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Goal Setting

Goal Setting: Is Your Puzzle Missing Any Pieces?

If you’ve ever put together a puzzle, I’m pretty sure you didn't start by just staring at the cover. No, I think you likely started by turning over every piece to represent the smaller parts of the picture. Then maybe you separated these pieces by which were the skies, the water, flowers or whatever made up parts of the whole picture.

This is exactly why I always talk about, the puzzle, and how it's designed to help you with your goals. You may have an idea of where you want to be in let’s say five years. That’s the cover of the puzzle box. What’s inside are the smaller steps that you need to make to bring that picture into focus.

The point I am trying to make is the following: What is your big picture? What are your goals? What do you need to do to get to them? How many pieces does this goal have to complete?

This is the start of a new year, and it’s the perfect opportunity to use this analogy to first identify your big picture. Really, it’s where you must start. Whether it’s a personal goal, like becoming more fit or losing weight, or a career goal, like earning more or getting a promotion, this is what will determine your smaller goals.

If you look at the attached photo you will notice a few things:

1) The complete picture should always be in front of you.

There’s a lot of little things you need to do to reach your goals, absolutely. And truthfully, it can be a drag after a while. When you feel like you’re losing focus, or you don’t feel like making that sales call or going to the gym, your big picture is what should pull you forward. Your final goal, your reason for beginning in the first place is what you need to remember and use to motivate you.

2) The number of pieces that it takes to complete that picture. No matter what your big goal is, you have many more smaller goals to reach, and if you have done your planning right, you will have those arranged. Think about it - it’s much easier to complete a task when it’s smaller, and doesn’t it always feel good when you’ve completed ANY task? Likewise, when you find that piece - those pieces - that fit into the whole puzzle, doesn’t that help bring the big picture into focus?

3) How many pieces do you need for your puzzle? If your goal is to reach a new sales high, what does that make your week look like? What does each DAY look like? Know how many small pieces you need to have in place for each day in order to make your goal for that day. Then put one day in front of the other, focusing on each step while seeing how these small pieces will assemble to create your big picture. If you are missing anything - no matter how small a matter it might be - you won’t be able to successfully reach your big goal.

So, here’s an example. Let’s say you’re an athlete. Perhaps your big goal is to reach the Olympics. Let’s break that down to what needs to be done every month. That could look like entering in competitions each month. To get there, you need to qualify. So that means each week you achieve fitness goals, time in the gym, miles on a treadmill or around the track. Each day, that means eating right, getting enough sleep, arriving on time to a practice and not quitting until you’ve done better than the previous day. On the cold, rainy mornings when you don’t feel like getting up at 5 a.m., it’s not the small steps that will likely motivate you, it’s going to be the image of you up on the podium, accepting the gold medal for your country as the anthem plays.

And all along the way, you keep that image in front of you, making sure all of the pieces you need to create that picture are also there, each day, each week and each month.

So, what’s YOUR big picture? And do you have the pieces you’ll need to complete it? If you’re not sure, please enlist a partner to help you assemble it all. After all, your puzzle is your unique opportunity to create a picture unlike any other, and the time to get started is now.