An old saying goes, “time waits for no man (or woman).” Whoever came up with that line hit the nail on the head.

At Petra Coach, we work with clients who express their business and personal goals with passion and excitement but have no plans for the path to achievement. I hear about fantasy vacation homes in the Caribbean, but no associated goals to get the dreamer there, financially or geographically. I’m shown a photo of a peak that “someday” will be summited by the would-be climber, but that dreamer can’t walk from up a flight of stairs without having to stop and catch their breath. At least a thousand times I’ve heard “someday I’m going to….”

I always respond the same way to these type of statements: “When? What day? Show me on a calendar.”

My fellow coaches and I are in the business of getting things done and we’re fascinated by people who set and accomplish BIG goals, as well as how they do it. It’s true that some folks naturally make things happen by sheer will. But even if there is some luck involved, I’ve generally found that most people need a plan, attainable goals, and deadlines. Having these kinds of mechanisms in place can eliminate the word “try” and make BIG things happen. Here are some of the usual challenges of everyday life and how those can be overcome:

“It seems like there isn’t enough time in the day…”

You’re right! There are only 24 hours in a day and a third of those hours are spent sleeping, so the clock is ticking. You need to maximize your time.

Here’s a news flash: All things in life are not equally important. Only you can decide what is important and what is not. A very wise man once said, “If you have more than 3-5 priorities, you don’t have any,” so set only the most important priorities and stick to them. If it’s a matter of time to devote daily, block out an hour or two on your calendar to work on your projects. We call that your “power hour.” Set time to work only on your most important goals, and get them checked off the list!

“I just don’t know where to begin…”

Sounds like you’ve set some big targets if you don’t know where to start… GOOD! The only thing worse than having no goals is having weak ones.

The best way to combat this challenge is to begin with the end in mind. A good coaching question is “tell me what success looks like,” because it forces you to identify not only the outcome but all of the needed steps to achieve the outcome. If the goal is “sail around the Caribbean,” and you have zero sailing skill or experience, the first step would be “schedule and complete a sailing introductory course.” After completing that, the next goal might be “practice 150 hours of nautical training and sailing in the next year.” Once you’ve gotten your sailing certifications, goals will start to look like “research buying a boat and set a deadline to get it done” or “find someone who has a boat who might want to sail with you and split the costs.” Just remember: Having a deadline is critical to making priorities happen.

“We’ve always done it this way…”

Marshall Goldsmith wrote, “What got you here won’t get you there.” Amen!

In business, the way you operated as a start-up isn’t going to be the way you’ll operate five years down the road. You’ll grow, add employees, increase revenues, and refine processes all along the way. Don’t be afraid to make changes and question your methods every step of the way. The most successful companies are nimble, bold, and self-aware, so read some business systems books, attend learning conferences and engage a business coach to shine a light on the areas of your business that need attention. A professional accountability coach is someone who will help you identify challenges, come up with a plan to address them, and make sure that you and your team are DOING the work to enact change.

Whether it’s exiting from your business at a huge multiple or watching the sunrise from Mt. Kiliminjaro, your goals can be achieved by writing down a plan and executing against it. My final piece of advice is to tell someone your goals, and when I say tell someone, I mean tell everyone! Others can help you stay on course, if you let them.