But today - red. Hmmmm.... When I journal, I usually let my mind go and write whatever comes to mind, regardless of whether it makes sense. Usually it's a few thoughts about something in the past, or something I need to get done in future. But today, we got right down to business. It was as if my hand were on auto-pilot, and my central processing unit was barking out orders. The first line went "GOAL SETTING AND GOAL GETTING MUST BE OUR MAIN GOAL." The rich, red letters mesmerized my eyes. Something clicked. A dialogue was forthcoming. A dialogue between my task oriented self and my procrastination oriented self. "Task" was trying to get some cooperation. "Procrastination" was up to its usual antics. The dialogue went something like this...
Procrastination: But what do you mean we need to do some goal setting? We've done a lot of stuff lately?! I need a break!
Task: Yes, we've done "stuff." How much of that stuff relates to our life goals? For example, that big proposal we keep talking about. If we're to get anywhere with it, we've got to start.
Procrastination: Oh, come on. The proposal can wait. I'll get that done in no time. You take a break and let me handle things. Before I get to that proposal though, I need to find where I've put a ton of my papers, files, addresses I need in order to get started. Yikes, I need to do all sorts of stuff. And before I can get to that, my desk needs to get cleared off. Oh yeah, and the kitchen sure could use a cleaning, and I need to pick out this year's Christmas cards, and...
Task: The household stuff will wait, and you know you have no plans to attack the kitchen anyway. It's an excuse. And, your desk is fine. We did a quick once-over yesterday. How much clearer does it have to get? We need to at least start. Any other excuses?
Procrastination: Well, I need to block out a big chunk of time. That will be impossible. You know how busy we are these days.
Task: Block out an hour.
Procrastination: We need more than an hour and we don't have it.
Task: Start out with an hour. Block it out on your calendar.
Procrastination: Alright. There. Saturday morning, 9:00 am. Happy?
Task: Not yet. What's the task we're going to work on.
Procrastination: The project proposal.
Task: Get specific. That proposal will take at least 12 hours to complete. What task are we going to accomplish on Saturday morning from 9:00 am to 10:00 am?
Procrastination: I'll figure that out on Saturday at 9:00 am.
Task: We'll eat up the hour just brainstorming. Since I've already got your attention, why don't we just put down a roadmap right now. Say you're going to keep that Saturday morning block open every week. We estimate 12 hours for the project, so that's about three months. Let's get a goal down for each of those Saturday morning appointments... What...? What?! What's wrong...?! You're shaking! Sweating...! A volcano about to...!
Procrastination: AAAAARRRRGHHHHH!!! Okay, okay, I confess! You win! I... I'm... I'm...GOAL-A-PHOBIC! Yes, yes, it's true! I'm quick to come up with the grand plan, but i... im... imp... IMPTAYSUN! I can't bear it... I'm allergic to it! I can't even say it right.
Task: "Implementation." Now, now, take a deep breath. Don't get so down on yourself. Some of our projects have gone off magnificently. We've accomplished a lot together. It's just certain projects that you seem to get stuck on - like this proposal.
Procrastination: Well, face it. There's not a chance that proposal will get accepted. It's just wishful thinking. I don't want to go through all of that work and then have to go through the rejection. And the marketing part of it - who's going to get that done? Not to mention the money we'll need to get it off the ground.
Task: Fear. That's fear talking. You know we've done our research and I choose to believe for the best outcome. We'll never know unless we start. And, we'll never start unless you stop speaking from fear. Now let's start getting that roadmap together. The goals need to be specific, written, engaging, attainable, and time-bound.
Procrastination: That's a lot to remember.
Task: They make up the acronym S-W-E-A-T.
Specific. If the goal is too broad, we'll lose track.
Written, so that we can express in focused terms what needs to get done; and we can keep it in front of us.
Engaging, so that we are motivated, interested in the project. There may be some steps that don't thrill us, but the overall project must come from the heart.
Attainable, so that we have peace with knowing that with a plan and some work, this project can become a successful reality.
Time-bound: You get what you measure. A goal is a dream with a deadline. Enough said. Let's go.
� Hershey Wier, MBA, speaks, writes and coaches on personal and professional development.