Rules to Achieve Goals From an ‘Ultraman’

How are you doing on reaching your goals?

How are you doing on reaching your goals?

Today I read the article, “From Miserable Man to ‘Ultraman:’ A Fitness Journey” by Rich Roll on CNN, and received a fresh burst of optimism and motivation from his story and tips that I wanted to share.

Basically, on Roll’s 40th birthday, he took a hard look at his life and realized he wasn’t happy. Sure, he was a “successful” entertainment lawyer, a husband, and a father, but he didn’t like the overweight person who stared back at him in the mirror.

So he made the decision to do something about it.

Two years later, he had lost 35 pounds and placed 11th in the exclusive three-day Ultraman World Championship where selected athletes from across the globe swim 6.2 miles, cycle 260 miles and run a double marathon: 52.4 miles. He was the third fastest American, and he competed on a vegan diet.

I have no desire to compete in the Ultra(wo)man World Championship or to go vegan, but obviously, the man knows a little bit about the meaning of the word tenacious and has some concrete experience with setting and achieving goals. I was most interested in his advice.

Here are Roll’s summarized tips to create new habits and achieve goals, accompanied by a look at how my tactics are measuring up:

  • Make your goals specific and concrete.
  • When goals are too vague, it’s easy to give up or have an all-or-nothing mentality.
    (Done. My goals for 2009 are solid.)

  • Chart your progress.
  • If you don’t note your progress and gains, you’re more likely to notice your flaws and shortcomings, which will sabotage your efforts. When you monitor your achievements, it gives you the necessary confidence to keep striving.
    (Done. I chart my progress toward my goals here at Tenacious Me.)

  • Establish support and accountability.
  • Make your goals public. Tell supportive friends and family so they’ll keep you motivated when you start making excuses.
    (Done. As I say in my About Me page, I created Tenacious Me for the very reason to hold myself accountable to my goals.)

  • Passion is vital.
  • If your heart truly isn’t in it, you will fail or give up. Step back and evaluate your goals. Are you going vegan because you truly believe in its philosophy and health benefits or because you want to have something in common with the hot new guy/girl who just moved in next door and also conveniently happens to be vegan?

    The second half of the passion equation is to evaluate if it’s really “your” goal. Is your “go green” goal to bicycle to work because that’s how you want to help the environment or are you doing it out of societal pressure to live a greener lifestyle?
    (Done. Although, considering I’m severely slacking on my meditation goal, perhaps that is a goal that stems from more of a “should” attitude than a “want” one. More evaluation is needed there …)

  • Be realistic, and take it slow.
  • You can’t go from eating fast food and/or junk food most of the time to enjoying mostly fruit and vegetable-based meals. Set the ultimate goal and then set the baby-step goals to get you there. Applied in a different arena, one of my writing mantras that I’ve shared with the Procrastinating Writer is, “Slow and steady wins the race!”
    (Done. I’m finding this very helping in the “get an MBA” goal.)

  • Focus on one day at a time.
  • You’re bound to fall off the wagon here and there, but it won’t discourage you nearly as much if you just concentrate on the day at hand. You get a second chance tomorrow.
    (Done. I rely on this one regularly when I feel as if I’m not accomplishing enough.)

  • Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
  • No matter how many other things you have going on in your life, if there’s a goal you are dead-set on, you will make it a top priority. Remember when you first fell in love and you would drop everything to make time for that person? Well, you should feel that way about your goals, and treat them accordingly.
    (Done. This is how my “3 Most Important Things” became a ritual.)

  • Be consistent.
  • Spend time on your goal or goals every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s one minute or one hour, just as long as you’re making progress.
    (Done. Some days are better than others, but I’m always moving forward.)

What rules or advice do you have trouble following when it comes to achieving your goals?

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4 Responses to Rules to Achieve Goals From an ‘Ultraman’

  1. Great post. What has really been helping me lately is keeping a very detailed weekly progress report. I actually just wrote about it here: http://procrastinatingwritersblog.com/2009/07/22/weekly-progress-report/

    The details involved in this kind of report will keep you feeling extremely accomplished. It has changed my entire outlook on getting things done.

  2. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    Thanks for sharing, Jennifer! That is definitely a useful post, especially for someone like me who is trying to juggle multiple goals. Way too often I find myself feeling as if I’m just spinning my wheels. A weekly progress report would help me feel a lot more accomplished.

  3. Crys says:

    I think those are absolutely great goals and tips to keep in mind. I know that I personally am able to make change happen, but sometimes have a hard time keeping focused when it’s not exactly a major life change (eating right, working out, etc.) And I agree that a weekly progress report or just charting your activities/efforts makes a huge difference. Before my cat bite and last vacation I was keeping track of the days I worked out and what I did. That was ever so motivational to me.

  4. WDS says:

    haha, when i read the title of this post, i thought you must be posting “rules for living” from Adam!! i’m sure he will love that!

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