Having goal versus achieving goals – “When a ship misses a port, seldom is it the fault of the port!” This has always been one of my favorite sayings.   You see, the port is your goal or intention. You miss the port by not having a map to follow.   You wouldn’t just sail off into the sea hoping to dock at your destination, would you?   This is the difference between goal setting and goal achievement.

Until you take action your goals are only intentions.

For example, “I intend to get in shape” is only a statement of an intention. Until you have a plan (your map) on how to achieve this goal, all you have is intent to get into shape.   No plan or no map is why so many people fail to reach their goals.

People seem obsessed with setting goals, especially around New Year’s Day.   It’s so easy.   They tell themselves this is the year they will lose weight, stop smoking, take time off for their family, become a better spouse, parent, or friend, and many other cyclical wishes.   By March, they don’t have time for exercise, they are still smoking, and they have gained weight from holiday parties, and are working more than ever.   No improvement.   What is improvement and how do you achieve it?

Improvement is a process.   You’ve even heard the phrase “improvement process.”

A process is a step-by-step plan (or map) to get you to your goal.   Just as a map shows you where you are on your journey, improvement is a continuing process that flows.   That’s not to say you won’t get “off course” on your journey.   Just as you may need to make mid-course corrections while sailing, you may have to make adjustments to your improvement plan as it unfolds.

Improvement is a continuous flow.   It doesn’t just show up one day.   Doing 100 sit-ups on January 1st doesn’t let you realize your goal of getting in shape.   But doing 100 sit-ups every day for a year will certainly show you improvement in your core abdominal muscles, make you look better, clothes will fit better, and you will feel better about yourself.   You improve a little at a time.

Don’t get discouraged.   Your plan or map is one of “continuous” improvement.

It requires focusing on the “now” and not the end goal.   Do what is necessary right now today to move you along on your improvement path.   People around you every day may not even see you improving.   But someone who doesn’t see you for three months is usually shocked to see the “new, improved you.”

Just as you can’t go from your home port to your destination without a map, you can’t realize your goals or intentions without an improvement plan.   The plan you create to achieve your goal is your map to success.   Have worthwhile goals, a detailed map, and remember there is no shortcut to achieving anything worthwhile.

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