January 05, 2016 – Colleen Niese - Insights

Did You Make Your Bed Today?

achieving-goals-300x260A few months ago my nephew shared a clip of Admiral William H. McRaven delivering a commencement speech to the 2014 graduating class at the University of Texas. In his talk, he provides 10 lessons on how to move your life forward, based on his 36 years as a Navy SEAL. The first one he shares is the importance of making your bed. He described the task as simple; mundane at best but the value gained was that once complete, it gives a small sense of pride and encourages one to take on another task. And even if the rest of the day proves to be difficult, you’ll be reminded before you fall asleep that you got one thing right.

That last thought struck me as timely, given that here we are once again kicking off a New Year. Many of us have set resolutions or goals we want to achieve over the course of the next twelve months and if you want this year to be different, in terms of accomplishment, try these little tricks for better success.

Small leads to large. As the Admiral states, “if you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.” I’d like to think the meaning of this quote is small task completion usually leads to big goal achievement and no task completion leads to more of the same. Look at your goal as a series of tasks and be clear on how each leads to the end-game: execution and accomplishment. You’ll be amazed how inertia kicks in after completing the first few from your list and with that momentum, you’ll have a better chance of seeing your goal to the finish.

There will be challenges. I have yet in my life to complete any goal without a few hiccups along the way. Sometimes the tiniest of task can bring with it a big, fat issue – which is annoying and also a potential deterrent to keep going. The best way to prepare for these challenges is to accept this aspect of any goal before you even start. Play devil’s advocate for a moment and list potential hurdles you may encounter and next to each, one practical way you’ll resolve it. While you may not capture every challenge that presents itself along the way, you’ll have a good list of solutions you can probably apply to a variety of surprises.

Celebrate each success. The more complex your goal, the easier it may be to lose sight of each step you complete along the way. It’s important to the overall achievement of any given goal to mark progress and give a pat on your own back as you knock each step out. A small thing, like crossing an item off a list once complete, is super motivating and a good reminder to keep in balance how far you have to go with how far you’ve come.

To quote Admiral McRaven: “if you want to change your world, start by making your bed.” To see the entire commencement speech, click here:

To learn more about goal achievement, contact The Marlyn Group at letsconnect@marlyngroupllc.com. uDrive subscribers have access to several goal related templates in both the Human Resources and Training & Ops Support libraries.