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Claiming Victory in 2013 – January 16th, 2013, by Danny J. Stevens

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
~ Confucius

I thought this was a good quote to discuss as this is about the time that New Year’s Resolutions are broken and abandoned. In the past when I made such resolutions I remember making a great start but then the commitment was lost and nothing more happened. Well, there was something, regrets and feelings of guilt because I didn’t continue. Often these resolutions were about being a better student or being fit. I succeed on my commitment to being a better student but I failed on the ones about being more fit. Why? I didn’t compare myself to anyone I just wanted to improve my grades get to go on field trips, joining clubs, stay in the Music program, run for class offices, be chosen to be a page for one of the Washington Senators, and possibly go to the US Air Force Academy. My grades did improve and I did not apply to be a page. When the opportunity was available I had other opportunities with DeMolay so I opted for a different course. My goal for the US Air Force Academy had a very slim window. At the time I was in fair shape with all the marching and practice for the marching band, my grades were marginal but I also had no connections to anyone who could get you into the academy.

The Goals I did obtain were based on the need to experience the pleasures of being in the band, running for class office, being allowed to go on field trips and special rewards such as free baseball game tickets, and joining clubs. I ran for class office and was the campaign manager for an upperclassman running for class president. These benefits provided the leverage to make these goals a must. The Academy was a wish, it was late in coming and it could have been an awesome opportunity but it still was only a wish. There was no drive in the wish, the other goals I had to make, it was a must! The goal to becoming fit. Was based on making the cut at the Academy. I had nothing to do with me personally and it was a wish. Again there was no drive, it was not a must! The take away is that you must be emotionally tied to your goal or dream and it has got to reach the level of intensity that it must happen. There has to be the leverage such as was the case with improving my grades if it happened it would mean a lot of pleasure.

There is another point on the goal to be fit that I wanted to point out. I would not complete the goal because the goal was to be like someone else. It was not personal. When I compared myself to to the image I wanted there was a conflict. In reality, the goal was not achievable as I would not be able to achieve the same results. Years later when I made the goal a must, had the leverage of either become healthier or spend time in the hospital then progress was made. It has to be something you can become emotional about, it has to happen either to avoid massage amounts of pain, or because it will give you massive amounts of pleasure. It has to be attainable. So rather than saying I what to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in 6 months you will want the goal to be specific, attainable, measurable, and in a time frame (S.M.A.R.T. Goals – discussed here a few times). The problems with the goal is that none one else can be Arnold but Arnold and 6 months is unrealistic for what has taken Arnold a lifetime. A better goal would be to personalize the goal such as loose 25 pound in 6 months. Then add the why! Because if I do not loose the weight in 6 months I will miss the opportunity to look my best for a fun a enjoyable summer. We will often do more to avoid any type of pain than we will for pleasure. Another was of giving yourself leverage would be, “if I do not loose 25 pounds in 6 months I will owe my accountability partner $200.”

The other part to remember about the goal setting process is if at first you don’t succeed forgive yourself and keep moving on. If it did not work whey did it not work? Rather than quit, analyze why, take correct action and try again! How many times? As many times as it takes! Find what works, what doesn’t, analyze what does not, change the process and attempt again. repeating the process until a solution is found. This is what Confucius is speaking to us about. Persistence! If you are a Think and Grow Rich reader you will recognize persistence is a powerful success principle!

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