I held myself accountable by starting this blog and letting the entire world know my intentions. Even in the beginning when the readers were few, Retire And Journey held me accountable every day. People would email asking what I was doing next, or they would congratulate me on one of my ventures. I have been invited to Thanksgiving dinner at the home of one of my readers, on a sexy Playboy-style cruise with a stranger (I actually went!), and even was sent a gift card to a restaurant in Portland. Each interaction pushed me forward and strengthened my commitment.
2. Pick Starter Goals
You are probably looking at your long list of aspirations, confused at where to begin. Focusing on too many goals can be distracting, so start by picking two to three to work on, at least one long-term and one short-term. If you can’t decide which ones to start with, read your list again to identify what excites you at the moment, what gives you goose bumps or a thrill in the pit of your stomach.
My first tandem goals were going to the movies by myself and driving through the hills of Tuscany. Of course, the theater task was completed almost instantaneously, which made me feel like I was making progress, whereas traveling to Italy took over a year and a half.
Once the short-term goal was completed I immediately replaced it with another easier item while still continuing to make progress on the larger goal.
3. Deadline Your Objectives
Setting deadlines can help escape the “someday” syndrome, a common excuse for why you won’t begin today because you will get to it someday. The goals you choose to currently work on should have a deadline different than “in your lifetime,” as it will create a sense of urgency to propel you forward.
Push yourself, but also be realistic.
If you have just accepted a demanding new job that will require six months of training, then your dream of going to a month-long silent retreat in Bali may have to have a longer deadline than a year. Spend some time calculating what is practical: if you are committed to a half year of training for your position, then allow yourself three months for full transition into the new position after the training period. Then assess how long it will take you to complete the goal from this point, and that’s what your deadline should be, keeping in mind that you will be able to complete little steps along the way.