You personally control your achievements far more than anyone around you. If you can develop a compelling scoreboard, a tracking system you will use and update daily, then your goals will have a way of reaching themselves.
Coaching a basketball playoff game without a scoreboard is a challenge. The crowd who cares about the outcome wants to know who is ahead. Knowing the score also lets the players know when they can ease up, and when they have to play their A-game. Give yourself an advantage by keeping, and keeping an eye on, the score of your playoff games.
First, name your game. Look at everything you want to do in life, and choose one major, important, realistic focus. Let’s say, for example, your game is called, “find a job.” Then, establish a finish line. How will you know you’ve won? Your final whistle might be the day you start your new position.
Some plays move a game forward, and others result in a three-pointer or a grand slam. Both matter. Your lead off plays will be those activities that you set into motion. Applying for jobs is a lead off play. You control the number of applications you send out, knowing that the more you send, the more likely you are to get interviews.
Interviews, then, lag behind. The lead action influences the results which drive the score. If you don’t get the ball to the right end of the court, you can’t shoot and score. The more lead action you have, the more lag action will follow. More applications, more interviews, more likely you’ll win the game.
Keep your scoreboard simple. Write down the name of your game, decide how many lead actions you’re going to take, and name them. Pay attention to the competition: those situations that distract you from your goal. Make a habit of charting your lead plays and you should be able to watch the lag measures relatively increase. If you can’t seem to win the game, increase your lead activities. That should improve the score in your favor.
Not every milestone is equivalent to a playoff game. Casual objectives are more like pickup games: buy milk on the way home, mow the lawn Saturday, see that new movie the day it comes out. You don’t need a scoreboard because achieving these goals, or not, has no real consequence. But life’s bigger achievements are much more than a pickup game. Create a rhythm of accountability to yourself and you will have better luck reaching your goals.