean nothing if no action follows them.
Right after I finished losing weight a close friend of mine asked me how I did it. I looked him squarely in the eye and said “I went to the gym and worked out”. He thought I was trying to be smart, but I was giving him the absolute truth. I wouldn’t have lost a pound had I not done the work.
It’s a simple yet important piece of advice. If you want to lose weight you need to eat right and workout. If you want to be the top salesman you need to sell the most product. If you want to get more dates with women you need to talk to more women. If you want to attract customers into your business then create a marketing plan and implement it. If you absolutely hate your job then find a new one.
Taking action is really the easiest part of the equation. Setting time and creating goals are tedious (yet necessary) activities. Putting your nose to the grind stone and reaping the benefits is the fun part.
Remember the Nike slogan (Just Do It!) and you can’t go wrong.
Getting off your butt and breaking the shackles of procrastination can be challenging. Many people struggle with this. I used to be a part of that crowd until I began following the steps outlined in this article.
Here’s a quick recap:
- Create non-negotiable blocks of productive time
- Set S.M.A.R.T. goals
- Take Action!
Sitting on your hands watching the world spin is an incredible waste of your time and talent. Use these tips to get off your butt and start using what you have!