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Do you have a big hairy audacious goal that you are trying to tackle? Figuring out where to start can sometimes be the hardest part. For me, earning my first-degree black belt in Taekwondo was my big, lofty goal. Below you will find a couple tips that helped me to achieve my goal and earn my black belt.How to Set Goals and Achieve Them

Break Your Big Goal into Small, Bite-Size Pieces

  • Break It Into Small Goals: To earn your black belt there is a large amount of material you must master in order to pass your exam. Looking at everything that I had to master all at once was overwhelming. I broke the material into the different sections of the test that I had to know and outlined specific goals for each section of the exam.
  • Outline Milestones: I had 6-months to train prior to black belt testing. In order to make sure that I made the most of my time and focused on the material that I would be graded on, I made major milestones by quarter for each section on the exam and then broke out the work by each month in the quarter. I compiled all of my milestones into a spreadsheet.
  • Make Weekly Goals: Once I had mapped out this larger framework, I got very detailed about the work I needed to do each week in order to hit my quarterly milestones. This allowed me to accurately understand the work that I needed to put in every day to reach my larger goal.

Track Your Progress

  • Keep a Goal Journal: Writing things down helps me to codify my thoughts and helps me to retain them. It also kept me honest with myself in terms of how I was pacing towards the daily and weekly goals that I was working toward.
  • Make It Visible: Looking at my goal journal on a daily basis was a way for me to keep my goals top of mind. In listening to other high performers, they have also recommended creating a vision board that is a visual representation of your goals and putting it someplace that you will see it frequently like your bathroom or your closet.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Adjust Your Plan: I would get frustrated with myself if didn’t hit my weekly goals. Adjusting my plan allowed me to understand how I was pacing on certain aspects of my goal and determine where I needed to hustle a little harder and where I was pacing ahead of my target.

Have Others Who Keep You Accountable

  • It Takes a Village: I am very fortunate to have a very supportive family and a very close-knit group of friends that I train with. They kept pushing and encouraging me to help me to reach my fullest potential. They also held me accountable. I shared my spreadsheet with my instructors, so they knew what my quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals were. Find an accountability partner and share your goals with them. Set a deadline for when you want to reach and achieve this goal and have them hold you to it. Making an accountability appointment with your accountability partner can increase your chances of success by 95%.
  • Seek Feedback: I regularly sought feedback from my instructors – I had them watch my form and had them conduct mock tests prior to the exam. This was extremely helpful as they would see things that I would miss that helped me to improve my technique. They also helped to provide outside perspective on how I was pacing towards my goals – they kept it real with me. Don’t be afraid to seek constructive criticism as this will accelerate your growth.

These steps, along with being clear on why I wanted to achieve my goal (so that it was something that I was truly motivated to achieve), and visualizing my desired outcome helped me to accomplish my goal of earning my first-degree black belt.

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