NBC’s Michele Tafoya interviewed Katie Ledecky immediately following her Olympic and World Record 400m women’s freestyle victory at the Rio Olympics on Sunday, August 7, 2016. During the interview she acknowledged that she fully expected to beat the record. But here is the most important part of that conversation. (I’m paraphrasing here) Michele Tafoya: ‘You are big on setting goals.’ Ledecky: ‘Yes, in fact my goal for the 400 was a “56” meaning under 3:57.’ Katie flashes a big smile and proudly states, “Check that one off!” Her world record time: 3:56:46! The interview made it obvious Katie understands the Habit of the Check that Youth4Youth teaches in the It Formula as part of a four-step process for easier goal achievement.

  1. Write It
  2. Plan It
  3. Do It
  4. Check It

There are many resources out there to get you started to help you be successful. However, here are a few speed tips to quickly energize you to begin the Habit of the Check.

5 Speed Tips:

  1. Put your goals in writing. Keeping track of your goals, plans and progress digitally makes things really easy. However, when I started doing everything digitally I noticed a drop in results. So once a goal is set I actually write it out long-hand.
  2. There is no limit to how many goals you can have. Diversify your life; set educational, career, personal, fitness and health, athletic, financial, hobby/fun, social, spiritual, relationship, and family are some key areas to consider when setting goals. Start with all or a few areas. The keyword here is “start” and just for fun throw in some daily and weekly goals.
  3. A close friend of mine has what he calls Primary Focus Goals. These are the current goals he is focusing his attention on. He limits his list to thirteen goals. He also has his top twenty-five list and listens to those goals as part of his daily exercise routine. Last but not least, there is his master goal list which includes these and many others.
  4. I have a master list also and review them twice a year just to keep them active in my subconscious. Many times I discover I have accomplished multiple goals without even trying. When a goal is reached it is never deleted. It gets moved to the “Check that one off!” section.
  5. Develop long-term and short-term goals and everyone is encouraged to have at least one goal that is unbelievable. In Youth4Youth we call this a S.O.A.R. Goal. A goal that is So Outstanding And Remarkable, that if accomplished, you and others would be astounded. A SOAR Goal is something that, when reached, would cause you to look in the mirror, pinch yourself just to make sure this was really happening as you smile, shake your head and say “Congratulations, that is unbelievable!”

Many wander through life. Wandering leads to unhappiness, wasted time, and many see themselves as a victim of circumstance. But not you, you are different. You set goals and have the Habit of the Check. You have discovered goals give you something to aim for. They point you in a specific direction. You have found goals help you to create a bigger vision of yourself and empower oneself. Educator and civil rights activist, Benjamin Mays said it best; “The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”

Call to Action

  1. What do you want out of life?
  2. If you develop this habit today where can you take your life tomorrow?
  3. Take a moment and write a goal today that you can “check off” tomorrow and before long you will have developed “The Habit of the Check!”       Check Mark

Larry Tracey, author of this article, is an author and founder of Youth4Youth.  Y4Y engages youth in developing habits and behaviors for leadership and success in life. Teens practice these skills by promoting their message of respect in their school and community. Have a question or thoughts? Contact Larry through youth4youth.org, email info@youth4youth.org or by phone at 623.208.3230.