Sunday, July 17, 2011

RWE: Three steps to achieve your major life goals

Write down a major life goal you have yet to achieve or even begin to take action on. For each goal, write down three uncertainties (read: fears) you have relating to each goal. Break it down further, and write down three reasons for each uncertainty. When you have three reasons for your fear, you’ll be able to start processing the change because you know where the fear stems from. Now you’ll be able to make a smaller changes that push you towards your larger goal. So begins the process of “trusting yourself.”

I have tried this with a variety of goals so far and it has really become my go-to instrument if I feel overwhelmed and like I am running around but not getting anywhere. It's amazing how much the process of breaking down big things into small actionable steps can help your productivity.
Well, I guess we all know that, but it's still hard when you're trapped in the swamp and the yuck is going up to your chin to try and do it without any instuction. This is such an easy step-by-step thing that you don't even notice untile you're sitting there and have a page full of small things that you can start achieving right here and now. :o)

It also sorts out the mess in your head by strucuring your worries on three levels:

I am illustrating with a small example. One of my goals is to once build a sustainable house for my family all by myself.  This is the top level. Now I think about three things that I'm really worried about and that could hinder me to achieve this goal. The trick here is to stay quite general but not too much. "We won't make it" is a valid fear but can be broken down in three a bit more specific sentences:

I already had the first important insights here. Writing down "It will be too expensive" when thinking about a house from upcycled materials that will be built by our own handiwork mostly seems a bit riddiculous. It doesn't come much cheaper than that, does it? 
When I put my pen on the paper to write "It will take too long" I caught myself thinking 'how long is too long when you're building a house? - It's entirely your decision!'
"We don't know how" is a very general fear and feels like a black cloud that will explode and rain down tons of reasons why you don't know how and can never make it. Don't be scared, read on!

This was the second level. Now we move down to the third. Try to think of three reasons why you have these fears or why they might come true.

Now when I was writing down my reasons I caught myself already coming up with at least one possibility on how to overcome each one of them - what an uplifting feeling. I know that if I sit down and really mull it over I can come up with many more.
Notice that the last reason in the second picture is the third fear that I wrote down. It's something that will be broken down in smaller steps anyways and saves me one point to care for. Strike!

And now to the black cloud of "We don't know how" (aah, how many times have I heard children say this - it always breaks my heart. And now I'm saying it myself... It can't be!).

Hey, there I'm sitting, chewing on my pen - and I couldn't even come up with three reasons why this might be true. Seriously, all I could think of wer these two. The first one is even instantly detected as a lie or play-down. We have built a yurt, that's got to count for something.
So... yay! No big black cloud at all! Only a little puff of smoke.

Additionally I then took some crayons and sorted the reasons into categories.
Yellow means that this statement is not quite true.
Green indicates that this problem can be solved with creativity and networking.
And red is for things that can easily be researched.

Now you can take the next page of your journal and jot down a list of actions that you have to take to achieve this goal. You can even already sort them in chronological order - Tadaah! A rough action plan!

I hope this gives you an idea of how to use this fab technique. If you use it on something, will you let me know about your experiences? I would be very interested to hear your opinion!

Thanks for reading!

--> See more of my posts from the Ralph Waldo Emerson Pledge.


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