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Achieving Your Goals, Step-by-Step

Updated on February 17, 2017

The purpose of this hub is to give you information that will help you achieve your goals. I started thinking about this after the first of the year. There are so many people who start New Year Resolutions, but don't follow through with them and therefore become discouraged or just give up.

The Difference Between Resoulutions and Goals

I believe one of the problems is that they see it as a resolution, but not as achieving a goal. The dictionary defines resolution "as a determined state to do something." On the other hand, the definition of goal is: "the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aimed to an end result." Therein lies the difference, a goal includes a plan to achieve an end result. A resolution is just a pronouncement to get something done, but does not include a plan or an end result.

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Steering Mechanism

Many years ago, I read a book that changed my life. It was called Psycho-Cybernetics and it was written by a plastic surgeon by the name of Maxwell Maltz. You can still buy it at Amazon. At this point you are probably asking what does a plastic surgeon have to do with achieving goals? The title of the book is the key: Psycho means mind and Cybernetics means steering mechanism.

The Doctor figured out that in order to achieve goals, we have to rely on our built-in steering mechanism which is our mind. But in order for any steering mechanism to work, it needs feedback. It turns out that all goal seeking mechanisms achieve goals by receiving feedback.

Click to view full size
Click to view full size

A Thermostat, Baby, and a Missile?

You may be saying to yourself, that is a strange paragraph heading for goal setting. What could a thermostat, baby and a missile have to do with setting goals? Have you ever set a thermostat to a specific temperature? A thermostat has two strips of metal that are made of different materials that expand and contract at different rates and temperatures. The strips are formed into a coil. As the temperature changes they expand or contract and move a mercury switch Once the temperature is achieved, the mercury switch closes or opens and either turns on the device or turns it off. The goal is the temperature you set and the feedback is the change in temperature.

Here is another example: Have you ever watched an infant reach for an object for the first time? You notice that his or her movements are very erratic, but the more times it tries, the smoother the movements become, until finally it can grab that object. That is how our minds work in achieving goals. The infant was receiving feedback to obtain the goal.

A guided missile can hit its target because it knows where the end goal is, programmed into its computer. So it launches in any direction and then by feedback, it makes corrections until it reaches its goal, the target. All goal seeking mechanisms work in this manner, whether they are mechanical, digital, or human. They all work the same way. When you first learned how to drive a car, do you remember how jerky and mechanical your movements were? Compare that to how your drive today, you don't even think about it. Below is a flight path of a missile making the necessary corrections to hit its target.

Flight Path of a Guded Missile
Flight Path of a Guded Missile

Steps for Achieving Goals

Now how do we apply this to achieving our goals?

  1. First you need a plan for the goal. A planner works just great. There are so many planners on the market, both digital and manual. I like the Franklin Covey Planner which is listed below at the end of this hub.
  2. Your plan needs to be achievable by you. Be realistic about what the goal is that you are trying to achieve. Don't try to become a millionaire in five days.
  3. Determine whether your goal is short term or long term. Short term goals can be daily or weekly and are more like tasks. Long term goals are of longer periods of time and are more like projects.
  4. If they are short term tasks, prioritize the tasks and do them one at a time. Don't clog your computer (mind) by doing too many goals at once. Prioritize your goals either by importance or the time it takes to achieve the goal. For example, you may have an important goal that takes a long time to achieve, but you may also have a not so important task that can be done quickly. Do the short term tasksl first and then return to the long term goal.
  5. Take action to achieve the goal. Do the research and analysis and gather all the information you can to achieve the goal. If it's about losing weight do all the research you can on what weight loss is about. Start off in direction, just like the missile, then start getting feedback to correct your plan and adjust it to reach the goal. If it's about losing weight, then weigh yourself on a regular basis to get the feedback you need to correct your calorie and food intake. Keep notes to document your progress and to adjust your plan based on the feedback you are receiving.

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Conclusion

I believe one form of happiness is to overcome the possibility of failure by achieving a goal. People have asked why do mountain climbers want to climb to the top of a mountain...The answer is it's to overcome the possibility of failure to achieve the goal. I dowoodcarving and woodworking. When I complete a project, sometimes I think what I have done is bigger than myself (metaphorically speaking) and it empowers me to achieve other goals. I hope this will motivate you and has helped you in achieving your goals. If your are trying to lose weight, see my hubs on How to Lose Weight and Take it Off Permanently and my hub on How to Read Nutritional Labels

I highly recommend that you purchase Psycho-Cybernetics. I just scratched the surface here with achieving goals. The book is really about self-image psychology. Dr. Maltz says: "If you want to change, then you have to incorporate change into your life. One way of changing is by achieving goals that you thought were unachievable." I wish you the best in achieving your goals.

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    • oldrick profile image

      Richard Ingate 5 years ago from UK

      Nice to see a page about Psycho Cybernetics. I still have an old copy of the paperback on my bookshelf! Best wishes, Richard

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 5 years ago from Placentia California

      Wow so do ! I thought I was the only one. That book was first published in the 60's, but I think it is a classic. Thanks for the comments. - Mike

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Great hub, I love the comparison to the missile "making adjustments until it hits its target", some very good advice.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 5 years ago from Placentia California

      Brett, thanks for the comments and thank you for the Sharing concept. It seems to be working. Thanks for SHARING

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Sensible advice -- and I just noticed we're from the same city. Voting this Up and Interesting. Thanks for SHARING.

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 5 years ago

      Hi peoplepower73,

      I remember reading Psycho-Cybernetics many years ago and you are right it is an amazing read and concept.

      If we are not in charge of our minds then who is?

      Great hub voted up and SHARING

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 5 years ago from Placentia California

      molometer, I've read a lot of books on self-improvemnt, but I keep coming back to the methods in Psycho-cybernetics. Thanks for the comments and Thank you for SHARING

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 5 years ago from Placentia California

      alocsin, do you live in Placentia? I live right off of the corner of Kraemer and Altavista...how about you? Thanks for SHARING

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 5 years ago from Central United States

      Achieving goals is an important part of business. Setting them up in short term goals which can be reached, medium term goals and long term goals truly is the only way a business is going to succeed. Really liked your analogies so am SHARING.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 5 years ago from Placentia California

      Wheel, Thank you so much for the comments. I agree with you achieving goals is an important part of business, especially when there is a mission statement the can be used as an objective.

    • Jangaplanet profile image

      A James Di Rodi 5 years ago

      Hi peoplepower73, these goal setting steps are really interesting. Too many of us, or at least for me is- to dream about where I want to go, but don’t have a map or knowledge to get there and achieve those goals. Really liked what you wrote here!

      Voting this up and interesting- and socially SHARING

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 5 years ago from Placentia California

      Jang: Thanks for the comments. It's very satisfying to share knowledge. It's even more satisfying when people like yourself appreciate it. Thanks for SHARING.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Wow! This is a great article with great advice.Yes, to achieve our goals we have to have a plan on how to work for the success. Be it short or a long term plans. Thanks for SHARING.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 5 years ago from Placentia California

      You are welcome. Glad to be of help. Yes, many people don't think planning includes both short term goals and long term goals.

    • profile image

      libaton 5 years ago

      great article, lov the part about the child though, it said that projects fail due to lack of planning & control & those two are inter dependent. lovely article.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 5 years ago from Placentia California

      libaton: Thanks for the comments and thanks for dropping by.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great advice. Very helpful!

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      I love your picture examples and food for thought. Full circle, goal setting techniques. Totally thanks!

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 4 years ago from Placentia California

      Ruby H Rose: Thanks, I just wanted to share what I had learned. I hope it works for you. Thanks for dropping by.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 2 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Thank you both for writing and sharing this article today. Motivating while offering a clue for a recent question of mine. One may ponder with individual and feedback. Quite a bit of pondering could occur regarding the source of the feedback contrast the mechanism the feedback governs. That is a next step and this article has helped equip me with new ideas. Blessings for sure :-)

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 years ago from Placentia California

      tsmog: Thank you for dropping by and reading this article. I had to do some editing to bring it up to featured status, but it looked like it work. I'm glad I could help.

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