by Dr. Melanie Ross Mills | Contributor
As a Temperament Therapist and Life Strategist, I have worked with multiple clients desiring a “quick fix” or an easy solution to reach a desired goal.
Unfortunately, excuses soon follow once we discuss the effort and steps required to reach their desired goals. Whether this message is verbally communicated or subliminally expressed, they are not ready to do what it takes to pursue their desired outcome.
• I can’t change because I haven’t in the past.
• I don’t feel equipped to accomplish my goals.
• There’s no hope for change because I am stuck.
Change is always possible if you are a willing participant who is ready to develop a very important muscle. Your “decision making muscle.” Strengthening this “muscle” will help you listen, learn, and follow through towards your goal. You will notice an internal confidence that shows up once you move from “head knowledge” to “heart engagement.” You will switch from thinking and knowing what to do… to actually doing it with each empowered choice.
Much like building physical muscle strength, transformation does not happen overnight. Patience and perseverance will be your allies. Excuses and fears will fight against your optimism. Irrational or unrealistic perspectives can become your demise, resulting in not accomplishing the tasks you set before yourself.
As you take control over your mindset, overcome obstacles and make aligned choices, you will look back and see how far you have come. You will realize that in order to reach your goals and develop your “decision making muscle,” you will need a game plan, internal motivation, commitment and external support.
Here are 10 steps to kick start your game plan. Take it one step at a time and remember that lasting transformation is found in the process, not in the “quick fix.”
Step 1: Define your goal
To the best of your ability, clearly define your goal.
What do you truly desire to achieve? Do you have underlying
insecurities that might hinder you? Have you attempted a similar
goal in the past? What happened? Is it a long- or short-term goal?
How long will it take you to accomplish your goal?
Step 2: Define your motivation
To the best of your ability, examine your heart.
What is your underlying incentive to pursue this goal?
Are you secretly desiring accolades, attention, affirmation?
Are you wanting to obtain personal health through your
Step 3: Define your personal responsibilities
To the best of your ability, be realistic in your responsibilities.
Where will you need to step outside of your comfort zone in
order to reach your goal? Do you need to join certain groups,
visit specific people, companies or places? Will you need to invest
financially, physically, emotionally, mentally in new ways in order
to reach your goal?
Step 4: Define your hindrances
To the best of your ability, look at what might set you back.
In Step 1 you addressed some possible fears and insecurities.
Re-read your step 1 answers. Now that you have had time to think
in greater depth what is required of you, are there other hindrances
that might get in the way? Self-examine hurts, fears, habits,
unhealthy patterns, lies you believe about yourself, lack of support,
relationship challenges and any other areas that could potentially
stifle you from moving forward with your plan. What personal
limitations might hinder you from achieving your goal?
What underlying fears might cause you to experience feeling
stuck, paralyzed, fearful? What has held you back in the past?
Step 5: Define your expectations
To the best of your ability, define what you want to see happen.
What results would you like to happen in the short term? What
results would you like to see in the long term? Are you tied to
the outcome more than the process? How are you changed as
a person by reaching your goal? What do those around you
need to do in order to help you reach your goal?
Step 6: Define your support system
To the best of your ability, gather your support system.
Who are you willing to share Steps 1-5 with (choose
someone trustworthy)? Who do you feel has your best
interest in mind? Who has proven to be faithful and safe in
your life? Who will give you honest input, feedback, suggestions?
Step 7: Define your future
To the best of your ability, take an in-depth look at your future.
Can you see yourself on the other side of your goal? What do
you look like emotionally, physically, mentally (and for some,
spiritually)? What impact did accomplishing your goal have
on yourself, others, the world?
Step 8: Define your life
To the best of your ability, get ready to go!
You are now ready to GO! You have laid out your plan, and
now it is time to implement. You will tackle one day at a time.
You will reach out to your support system as needed and commit
to scheduled check-in times. You will do what it takes as each
day presents a new set of challenges, as well as victories and
Step 9: Define your victories
To the best of your ability, embrace your victories!
You witness yourself taking ground as you move towards the goal
that you might have never imagined you would accomplish. This
is what makes life beautiful and rewarding! Celebrate!
Step 10: Define your take-away
If you made it to step 10, you made it to life change! You have
experienced elation, satisfaction and frustration. You have
developed personal grit. You can look back and see your goal
Your result may have taken a different form from your initial goal,
but you did it! You know what it took to get here. You should feel
Take time to think through the process, the barriers, the victories.
What surprises were along the way? Did your motivations change
from beginning to end? Did you change your support system
along the way? Were you happy with the time frame it took?
What did you accomplish that you did not see occurring?
How did you impact, inspire and challenge those who witnessed
your goal pursuit? What changes could you have made to ensure
greater success (if any)?
Most importantly, how are you a changed person having pursued your goal?
Now it is time to grab your support system and celebrate together! Then, repeat Step 1.
Editor’s Note: You can reach Dr. Mills at www.melanierossmills.com and listen to her podcasts on goodlifefamilymag.com.