I came across a really great article recently. It is from Trent Hamm's personal finance blog The Simple Dollar, titled Eight Simple Tactics for Achieving Your Big Goal. This article reflects exactly what I'm trying to do in my own life. I've bolded Trent's main ideas, but please check out his site to see what he has to say.
Stop Thinking about Failure - This is such a great and oft overlooked idea. Who cares if I never become a concert pianist or run a marathon? Just trying to accomplis these goals will be worthwhile, because it's the journey that's important. Even if I never make the ultimate goal, I'll still become pretty darn good.
Keep Your Goal Within the Realm of Reality - I really tried to do this when I set these goals. I know that not everyone is going to be a concert pianist, but I believe I have the potential. Am I right? I honestly don't know, and as I progress, I may have to tweak some of my goals to better reflect my capabilities. But how will I know if I don't try?
Take Small Bites Every Day - What if you have a lot of goals? Even if you're taking small bites there may not be enough time in the day even for that. Do you have any goals that you could multi-taks? If you want to get in better shape, and be a better spouse like I do, why not take a walk with your spouse? Or use some alone time to clean the hous and really work out while doing it (do squats while waiting for the pasta water to boil when making dinner, mop the floor with a rag and bucket not a mop, take the laundry up and down the stairs 2 or 3 times before putting it away) so you don't have to clean when your spouse is home. Despite multi-tasking I have found that I still don't have enough time in the day to do everything. Some things I can only do every other day or only once or twice a week. If you're in the same boat, don't get discouraged. Just do your best with the time you have available.
Find a Mentor - Trent suggests using your doctor, social network and your work environment as a starting place for finding a mentor. This is a great idea, one that I have started to implement a tiny bit.
Find Positive Support - I think you can go to your social network and work environment to find this as well. Friends and family are pretty supportive of anything that makes you happy.
Shred Your Routine - This is something I definitely need to do. I really need to do better about getting things done before work and watching T.V. so much. Making these kinds of changes will really help me to accomplish more and take more small bites on a daily basis.
Share Your Goal Widely - Hello blogosphere! :)
Know Your Motivation - This is another point I need to work on, and keep my focus on others. Trent really hits the nail on the head when he says "Learning something new because it fulfills you is an easy thing to put off. Learning something new because it brings value to others is much more urgent." It would be easy to put off practicing if I'm only doing it for myself, but if I change my focus to the people I want to perform for, it makes practicing much more urgent. The sooner I get better, the sooner I will be able to share with others and bring them beauty and joy.
Good luck and don't give up!