I've never been great at math but the thing that's nice about solving a math problem is that there's a clear path and steps you need to take to get to the right answer. Although those steps may not be quite as clear when trying to solve a personal problem, you can still look at past hurdles you've overcome to help you succeed in reaching your future goals. Here's how I discovered my personal algorithm:
Define Past Goals
Start by making a list of all the important goals you've achieved. They can be from any area of your life and related or unrelated to your current goal. Think about any hurdles in school, work, sports or habits that you've overcome.
Remember the Struggles You Came Across
For each of those goals, try and remember what was particularly difficult for you to overcome. If graduating High School was one of your achieved goals, which part of that was a challenge for you? Was it a particular subject in school that was hard to pass? Maybe it was getting into a routine to make it to class on time or balancing your part time job with school work.
How Did You Overcome Them?
Now that you have the specific challenge in your mind, try and think about what you did that helped you move forward. These were some of my challenges:
School - Math in particular was my weak subject and I asked everyone I knew who was good at it, to help me. I watched how they solved the problems and asked if they had any tips for remembering the steps.
Work - I was never keen on looking for new jobs because I liked being comfortable at my current one. Going into a new work environment was difficult for me because I didn't like going into a place where I didn't know anyone. Anytime I've changed jobs, I've asked friends where they work, what it was like and if there are any openings. Each job I've gotten, I've known at least one person with the company.
Sports - I picked up skiing no problem when I was a kid but learning to snowboard was a bit more challenging in my teenage years. I asked everyone for advice, figured out what specifically I wasn't getting and asked for more advice. One person's tip for switching to my toe edge clicked for me and I could finally get down the hill.
Personal/Habits - Being more outgoing has always been a goal of mine. I've always admired people who are sociable and have had an interest to ask them how they do it or to watch the way they act in social situations. It comes natural to many people but thinking about the way they think and act helps me come out of my shell when I'm feeling shy.
Find a Connection
Once I stop and think about all those situations, even though they are completely different from each other, I can find a connection. When faced with a difficult situation, I clearly like to draw on other people for their advice, support and to mimic their actions. I know that when I'm struggling with something, I need to define exactly what it is I'm not getting, find people who do get it and ask for their advice.
Now I can use this information and apply it to my goals for 2014 and follow my proven steps when I feel like I'm struggling. What is your personal algorithm for achieving goals?
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