Welcome back! If you are reading this blog post first, please read the two prior ones, as this is the third article in a three-part series discussing the three essential actions to achieving goal success. GoalBud is an app we developed to help you achieve your goals by using the following three steps:
- Make a goal: Answer what you want and why you want it
- Build a goal team: Build a team of “Buds” (goal accountability teammates) who are willing and able to help you
- Create goal commitments: Plan, act, and report goal actions to your “Buds”
As my lead instructor in Navy SEAL training would say, “Achieving ain’t complicated, it’s just hard to do it daily.” He is right. You know that old saying, “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer: “One bite at a time.” The hard part is not taking action once, it is taking action again and again and again, even when you do not see any results from the actions you take. Persistence is the name of the goal-achievement game. To ensure success, you must create commitments to your Buds on what actions you will take and when you will take them each week.
In my last blog post, I asked you a simple question: “What work are you willing to commit to weekly, and how often are you willing to report it to your goal team?” One of the biggest mistakes people make in attempting to achieve a new goal is they over-commit in the beginning—they try to “eat too much of the elephant too quickly.” When you over-commit, you risk overwhelming yourself, which leads to giving up. Of course, you will not think of it as giving up. You will come up with very good and logical reasons why you can no longer keep up your over-committed pace.
Achieving goals is not complicated. It just requires daily commitments you can do on a daily and weekly basis. Don’t overthink goal achievement. Keep your focus on one week at a time, and break that week into daily bite-size chunks of action you can do. GoalBud and your Buds will help you keep your focus on the only action that matters: your next one.
In my previous posts, I told the story about achieving my first major goal—making the varsity rowing team (aka Kent School Boat Club) in high school. I followed the GoalBud process—1) I had made my goal: I knew when and why I wanted it (even wrote it down and placed it where I saw it many times a day); 2) I had built my goal team: I had partnered with a senior named Charlie who was already on the rowing team; and 3) Together, we created commitments to each other on the work we would do together and separately one week at a time.
At first, Charlie was not so sure about my commitment level, and rightfully so. I was a sophomore with limited rowing experience, while he had rowed for three years, was the captain of the cross-country team, and was a strong candidate for the first boat. To reach our fitness goals, we mapped out a schedule of free time and designated three days each week for us to work out together. On the other remaining days, we trained individually while taking Sunday off as our rest day. I made sure to keep him informed of each workout I completed. He was essentially gauging my reliability and dedication to see if I had what it took to make the team. Our Goal Team of two started reporting our weekly commitments just before Thanksgiving.
As planned, I followed up regularly with Charlie as we agreed. One week led to two, then three, then exam week. After that was Christmas break. I continued reporting to him every week, even during the holidays. With every progress report I made, my confidence and determination to work harder grew even stronger. Charlie and I started training 4 days a week together in January. In February, we increased it to 5 days a week. Within just three months of forming our Goal Team and making mutual commitments, we developed a new habit of training.
What began as a 30-minute-a-day commitment eventually escalated into the most rigorous, high-intensity, 90-minute workouts I had ever experienced up to that point in my life! Our routines were getting noticed by the other oarsmen and coaches. We would go to the boathouse before breakfast and after dinner, meet on weekends for “double days” (combining two workouts into one), and even challenged each other to the “bucket” (first to puke). If we had started with "first puke" mindset workouts, then I would have only done one or two before deciding that it was too challenging and seeking reasons to quit.
Starting with an action I knew I could complete for the first week of training helped build my confidence to commit a little bit more the next week. Every week of training was designed to build upon the previous one, so by the time it came around for spring training selections, several varsity rowers had begun joining Charlie and me in our workouts. By end of March, I had accomplished my goal of earning one of the only two available seats in the second boat, and I achieved it because of my “Bud” Charlie Pruesse and our commitment to each other one day at a time.
More than 35 years later, I am still achieving goals essentially the same way I did my first one: by defining them, building my goal team, and creating commitments that I report on weekly. It does little good to allow your focus to shift past what you can do right now. The most important action you can take is the one you are doing right now. When you have Buds that are holding you accountable for your goal actions, you will be amazed at what you can achieve.
Now, here’s the hardest part of goal achievement: shifting from talking to doing. I write these blog posts, author the Unstoppable books series, and travel around the world speaking and coaching for one reason only: to help people who want to achieve more. There are two kinds of people in this world, those that talk about doing, and those that do it.
My question to you is simple but hard: “Are you ready to achieve your goal?”
I know that you might think the answer is obvious, but it is not. It takes a lot of hard work to succeed. But if you are willing to put in the effort, it will show other people that you are seriously committed to your goals. This will attract other like-minded “do-ers” who are also willing to work hard to achieve their goals and help you in your mission. The best way to activate your goal team (and improve your likelihood of goal success) is to commit to taking daily action—day by day, week by week.
If your answer to my question above is “Hell, YES! I’m ready” (and it’s okay to be scared—I’ve been scared of every big goal I have ever gone after…and never regretted it!), then get ready, because GoalBud is going to be ready for you on March 1, 2023.
Sign up here for GoalBud!
As we say in SEAL Team: CHARLIE MIKE. (Continue Mission)
Let’s go Be Unstoppable together!