Sometimes, when I hear people say, “I’ve always wanted to visit X country”, I’d pondered what is stopping them. Granted, we all lead very busy lives. There are also constraints, whether it’s with time, money, health, or other reasons. To a large extent, we’re all guilty of putting things off at one point or another. I am no exception. Still, I don’t put too much stock in blanket statements. If something is truly important, people will find a way to make it happen.
I tend to check myself by asking these two questions:
1. “If Not Now, When?”
Start Small. Break goals up into in smaller pieces.
My problem with “later” is that you don’t really know how much of a “later” you have. Later is a sly thing that lulls you into thinking you have all the time in the world, and it easily morphs into weeks and months. Next thing you know, it’s years later and you are left wondering where all the time has gone. Or why you never gained any traction on that thing you’ve been meaning to do.
The key is to be able to get organized: Take a goal and break them down into smaller, achievable tasks (it’s less daunting that way). Instead of just saying, “I have this great idea” and letting the idea just sit, re-frame the idea into questions you can work on: “What can I do with it? What simple steps can I take now? Why not put into motion what you hope to get done today?”
2. Can you commit to the goal?
“Rule number 76: No excuses. Play like a champion” – from the movie, Wedding Crashers
Think about New Year’s resolutions, for a second. They are easy to make. They are just as easy to break, yes? In addition to setting attainable goals (see #1), the second key is to truly make a commitment to reaching those targets. Make no excuses.
In the past couple of years, I’ve set a personal commitment to create or learn something new every year. It can be as simple as making a youtube video, or learning how to play the Ukelele. This year, I decided that I want to edit and curate some of my blog posts and publish a Kindle e-book.
There was no hard deadline, except a self-imposed one to have it done by mid-year. My full-time job had already been very demanding of my time. I could have made excuses or extended the deadline, but I worked on it every chance I got – after work, at night, on the weekends.
When my grandparents passed away earlier this year (and within a month of each other), it made me realize even more that I really don’t want to leave things undone. I accelerated the efforts and got it done ahead of schedule.
The side project was a major flop in terms of sales, but I got the self-satisfaction that I’ve gone through the process and finished what I’ve committed. I realized that publishing an e-book is far more time consuming than I had ever thought. I also have a newfound appreciation for those who have succeeded in this space.
If there’s anything I’ve ever learned, it’s that I don’t want to leave any regrets on the table. And it’s hard to leave any regrets if you’ve put in your best efforts. That’s all I can ever ask of myself. And of anyone else, for that matter.
So, if there is something you really want to do, break the goals into smaller tasks and commit to them. Go book that trip you’ve always been meaning to book. Go see the places you’ve been meaning to visit. Just go out there and do your thing.
You may not see it now. But, trust me. Someday, your future self will thank you for it.