Real life change takes a lot of hard work. There are no shortcuts. You can’t cheat the system, though many people try and end up failing. You just have to put your head down and walk the path, one step at a time. Or, if you are like me, you might have to climb out of the hole, one rock at a time.
If you’ve been following the steps in my post about investing in yourself, you should have already identified the things you want to change about yourself. You should also have a vision laid out of who you want to be. And, of course, you’ve been writing all this down, right?
Think of this next part like you are driving across the country. You know it’ll take a few days. You’ll need to map out what cities you are going to stop in and the places where you are going to stay. You know you need to drive a certain number of miles each day in order to get where you want to be. Do you want to do any tourist things along the way? Great, let’s plan those out too. In other words, you need to define the steps and goals for the drive.
Making significant real life change is no different. Your vision tells you where you want to get to. Now you should be ready to identify the steps you need to take to get to your vision. And you’ll want to set some specific goals to help you get there.
Setting The Steps
Let’s use an example that a lot of people can relate to. Say you identified that you want to lose weight. And your self vision is to life a healthy lifestyle. There’s two parts that you’ll need to work through – eating habits and physical exercise.
Now break each of these down into their own steps. For example, to tackle your eating habits, you have to be super conscience about what and how you eat. To do that, maybe you start using an app to track your calorie intake. Maybe you find a diet to go on. Or maybe you cleanse your pantry and fridge of all unhealthy foods.
The truth is, you need to do all of the above and more. The key here is to be brutally honest with yourself and figure out the steps that you specifically need to take that applicable for your life.
Keep in mind that just because certain steps worked for one person doesn’t mean that it will work for you. So don’t get discouraged if certain steps aren’t working. Listen to your inner voice. Not the one that is telling you to quit. But the one that knows deep down what steps will work and which won’t in your journey.
Once you get into that spot, you can repeat this process for each thing you want to tackle.
Setting The Goals
Now you have your steps identified. Let’s make some goals to help you get there. I personally use the SMART model for creating goals. This model says that your goals should be:
Here’s an example from my own life. When I finally got serious about living healthy, I set a goal at the beginning of January 2019. When I set this goal, I was about 170 lbs with around 30% body fat.:
I will weigh 150 lbs with 15% body fat by June 1st, 2019.”
Based on this goal, I had to lose 20 lbs and 15% body fat in 5 months. If you break that down per month, its 4 lbs and 3% body fat per month. I turned that monthly breakdown into a monthly goal. I even went so for and took it to the weekly goal level, specifically losing X number of lbs per week. Then I made daily goals around exercising and eating healthy.
If you can get down to the daily, weekly, and monthly levels, make sure each level feeds back into the broader goal. As you measure incremental progress on a weekly basis, you’ll find that those weekly victories will boost your confidence and motivate you to keep getting at it.
Now let’s check my goal against the SMART criteria.
- Is it specific? Yes. I specifically say that I will be 150 lbs and 15% body fat.
- Is it measurable? Yep, I just had to step on the scale every week and keep track of my progress.
- Is it achievable? 20 lbs might seem daunting at first but once you break it down to the monthly and weekly levels, it is very much achievable.
- Is it relevant? My vision is to live a healthy lifestyle. This goal was directly related to that.
- Is it time-bound? Yes, I had a specific date, realistic date to hit this goal.
Once again, repeat this goal creation process for each other thing that you want to change about your life.
Real Life Change Is A Marathon
I know you are thinking, “Damn, Carlos, this is a lot of f*cking work!” You are right, it is. This is what it takes to manifest real life change. Remember, life isn’t a race. Its a marathon.
You don’t have to hit everything at once. Start with the ones that make the most sense or are the highest priority for you. Its ok to not have everything right from the beginning. Take that first step. Remember you will fail… a lot. Fail fast, learn from the failures, and iterate on the steps and goals.
Understand that things won’t always go as planned. So be gentle with yourself and don’t give up. You’ll get there. Just do the work, everyday. Create that best version of yourself, everyday. And soon you will understand that you too can be unstoppable.