Are you frustrated you’re not being the person you want to be? That you’re not doing the things you want to do? And not having the things you want to have?

What’s stopping you?

Most of us seem to think it’s because we don’t have enough time. In those brief moments when we’re not blinkered by busywork, we look up, and mutter to ourselves, ‘if only I had more time’. By ‘busywork’ I mean: any work that is not effectively getting you to where you really want to be.

In Lack of Direction, Not Lack of Time is the Problem I talk about how the real problem for most us is lack of direction: not knowing where we want to go. If you don’t know what’s truly important, for you, then don’t be surprised if you end up spending all your time chasing the randomly urgent. Chances are, you won’t enjoy the journey or the destination.

So long as your basic needs (food, health, shelter, and access to the internet) are being met and you know exactly where you’re going – you’re much more likely to get there than if you spend all your time running around in circles and moaning about not having enough time.

Zig Ziglar’s Goal Program is all about finding what’s truly important to you, setting tough but doable goals, and making real daily progress towards them. Read about it here.

Last week I got to the end of a 12 week Zig program and here are 7 things I learned:

1. It works. Having delivered dozens of projects in business and in life, I’ve tried all sorts of ways to channel my time to best effect. None of them have worked as well as Zig’s way. Do it.

2. Make sure your goals include specific ‘success’ criteria, like ‘grow my email subscriber list to at least 1,000’, or ‘run 4 miles, at least 4 times a week’.

3. Have a mix of goals: not just business (or getting more stuff). Include family, friends and health etc. This forced me, every day, to think about and act on my non-business goals. Things that can so easily get neglected.

4. Use the first 10 minutes of each day to come up with and write down the 2 things that will most effectively move you toward each goal. I do this after a run & Tai Chi practice, and over my morning coffee. Then, do those things, and get them done before anything else, preferably in the morning. Do not allow any distractions. No email. No Facebook. No Twitter. Anything else you do after that is a bonus.

5. Write out the word, ‘NOTHING’ under a goal heading if you didn’t do anything for it that day. This forces you to confront the fact you did not move toward that goal that day. Not nice, but effective.

6. Take 30 minutes at the weekend to review the previous week. Really think about the highlights, what didn’t work, and what you learned from what didn’t work. This will help you get back on course the next week.

7. Set specific weekly goals for the week ahead. This helped me a lot. I also estimated how much time it would take to achieve each of these weekly goals so I that I wouldn’t get overloaded, or sell myself short.

Bonus: I have to admit there were 2 weeks towards the end of the 12 week program when I failed to do the weekly review and most days failed to plan and track progress. Disaster. I really noticed the difference. I drifted aimlessly through those days – flitting from one useless task to another. I allowed myself to get distracted and found myself doing more and more pseudo ‘urgent’ stuff and getting more stressed as a result. Do not skip a single day.

This week, I reviewed and rejigged my goals, and started another 12 week cycle. I fully intend to apply these lessons. Perhaps you can learn from some of them too.

You can get a pack of 4 workbooks from Amazon right here: Pick Four (4 Pack – Designed to Share)

What’s your take on all this? Have you tried the Zig Ziglar program or something similar? What have you learned?