When it comes to achieving goals it is always best if we take a FAST approach.
Goals where we don’t have a good approach, e.g. we just say we want to lose weight, we want to give up smoking, we want to be richer are nice, but in all probability we will not achieve them.
When we take a FAST approach we can significantly improve our probability of success.
So what is FAST
First we have Focus, what does the goal look like, what are we looking to achieve what wail success look like. We need to have a clearly defined statement of what our goal is and how we will know when it will be achieved.
I like to use SMART when defining the goals, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.
So one of my goals is to run 1500km (~1000 miles) in 2014. It’s very specific, 1500km; it’s measurable using tools like i-runner, nike plus etc.; it’s achievable I already ran close 1200km last year, and i did that as a beginner, so its just a 25% increases; it’s relevant because I want to run 2-4 marathons in 2014 including Vancouver and Athens; and it’s timely I want to complete it by the end of the year.
So now I have a clearly defined goal, I know what success looks like; by the end of 2014 I will either have run 1500km or not.
We need to know who is accountable for this goal and how are we going to hold them accountable to making the required progress to ensure that the goal is going to be achieved, We also need to make sure that they are aware of their role and what they need to do and by when. If they don’t know what to do and when, then for sure it won’t get done.
In this case it’s pretty simple, I am accountable no one else, I am the one who will need to run run each of those 1500km.
If my goal was to say lose 10kg, then maybe I would need to include my wife into the accountability, make sure that she didn’t cook me large meals 3 times a day, as this would not help me achieve my goal.
We need to have a simple approach for how we are going to achieve our goal, we need a plan that we can understand, and which is clear to us and anyone else involved in delivering our goal.
Simplicity doesn’t mean the same as easy, the goals we set for ourselves need to be challenging but we need a simple plan for how we will achieve success.
If we have a clear definition of the goal and a simple plan then we can just focus on delivery. If we don’t have a simple plan then it will be difficult for us to know what needs to be done it means that initially we will struggle to make progress which is demotivating.
We need to look to create some early successes and we can only do this if we have a simple plan that we can implement immediately and then start to see progress, this early progress will then serve to motivate us to continue.
My plan to run 1500km is fairly simple.
I need to run on average 10km 3 times a week. I know I can do this, as I have done it before, I just need to do it consistently throughout the entire year.
We need to have transparency into the progress that we need to make and that we are making. Transparency will allow us to see how we are doing, it will serve to motivate us and it will also allow us to hold ourselves and every one involved accountable.
We need to share our progress, or lack thereof, with others, so that we can receive recognition, encouragement, or a prod to make the required progress, to get back on track.
So my plan is to run 30km per week, which equates to around 125km per month.
I am going to use nike plus to measure it, I am going to let my Facebook friends know my goal, then I will look to publish my progress on Facebook. I also run with a group of friends, sometimes physically, sometimes virtually, and I know that they will look to keep me honest.
So for my goal
F – Run 1500km by end of the 2014
A – I alone will do this, I will declare my intent to my friends and will share my progress
S – I plan to run 30km (3x10km) per week for 50 weeks
T – I will use nike plus to measure the distance and I will share my progress on Facebook.
Taking the FAST Approach, I know what i want to do, i know who has to do it, I know how I am going to do it, and I know how i am going to track and share my progress.
Now it’s just a question of execution, and if I am determined then I will be successful.
So if you are determined to achieve your goals, then take a FAST Approach and you will considerably improve your chance of success.