By: Joan Moore
Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. You choose how to spend your 24 hours. We make time for what is important to us and what we truly want.
When I was in high school I chose to read Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking. That was a defining moment in my life. Peale said, “Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.”
To achieve success, both personally and professionally, I have followed that positive thinking and utilized three simple steps.
- Set your goal.
- Plan your work.
- Work your plan.
These steps are not a revelation. They are a reminder. Most of us know what to do. It’s just a matter of doing it.
Let’s start with Step#1.
Step #1 Set your goal.
The goal you set needs to be a SMART goal. It needs to be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bounded
Example: About 10 years ago, I wanted to teach Accounting Fraud courses at the graduate level. Although I had many years of practical experience, I needed a Master’s Degree to teach. I immediately set a goal to begin teaching graduate Accounting Fraud courses in 2 years.
Once you have set your goal, write it down. Putting it in writing crystallizes the goal and gives it more force. Brian Tracy said, “Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”
Setting your goal also involves knowing your why, taking ownership, and believing you can achieve your goal.
Know Your Why
Your desire or passion is the source of your why.
Napoleon Hill said, “The starting point of achievement is desire. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.”
Know why you want to achieve the goal you set and have a burning desire to make it happen.
Example: I had a burning desire to teach Accounting Fraud courses and that desire fueled my fire to complete graduate school in 2 years.
Make sure “you” set the goal and take ownership. If someone else tries to set a goal for you, then the likelihood of achieving the goal is small. Be responsible for achieving your goal.
Example: When I set my goal to teach at the graduate level, I took ownership of the goal and accepted responsibility for making it happen.
Believe You Can Achieve
Having a positive mental attitude and believing you can achieve your goal sets you up for success.
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
Example: I kept a positive mental attitude during my graduate school journey and believed that I could achieve my teaching goal.
When you believe you can achieve your goal, act purposefully to make it happen.
One purposeful act is to make a plan, which brings us to Step#2.
Step#2 Plan your work.
Planning is important because it helps you focus and it reinforces your goals. Planning provides direction. Your plan is like a roadmap (GPS) and it allows you to move in the direction of and progress toward your goal.
Example: Since a graduate degree was needed to teach at the graduate level, I enrolled in an MBA program. I planned my 2 years of graduate classes in advance. I made “to do” lists for the deliverables in each class.
Being a CPA, I am no stranger to “to do” lists. They are a part of my everyday life. I enjoy making the list, but what I enjoy more is checking things off the list. That leads us to Step #3.
Step #3 Work your plan.
Execute! Execute! Execute!
To achieve your goal, you have to be moving toward the goal.
Do you remember Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion? It says: a body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tends to stay in motion, with the same speed and in the same direction.
Even though this is a scientific theory, it can be applied to our everyday lives.
Staying focused and staying in motion helps us move toward and achieve our goals.
Example: I worked a full-time job and taught CPA review classes while I was attending MBA graduate classes. Even though I had planned my work, there were times when my chosen classes were not offered in the classroom. Alternatively, I worked my plan by opting for online classes so my progress toward my goal would not be impeded.
I am happy to say I successfully completed my MBA program in 2 years and within a few months was teaching Accounting Fraud graduate courses. Goal Achieved!
The three simple steps to success have served me well in every area of my life. I encourage everyone to take a journey to success by using the three simple steps:
- Set your goal.
- Plan your work.
- Work your plan.Joan K. Moore is the author of three children’s books in the Mama says…series available on amazon.com. Joan’s mother taught her simple truths and valuable life lessons, which inspired her to begin writing children’s books. Joan’s books are devoted to reinforcing solid family values by using foundational phrases. To recognize budding talent, all her books all illustrated by children of various ages.