Lining up your actions with your goals is a critical component to your success. Without it, goals are more difficult to accomplish and frustration or apathy set in. To check your alignment, you need to know two things—where you are now and where you want to be. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing now going to help me end up where I want to be?” Your report shows the areas of alignment which need improvement. Work through the next steps which support your growth and development.

Accomplish personal goals

Obviously this is essential to achieving long-term success. Keep your destination in mind, and set small individual goals to move you closer to your end goal. The way you invest your time, energy, and resources must be aligned with your goals. Keep doing what it takes to stay focused and you’ll eliminate the distractions and temptations that don’t align with your goals.

    Next Steps
  • Set specific, clearly-defined goals.
  • Break your goals down into manageable steps.
  • Post your goals where you’ll refer to them often.
  • Set up accountability for yourself and with others.
  • Use tools to help you track your goals (such as Getting Things Done by David Allen).
  • Make sure your conversations and self-talk support your goals.

Saying No

You’ll have to say no to things that don’t support your goals. If it takes you off track or shifts your focus, say no. You may have to say no to some good things so that you can say yes to the very best things.

    Next Steps
  • Make a list of things you’ll stop doing.
  • Talk to yourself aloud about how and when you’ll say no.
  • Take time in the moment to connect your behavior to your goals.
  • Develop a personal mission statement to help you decide when to say yes or no.
  • Take time to explain your intent and motives to others when you do say no.
  • When it’s very difficult to say no, find ways to restrict your access to those things. Ask someone to hold you accountable.
  • Get a coach if restriction and accountability are not enough.
  • Seek professional counseling to help you process why it’s so hard for you to say no to certain things.

See Situations as They Really Are

Don’t let your emotions and passions cloud your vision and keep you from seeing reality. Stay grounded by the truth and don’t fill in the blanks with assumptions. Don’t let the negative overshadow the positive. Find a healthy balance where you acknowledge the negative, but also can see the positive places your goals will lead you.

    Next Steps
  • Test your observations by asking for feedback and perspective from others.
  • Set realistic goals that will help you stay grounded.
  • Ask yourself, “Are there things people tell me about myself that I find hard to believe or accept?”
  • Analyze any biases and beliefs that may be coloring the truth.
  • Leverage your positive attributes.
  • Seek the opinion of those with different viewpoints or personalities.
  • Read books in the area of your goals by those with different viewpoints.
  • Identify any irrational self-talk and work through it.
  • Take time to debate the self-talk that’s leading you to an extreme.
  • Journal about how you handle various situations. Review your journal entries to help you learn from your past experiences.
  • Ask “Is it true?” questions about the situation.

Make Realistic Plans

Realistic goals lead to success. Unrealistic goals lead to disappointment. Not only should your goals be realistic, the way you work toward them should be too. Identify the very next thing you need to do and take achievable step after achievable step.

    Next Steps
  • Partner with someone who can help you break down your goals into steps.
  • Post your steps in writing so you don’t lose focus and get off track.
  • Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals.
  • Choose to do one or two things at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.
  • Make sure your self-talk helps you manage your expectations as you take your steps.
  • Celebrate your wins.
  • Make sure your goals are easily defined so you can identify your progress.
  • Understand the difference between big picture goals and tactical goals. Achieving your big picture goals will be difficult if you don’t achieve your smaller tactical goals.

Resisting Temptation

Temptation can be your greatest enemy towards accomplishing your goals. You’ll probably fail if you wait until the moment of temptation, so make decisions ahead of time. Predict where temptations will come and how you’ll manage them.

    Next Steps
  • Restrict yourself from whatever might be tempting you (install internet filters, remove junk food from your house, cut up credit cards, etc.).
  • Ask someone you will be honest with to ask you about your progress regularly.
  • If restriction and accountability don’t work, seek out coaching.
  • If coaching doesn’t work, seek out professional counseling to process what’s at the root of your temptations.
  • Mentally rehearse ahead of time to practice how to handle temptations.
  • Find tactics that help you refocus during temptation (counting to 10, calling a friend, playing an empowering song, etc.).
  • Identify times when you act on impulse the most. Use self-talk to decide how you’ll handle these impulses when they arise.
  • Remove yourself from the situation when you feel like you might give in.

Make daily changes

Our natural reaction to change may be resistance or avoidance. Proper alignment requires going against the natural urges that resist change. Be open to change on a daily basis. Change must be constant and not occasional. Begin with honestly identifying when and where you’re most resistant to change.

    Next Steps
  • Focus on changing the small things first.
  • Don’t try to change everything at one time.
  • Commit to a change for an 18-day period.
  • Take baby steps and make your steps achievable.
  • Track how long you sustain your intended change to strengthen your resolve.
  • Ask those you trust for advice on what changes you need to make.

Expect the Positive Despite Setbacks

Let’s face it. Setbacks will occur, but you can’t allow setbacks to take your eyes off your goals and take you off track. No matter what setbacks occur, or what obstacles stand in your way, maintain a positive outlook.

    Next Steps
  • Journal your setbacks so you can look back and see how your setbacks fit into your successes and what you learned from them.
  • Have an optimistic accountability partner who will help you see the positive when you encounter setbacks.
  • Quit taking setbacks personally. See them as a set-up for you to step up.
  • Retrain your brain with self-talk so you see setbacks differently than before. See them as another step in your process of growth instead of as a failure.
  • Gain the perspective of others to help you see the truth.

Have a Positive Outlook

There is simply no place for negativity if you want to reach your goals. You’ll face setbacks and forces that will try to discourage you and take you off track, but you must never lose your optimism to succeed and accomplish your goals.

    Next Steps
  • Find a balance to make your optimism skeptical and not blind.
  • Focus self-talk on what’s bothering you and get it out of the way.
  • Talk about your negativity with a positive friend instead of internalizing it.
  • Gain the perspective of others to help you see the positive in your life.

Have a Long-Term Vision

A long-term vision will help you bring alignment into your life. You won’t know where you’re going without it. Your vision can shape the steps you’ll take over time to reach your goals. Seeing the long-term vision helps you set short-term goals, overcome temptation, stay positive, handle setbacks, make necessary changes, and will help you say “no” to good things so you can say “yes” to the best things.

    Next Steps
  • Identify your core values.
  • Identify your gifts.
  • Identify the key past experiences that shaped you into the person you are.
  • Use these three lists to write a clearly defined mission statement for your life.

Stand Up For Your Beliefs

Your actions and words reflect what you believe. Being assertive, not aggressive, will let others know what you stand for. Know what feelings you want to express and express them clearly.

    Next Steps
  • Look for a win-win when you interact with those with different beliefs.
  • Ask questions to surface what you are after.
  • Use “I” not “You” statements.
  • Don’t push your beliefs on others in a way that could be perceived as disrespectful.
  • Become aware of situations where you tend to become passive when it comes to your beliefs and address them with your self-talk.
  • Recognize and articulate the differences between facts and opinions.