Are You Painting the RIGHT House?
Nick Leonardo

Stephen Covey, author of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” tells the story of a man who had a goal to paint his house in five hours. Surprisingly, he was able to complete the task in just three and a half hours. He was delighted by this achievement, until he pulled his ladder away. 

He realized he had painted the wrong house.

This story shines light on an important message. Doing things right is very different from doing the right things.

An interview with Nick Leonardo illustrates the process.

1. How did you come to meet Flory and be part of A Wakened Events?

I met Flory in 2017 as a student in her computer science course at Iona. We learned the basics of coding and python, but the real takeaway from this class was the life skills and energy she brought to each class. I reconnected with Flory in November 2021 when she asked me to be an AWE ambassador.

2. Why do you think it’s difficult for people, in general, to achieve their goals?

Similar to New Year’s Resolutions, most goals are not “SMART” and therefore, not achievable. When setting a goal, it is important to make sure it is realistic, to involve accountability partners and have a tool to measure success.

3. How is a SMART goal different from any other goal?

SMART goals are much different than standard goals. SMART is an acronym that’s broken down into Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic and Timed. These categories offer a quantifiable approach to reaching goals, so that they don't get pushed to the wayside when life gets busy.

4. How did you use SMART to set and achieve your goal?

As a participant in the July 30th seminar, I shared with the group that I had a goal to lose weight. Flory told me (lovingly, of course) that this was a lousy goal - we needed to make it SMART.

Specific - I wanted to lose ten pounds in ten weeks by limiting Taco Bell, the catalyst to my weight gain. To achieve this, I was going to reduce Taco Bell from four to two times per week to start.

Measurable - Scale. Easy.

Agreed Upon - Do those in my life also want me to achieve this goal? Will they support me in this process? Will they hold me accountable? My best friend and fellow Taco Bell enthusiast, Peter, agreed to also reduce his Taco Bell intake. Flory even agreed to hold me accountable through weekly text updates on my weight.

Realistic- Was my goal of one pound per week realistic? Did I have any big trips or gatherings that would hinder my progress? Was I ready for this? Did I even own a scale?

Timed- When will I start? How long should I go for? I decided to begin August 1st and end on October 9th. I would weigh in every Sunday, in anticipation of my text to Flory.

I knocked this goal out of the park. Today, I'm down 4% in body fat, and 197 pounds to 183 pounds in just six weeks. I eat healthier, workout more and feel better overall.

5. What advice would you give to others who are having difficulty with this goal setting?

Remember, it’s YOUR goal. You can negotiate the terms of it, and you make it realistic for YOU.

If you are committed to achieving anything and everything you desire, start by involving others around you to keep you accountable and motivated. This especially helps when you feel your battery is running low!

Goal setting should be fun.

Now let’s go back to the man who realized he painted the wrong house. There’s a difference between doing things right and doing the right things.

One way to ensure that you are doing the “right things,” is to set SMART goals, otherwise you might go through life painting the wrong houses. Even though doing things right is important, if they are not the right things, you won’t get any closer to your actual goals. It might even push you further away because you have exhausted your time, energy and other resources. In other words, painting someone else’s house when you wanted to paint your own might leave you discouraged and frustrated.

Here at A Wakened Events, we will help you to set SMART goals to ensure that you are doing the right things that will lead you to success and happiness.