A virtually unknown Japanese athlete named Yamada, unexpectedly won the 1984 Tokyo International Marathon. And when reporters asked Yamada what lead to his startling success, his response surprised everyone: “Use wisdom to defeat opponent,” Yamada told reporters. No one understood. Everyone knew running a marathon required both physical strength and endurance, but no one knew – nor could see how wisdom played a role. So stating some type of knowledge led to his success confused people.
However, two years later in Italy, Yamada won his second International marathon. Everyone was shocked! Two marathons in two years! Reporters swarmed Yamada the moment he finished the race and asked: “You’ve now won two International Marathons. Can you tell us what’s the secret to your success?” Yamada answered the same as he did in Tokyo: “Use wisdom to defeat opponent.” Marathon competitors around the world were baffled by this, “so-called” wisdom.
That was until nearly a decade later, when Yamada finally revealed the mystery in his autobiography: Yamada wrote: When I first started running marathons, I would set my goal on the finish line. This method did not work for me. Because usually around mile 7, I would get tired and become frightened by how much further I had to go. So I changed my method to this: Before each run, I would travel the entire rout and check it very carefully. I would mark important signs along the road, the first mark might be a bank, the second mark a tree, the third mark a house. I would do this all the way to the finish line. And when the race began, I would run as fast as I could toward the first goal, the bank. When I arrived at the bank, I’d strive for the second goal, the tree. I’d break the whole marathon rout into many small goals – and finish them easily, one-by-one.
Today I want to talk to you about committing your goals to paper. Too often, people don’t bother to write down their goals. They prefer instead to keep them in their mind. But I’m here to tell you: That just doesn’t work! Your goals have to be in writing. And they need to be kept in plain sight so you can constantly refer to them.
Brian Tracy says, “Goals that are not in writing, are not goals at all. They’re merely wishes and fantasies.”
When you put something in writing, it helps you stay loyal to what you say you’re going to do. And when you put something in writing, is gets absorbed in your subconscious mind. And once something is in the subconscious, without even thinking about it, just like gravity…it will pull you toward it.
I recently read an article that said: Think of your goals as mile markers on a long journey to a specific location. The mile markers measure your progress; they let you know you’re heading in the right direction, and that you’re moving closer to achieving your objectives.
Goals are simply a concrete way to track and measure our progress in life. “I’m going to earn more money next year, or I’m going to lose weight,” those aren’t goals. They’re what Brian Tracy refers to as wishes. They’re merely desires, and desires can’t be measured. Concrete goals and the time you plan to achieve them are very measurable.
You see, success in life takes a lot of planning – very meticulous planning at that. It also takes a tremendous amount of drive and focus. And two questions we all need to be asking ourselves are: How committed are we to our goals? Are we committed enough to put them in writing? Because wanting something, and actually making a commitment to get it – are two entirely different things. I believe having a passion, and a commitment to make our goals come to pass, is just as important as having them.
Harvard Business School Professor, Rosabeth Moss Kanter suggests you test yourself – to see if you’re truly committed to reaching your goals by seeing of you can answer “yes,” to the following questions:
Do you feel strongly about the importance of your goals?
Do you have a burning desire to achieve your goals?
Do your goals match your values and beliefs?
Are your goals something you consistently dream about?
Do your goals get you excited when you think of them, and when you share them with others?
Are your goals realistic, are you sincerely convinced that your goals will be achieved?
Are your goals vital to the future of the people you care about?
Are you committed to the long-term as you work toward your goals?
Are you willing to put your credibility on the line for your goals?
Can you make your goals the primary focus of your activities?
Are you willing to devote your personal time, evenings, weekends, and vacations to bring your goals to reality?
And lastly, will you be able to fight through rejection, criticism, and negativity when advancing toward your goals?
I believe if you can answer yes to these questions, the likelihood of seeing your goals come to pass it’s virtually guaranteed!