Why achievement is all in our minds...

Falling in love with the scenery, while hiking through Scotland
Falling in love with the scenery, while hiking through Scotland
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You can achieve anything you set your mind to - that’s the motto that Jon Maiden lives his life by.

It’s a life lesson that has carried him far and now the Sheffield entrepeneur wants to share the message with the rest of South Yorkshire.

“I live my life one goal at a time,” revealed Jon.

“Setting targets for myself and ticking them off as they’re achieved keeps me focused on where I’m going and what I want.”

And Jon is preparing to show everybody just how easy it is with his latest project - Goalvanise. Goalvanise is a website that will enable people to input their ‘wish list’ or ‘life list’ of goals, and then help set them on the path to achieving everything on it.

“A life list is a bit like a bucket list, only less morbid,” explained Jon.

“It’s a list of short term goals that you’d like to achieve, which you can constantly update. By putting the things you want to do on a tangible list, it helps focus on them and you’re more likely to reach goals and live a fuller life.”

And Jon is leading by example, having just completed his very own ‘life list’ of 50 things he wanted to achieve by his 30th birthday. It included climbing a mountain in the snow, driving a tractor, giving blood regularly, solving a Rubic’s cube, learning to ride a horse, sleeping under the stars, becoming a vegetarian for a month, taking climbing lessons, running a marathon, taking one photograph a day for a year, volunteering for a community project, getting (and staying) out of his overdraft and many more.

“My own life list was the inspiration for Goalvanise,” said Jon, who owns his own company, Big Green Fox, which develops careers education resources for schools.

“I kept a blog of the year and found that it really held me to account. My family and friends, and anybody else who was interested, could tune in at any time and see how I was doing and it pushed me to make things happen that otherwise I just wouldn’t have gotten around to. It was the most interesting year of my life so far.”

Once your life list is uploaded to Goalvanise, you will be able to share your experiences with the rest of the Goalvanise community, uploading pictures, ticking off one challenge at a time and even helping others or receiving help yourself with specific goals and challenges.

Jon, who lives in Millhouses, is quick to point out that absolutely anybody can take part in the Goalvanise challenge.

“You don’t need to be adventerous or an adrenaline junkie - I’m just an ordinary guy of ordinary fitness who hadn’t climbed mountains, run marathons or cycled across country before I started this,” he insisted. “And you don’t need money to achieve most things. I intentionally made sure that everything on my list could be done for £100 or less - and many for free.”

Jon says Goalvanise is about celebrating your life achievements and revelling in the joy that comes with each goal being met, as well as connecting you with a comunity of people with similar goals from whom you can draw inspiration and information.

“It’s about documenting what we’re accomplishing and sharing it with the world, like we all used to do with scrapbooks before everything became digital,” he said.

“We all invest so much time in our work lives, I decided it was time we start investing the same kind of effort and time in our personal lives.”

And more than anything, Jon says he is proud to see both of his parents, now in their fifties, each working to achieve goals of their own.

“My mum had a dream of building up her own sustainable garden which would allow her to grow her own vegetables and fruits and enable her to live off the land,” said Jon.

“After years, she is finally making that goal a reality at her property in Wales and I’m really proud of what she’s achieving.

“Likewise, my dad has always dreamed of becoming a professional saxaphone player and he’s now working hard towards that goal. He’s out gigging now a few times a week and is well on his way.”

And Jon’s dad is joining in one of his life goals, when the two of them will retrace the steps of Jon’s great-grandfather together, walking from Manchester to Birmingham.

“My great-grandfather walked that same path nearly 100 years ago, when he walked from his home in Manchester to Birmingham in an effort to find work to support his family,” said Jon.

“It means a lot to my dad and I to retrace his journey together nearly a century on.”

Goalvanise will launch this summer at www.goalvanise.com