Friday, September 25, 2009

Time Targets

This year is almost over. Many of us will be making New Year resolutions very soon. In January, The gym where I play tennis will be full for about thirty to sixty days and then return to the "regulars". We all want to be healthy but we let other things get in the way of our goals. "Time targets" may help us to stay focused on end results instead of making resolutions that are sometimes broken before the ink drys on our annual goals.

One of the craziest things I have ever done is escape from Alcatraz island. I am not the first in my family to do this and I have a feeling that a couple more family members will plan their own escape. I think I know what is going on in your head, you are thinking that this feat is impossible. The prison guards convinced the prisoners that anyone trying to escape would become a meal for the sharks circling the island. If the sharks didn't get them, the freezing cold water would.

If you are making big goals, you need big plans to follow through. Time targets allow you to see the end result rather than another broken New Year's resolution. Think of it as goals with deadlines. I start planning my goals with the final time target and then work backwards on the strategy until I am at today. Time targets can be used for something as crazy as planning an escape from Alcatraz or as simple as reducing debt. I will share my highlights of my time targets for Alcatraz as an example that you can apply to your specific goals...

Escape day: Get up at 4:30 am and put on wet suit. Record a video for friends and family. Catch the ferry to the island and get dropped off on the island with all the other crazy swimmers that do this twice a year. Swim to San Francisco. Call wife as soon as I complete my escape.

The night before: Eat a shark dinner with my friends that came to support me. Get a full night of sleep. Target weight is 158 pounds.

The final month of training: 300 stomach crunches every morning and 100 push-ups. Swim round-trip from La Jolla Cove to La Jolla shores in bad weather. Swim in the pool three times per week for one hour per swim.

(lots of stuff in between but you get the picture.)

Today: Eliminate all the bad stuff in my diet and do five push-ups and five stomach crunches. Visualize coming out of the water in San Francisco and do this daily to stay focused on the time targets.

(By starting small for the first thirty days, you avoid being overwhelmed. Your brain needs thirty days to make your goals a habit.)

Once I completed my time target list I put everything in order from start to finish. The complete list was very detailed and covered about one year of training. It started with super easy goals and progressed until the big day. Most of the 500 swimmers that swam with me made it out OK (a few got hypothermia and had to be pulled out of the 54 degree water). Some of the people that escaped in front of me included a twelve-year-old, a one-legged man and a dog.

What is holding you back from achieving your goals? Is it something that someone told you that convinced you your goal is impossible? Were you like the prisoners on Alcatraz that listened to their guards and never even tried to leave the island?

Why not put some time targets together and begin improving your life today? You are only limited by what you believe is possible. One of my friends told me I was trapped in my cave for so many years because I didn't believe I belonged on the outside. I just needed my Mentor to show me the light.

Try out time targets. You don't have to wait until Jan. 1 to do this. Start today. Chances are that you will have lots of room in the gym. Stay strong and stay committed!

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