How to set big goals and stick to them.

When I was in college getting ready to graduate I started to panic about how I was going to accomplish my goals. I went to school to be an actress and lets face it, it’s not a conventional line of work and because there is no set way of going about a career in the film industry I was scared. What if I just end up like most people and fail because I just don’t know how to get started. I had a few great teachers that helped me to understand how to set goals in any area of life that would help me stay on track.

The first piece of advice came from my film teacher John Henry Richardson who told me to make big goals, medium goals, and small goals. So lets say you want to lose one hundred pounds in a year. To say you want to lose one hundred pounds sounds like such a huge insurmountable goal. So how do we make that more attainable.

Big goal- 100 pounds in one year.

Medium goal- 25 pounds every three months.

Small goal- 2 pounds per week.

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See how that works. Yes you have your big goal that you want but by breaking it down into smaller goals it doesn’t make you feel discouraged by the big goal. My problem was that it just always seemed like a giant step up to get to my goal. As if I was attempting to take on a hundred foot cliff in one stride but breaking it down into smaller milestones makes it feel more like one hundred smaller stairs. You can even go so far as to have two year goals five year goals or ten year goals. That way you aren’t giving up on the big picture but you aren’t setting yourself up to be overwhelmed by how big your dreams are.

Another teacher of mine, Valorie Hubbard from Actor’s Fast Track told me that people get so caught up in the “how” that they sabotage themselves before they get started. How am I going to get that audition? How am I going to come up with a nutrition plan that works for me? How am I going to get that job? How am I going to learn that new skill? All of these how’s bog down your thinking and people end up avoiding the things they should be doing to make things happen. Her solution is very simple. Just make small choices and actions everyday consistently and something will inevitably happen. Let’s say you want to get more fit or maybe let’s be more specific. Say you want to run the LA marathon but you don’t run. So instead of thinking “holly cow thats 26.2 miles! How will I ever be able to do that?” You start by jogging or even walking one mile everyday. Once that feels easier then bump it up to two miles and eventually you will get up to marathon distance. I have a hard time with this so I get how people can start to feel that they want to start by running fifteen miles a day and just go crazy right from the start. When we do that though we get burnt out very quickly. However when we just use consistence action everyday it really adds up and then next thing you know you are crossing the finish line and can’t believe you did it.

Cheering, Ethiopian marathon runner Haile Gebrselassie reaches the finish line of Berlin Marathon at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, 28 September 2008. Haile Gebrselassie again won the Berlin Marathon in world record time. The Ethiopian, who is 35 years old, finished in 2:03.59 hours and accomplished the win hat trick as the first runner ever. The year before, he had raised the record to 2:04.26 hours. Photo: Wolfgang Kumm
Cheering, Ethiopian marathon runner Haile Gebrselassie reaches the finish line of Berlin Marathon at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, 28 September 2008. Haile Gebrselassie again won the Berlin Marathon in world record time. The Ethiopian, who is 35 years old, finished in 2:03.59 hours and accomplished the win hat trick as the first runner ever. The year before, he had raised the record to 2:04.26 hours. Photo: Wolfgang Kumm

The next big piece of advice about goal setting that I’ve been given that really helps is to find inspiration that keeps you motivated. One of my favorite things to do is to watch Paralympic videos on youtube. These people are always so upbeat and go up against loss of limbs, disease, and other disabilities and still accomplish amazing things. Because no matter who you are there are going to be days where you need a push and sometimes seeing someone push through and defy the odds to make their dreams a reality can give you a boost of enthusiasm. You can always find inspirational people who have beat the odds and who have incredible stories to share.

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The bottom line is that it is easy to think that our dreams in any area of life are too big and we just can’t do it. Most things worth fighting for are difficult but man alive the feeling you get when you get there is definitely worth the difficulties. One if my favorite quotes is “The greater danger is not that our expectations are too high and we don’t reach them. Its that they are too low and we do.” Dream big because there are many ways to achieve anything for anyone. You just have to try and keep trying until you get there.

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