UNWRAPPED: The Ultimate Guide to Get Where You Want to Go – FAST! Part 5 – Check & Adapt Your Course

Personal Development, Unwrapped-Series
Navigation in a car

This is a series of 5 practical articles, which will teach you my method of achieving any goal in record time.

We are now coming to an end in our method of achieving your goals. Let’s recap.

In Step 1 I told you about the importance and power of setting a vision and precisely defining a goal.
In Step 2 I told you about the difference between your internal goals (your motivation) and external goals and why you need to define both.
In Step 3 we were talking about creating a map with detailed steps and milestones while at the same time ensuring that you consider your internal and your external focus.
Step 4 was all about moving your butt and taking action. We also discussed how you need to shift your focus towards taking care of your action steps to be present in the Now!

Now once you are on the road taking and caring about the necessary steps towards your goal being in that Zen like state of focus on your action in the now you only need to check once in a while that you don’t get lost. Let’s talk about being off course, errors, failures & adapting to changes.

Step 5. Control You Progress: Check Your Map & Adjust Your Course

Being Off Course Is Normal

As much as I like that state of being fully aware of my doing and being present, I also know that l need to check frequently whether I am still on course.

Did you know that an airplane is most of the time of course? It doesn’t matter whether it is on autopilot or whether on manual flight, wind changes are resulting in slight deviations from the original course. So what a pilot (or an autopilot system) constantly has to do is to compare the current location with the planned route. Since the plane will be off course 99% of the time, the pilot needs to adjust to get back on course.

And it is the same with you while driving, that’s why you keep your hands on the wheel and are correcting every slight deviation immediately.

The Two Categories Of Deviation

With our human nature there are several reasons why we can deviate from the course. However we can of course separate them into two categories – external and internal.

External Caused Deviation

This is comparable to the wind changes of an airplane or the road bumps of a car drive. Now matter how much good visualization you put into, the road towards any goal will bring you in contact with the outside world. You will meet and need people and resources.

Let’s assume you need a computer and some people to reach your goal. Both have the tendency to behave slightly different than in your imagined world – i.e. the computer could crash and people could misunderstand your communication. No matter what – things do get wrong on the way. You could bang your head against the wall, but that rarely changes anything (except your doctors bill if you do it too hard).

The problem we have when it comes towards our goals is that we get connected too much emotionally during the travel. Especially are we afraid of not getting it. This fear leads us into a panic reaction once there is something not running the way we planned.

What we need to develop is the emotion-free, cold blooded reaction scheme of an airplane pilot. You need to become as cold blooded as Chesley Sullenberger who was able to splash land safely in the Hudson river. All that counts is :

  1. Where are you now?
  2. Where do you want to go?
  3. Are you off or on course?
  4. If you are off course, what changes have to be made to get you on course again? Especially what can YOU change to become the necessary change?

These are the only 4 questions you need to ask once something has gone wrong.

Internal Caused Deviation

This is the more tricky part of getting off course. Even if you have a great plan, started with good motivation, are able to communicate well with other involved people and your computer is stable, you can still get sidetracked easily – simply because you stop to follow through. Here we come to a big problem in most projects – procrastination and destructive behaviors.

What Is Procrastination And Why It Is Not Your Enemy?

Procrastination is a pain in the ass – excuse my direct language, but that’s what most people feel about. There are hundreds or thousands of books, tapes, etc. out there who want to help you with that problem, but most of them miss the root cause of your procrastination habit.

Procrastination is not your enemy – it is your friend! “What? Me being lazy is a good thing?” No, it’s not a good thing, but it isn’t bad either. It is just a learned behavior pattern that kicks in to protect you.

You need to understand that procrastination is a protection pattern. Procrastination wants to protect you from being overwhelmed, from that feeling of being out of control. Well, it might not be the best or the most clever strategy, but let’s face it – it is a strategy that works sometimes. How often have you procrastinated and the problem went away? Often enough (especially in your early years) that your brain linked that behavior as a possible and effective strategy for coping with the pain of feeling overwhelmed.

Since you now understand that procrastination is not about you being defective with your will power there is a much better way of tackling that behavior. Again think of Chesley Sullenberger. Don’t get emotional now – not even about yourself. Analyze the situation and adapt to it. Your procrastination is comparable to your fuel gauge. If it lightens up you don’t beat up the gauge or cover it with tape to not see it anymore – no you correct the underlying problem by driving straight to a gas station. You can do the same with your procrastination gauge.

Ask yourself: “What does my procrastination pattern wants to protect me from?” That is the thing you need to change.

Let’s assume some possible answers to this question and possible solutions you might come up with.

You might be procrastinating because:

  • You don’t like the associated action (maybe filing a tax report). Then ask yourself how you can make this step more enjoyable. Can you combine it with something you enjoy? Maybe changing the ambience is sufficient. Can you delegate it? If not and you still cannot move yourself to like it, then write down what good things will come out of you doing it anyway. There is a positive reason why you wanted to do it in the first place. Reconnect with that reason, experience and intensify it in your mind.

  • Your next step might feel to big for you. Then consider how to break it down. Alternatively, get other people in the boat to help you with that jump.

  • Your next step could lead into a conflict with another person. Then find out why this could lead to conflict? Could you come up with an alternative solution to turn it into a Win/Win situation, or use the sandwich technique to bring up the topic.

No matter what you come up with, find out why you are uncomfortable about this step and get possible solutions to the real, underlying problem.

Again let’s get the method for course correction clear.

  1. Check where you are now.
  2. Check where you should be on your map.
  3. If there is a deviation, check whether it is due to internal or external causes.
  4. If it is caused by external factors, find out what needs to be change AND how you need to change to correct the course.
  5. If it is caused by internal behavior, then find out what the real problem is that made your procrastination pattern kick in. Solve that problem.
  6. Make a schedule to recheck you course frequently. You might need to check your progress monthly, weekly or daily depending on your goal.

Power Questions for Step 5

  1. Where am I now?
  2. Where should I be?
  3. What needs to change?
  4. How do I need to change?
  5. What does my procrastination pattern wants to protect me from?
  6. How can I make the step easier and more enjoyable?
  7. Do I need other people or resources to make a jump?

Other Parts

UNWRAPPED: The Ultimate Guide to Get Where You Want to Go – FAST! Part 1 – Vision & Reality
UNWRAPPED: The Ultimate Guide to Get Where You Want to Go – FAST! Part 2 – Motivation
UNWRAPPED: The Ultimate Guide to Get Where You Want to Go – FAST! Part 3 – Building A Map
UNWRAPPED: The Ultimate Guide to Get Where You Want to Go – FAST! Part 4 – Taking Care of Your Action

19 comments… add one
  • Thanks, going to read it when i get home

    .-= ´s last blog ..Spending time at uni =-.

  • Hey Patrick,

    Looking at the fie steps together, this makes a lot of sense. It’s like an equation for success. The good news is that there is actually a lot of scientific research showing that things like vision, action and adapting are some of the defining traits of successful people. Unfortunately, not a lot of this research gets into mainstream personal development.

    .-= ´s last blog ..Being mysterious is overrated =-.

    • Patrick

      Eduard, these steps indeed are a universal formula that I haven’t invented – I just wrote what all the successful people have used throughout centuries.

  • Hi Patrick, you’ve clearly put a hell of a lot of work into this. I haven’t read the other 4 parts, but have bookmarked for reading later.

    I liked what you said about procrastination but don;’t necessarily agree it’s can e a good thing, I think we sometimes procrastinate as we just can’t be arsed 🙂 but I understand where you are coming from.

    .-= ´s last blog ..The Magic Pill =-.

    • Patrick

      Steven, I don’t think it’s a good thing, but neither is it a bad thing – it is a symptom and an indicator to an underlying problem. Compare it to physical tooth pain – although the pain is the disturbance in your life, it is not the problem by itself. The pain always indicates that there is an underlying problem. Covering it with a pain killer won’t do you good in the long run. You need to find out what the problem with your teeth is. It’s the same with procrastination – there is a reason why its there and therefore it is an indicator that could help you (like a good but uncomfortable friend) to tackle the real problem in your life.

  • Hey great ending to the series. Procrastination can be a big problem for people, I know it has kicked my butt several times. I like your take on embracing it. I like to try and use it to my advantage now days, by eliminating the things that aren’t good for me. When I get the urge to surf youtube, or watch tv shows, or anything of that nature I just say, “I’ll do it later.” 😀

    Keep up the good content! Looking forward to more.

    http://www.colbycheeze.com – Personal Development Kung Fu

    .-= ´s last blog ..Personal Development Kung Fu Podcast #1 – Do Later List =-.

    • Patrick

      Colby, who wasn’t kicked in the butt by it several times 🙂

      Procrastinating on Procrastination is a great strategy too.

  • Hey Patrick,

    Interesting series, I believe we procrastinate over things that don’t align with our values, it’s a mechanism to tell when we putting our energies towards activities that do not inspire us and do not align with our deepest values.

    A pattern does emerge and builds into other areas of life but I don’t know about any of you, but I never procrastinate over doing the things I enjoy or that inspire me.

    .-= ´s last blog ..Don’t Let The Attitude Of Gratitude Turn You Into A Pushover =-.

    • Patrick

      Amit, values are an important part that drive our motivation. The key to motivation is finding a great reason why you want to do it. If your goal is in alignment with your values, that Why Question is already answered through your values.

  • Patrick –

    This is such a comprehensive approach to goal achievement and has something for everyone. I think that most of our challenges do come from internal rather than external sources as that is what we can control. Procrastination often comes from a fear of what might happen if we actually show up to the races. Learning to identify, understand and overcome that fear is one of the best skills we can develop. Thanks again for the guide.

    Phil

    • Patrick

      Phil, I agree. I guess 90% or more of our challenges come from our internal resistance towards achieving our goals.

  • You know what, this is a really interesting set of articles. I’m gonna bookmark it,

    .-= ´s last blog ..Lessons From a Month of Meditation =-.

    • Patrick

      Hope it will help you get your goals FAST!

  • Hey Patrick,

    I am a coach and I am impressed of the simple, clear and concise structured way of how you write your stuff.

    I am so happy to be a friend with you!

    Ioan

    • Patrick

      Ioan, thanks and I am honored to have met you early on your blogging success story.

      • I see that you wrote that „The problem we have when it comes towards our goals is that we get connected too much emotionally during the travel.”

        Is this really a problem? 🙂

        .-= ´s last blog ..Cum sa obtii libertate, bani sau putere in 4 pasi =-.

        • Patrick

          Ioan, this could indeed become a problem if you fear not reaching your goal too much. Being too emotionally attached to a goal might make you over-consider every step along the way, for you fear making mistakes. That could indeed kill all chances of you getting there.

          Compare it to man wanting to date a woman. If he wants it too much, gets nervous by the thought of making a mistake, etc. the conversation will become awkward and the woman will run away. Most women will prefer a guy who is laid back, a little bit detached – in the way of cool, calm, confident and not afraid of making mistakes, who feels really comfortable in the moment – in that essence goals are like women 🙂

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