As you set goals and begin working towards them, it is critical that you establish benchmarks you can use to evaluate your progress. The more specific your measures are, the faster you'll reach your goals because you'll reduce wasted time.
Going back to the example of the pilot flying cross country to New York, the more frequently he checked his true heading, the quicker he would arrive to his destination. If the pilot were only allowed to check his heading once every 30 minutes, he might never reach his destination.
Your subconscious mind works best when you set clear goals with deadlines. When you do, and when you are truly committed to reaching your goals, your subconscious mind will act like an autopilot that will steer you towards your goals. It will be like a radar that is tuned in to finding anything that might help you reach your goals.
It is important to identify all of the tasks you need to do to reach your goal. Once you have identified the tasks, you should prioritize them and focus on the most important task first.
You may have to break down each task into smaller sub-tasks - and so on. Each sub-task should have its own deadline. Deadlines create urgency and get you to take action.
For example, imagine you wanted to climb the Seven Peaks, the highest mountains in in each of the seven continents, by 2010. You would have to learn all about mountaineering, find guides, determine the best order to climb them, and focus on the first task - climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Climbing Mt. Kili would then be broken down into sub-tasks. Getting into incredible physical shape, financing the expedition, acquiring knowhow, finding guides, purchasing climbing gear, etc.
Each of those sub-tasks might be broken down further. For example, in order to become fit enough to climb, you might have to change your diet, train yourself like a marathoner, lose 30 lbs, etc.
What you do is start with the 2010 deadline, and work backwards to see when all the other steps must be completed by. If you don't set deadlines, by human nature, you never do what you need to do to accomplish the goal.
Once you set deadlines and start taking action, you'll be amazed at how great you feel as you check off completed tasks. Before long you start creating momentum and when momentum is on your side, everything in the process will seem more and more effortless and more fun.
Along the way you keep careful records and measure your progress because what cannot be measured, cannot be managed.
No matter what your goal is, you can focus on smaller tasks that can be measured to gauge your progress.
If you want to improve your health and lose weight, you could focus on how many minutes and at what intensity you exercise each week or on how many calories you consume each day.
If you want to improve your sales, you could focus on how many calls you make each day.
If you'd like a promotion, you could ask your boss for specific tasks you could focus on to make yourself more valuable.
If you want to improve your relationships, you could focus on how many minutes you spend with that special person. Quality time is a myth. Quantity time is where it's at. If you think quality time will improve your relationships, you're fooling yourself.
Start finding ways to measure your goals and tasks and your performance, and you will be more successful in everything you do.
Make it an Olympic Day!