Remember that day, not too long ago, when you said that this year was going to be YOUR year? That same day you promised yourself that as soon as January 1st hit, you would kickstart your strategy to get a new job, lose a few pounds, start your own business, buy a house. Well, goals aren’t just for the new year. Here’s how to make them, and stick to them…
Make it a proper goal
Saying that you want to do something is a great start, however, in order to accomplish it, you need to do more than say it out loud; you need to make it official.
A good way to go from “I want to” to “I am going to,” is to dedicate a couple of hours to reflect on what you want to achieve and consider your options to make it happen. This might not sound like a big thing, but by telling yourself that you have a goal to achieve and actually spending some time thinking about it, will help you get in the right mindset and will motivate you to start working towards it. Setting yourself a goal gives you not only direction, but also allows you to take control of your actions to get where you want to be.
When setting your goals try to focus on the ones that are the most important to you and that will bring the most value – whether that’s personally or financially. A very common mistake is to try to achieve way too many goals, which is not only difficult but can distract you from the ones that are a priority.
Set SMART goals
SMART goals is a very popular term used when planning goals. They provide guidelines and a structure to your goals to give you the best chance of success. The term has many variations, but put simply, SMART stands for:
- Specific: your goal needs to be clear and well defined. If, for example, you want to lose weight, set yourself a target weight rather than just saying “a couple of pounds”.
- Measurable: set any kind of dates, amounts or specifics that will help you measure your progress along the way.
- Attainable: when setting yourself a goal, make sure that your goal is achievable within the timeframe you are giving yourself.
- Rewarding: setting a goal that is too hard to achieve will only demoralise you and stress you out. At the same time, having a goal that is too easy to accomplish won’t give you any satisfaction. Because of this, you need to set yourself a goal that is challenging but achievable; it’s all about having the right balance.
- Time-based: give yourself a reasonable amount of time to achieve the goal you have in mind. By setting a deadline you will not only create a finish line for yourself, but will also give yourself a sense of urgency that will keep you going until you reach it.
Create a schedule
Once you have set a deadline then it’s time for you to create a schedule, or plan to help you work towards your goal.
Having a plan will give structure to the actions you take and will help you create a routine and develop habits that you need to reach your goal. If you have ensured that your goals are SMART, then the schedule will flow naturally from there, and you will only need to add the key tasks to be performed.
Keep your goal present
Setting your goals, writing them down and creating a plan to achieve them is all very good, however, this will be unfruitful if after doing all the planning you lock your notepad in a cabinet and never take it out again.
To achieve your goals you need to keep them present at all times, and a great way of doing this is through using visual elements to help you stay motivated and to keep you away from temptation. For example, if your goal is to get back to your ideal weight, try sticking a photo of your younger, slimmer self on the fridge door. This way, whenever you are about to look for a snack, you remind yourself of what you want to look like and keep you on track.
Let the world know
Well, maybe not the whole world but those close to you such as family and friends. Most people try to keep their plans to themselves, mainly because they are afraid of being criticised if they fail. However, if you think about it, this is a pretty negative approach to goals.
Making yourself accountable to your family and friends will actually give you a boost in confidence, as your closest fans give you lots of support, advice and cheer you up whenever you need it.
Keep your head high
As with everything, expect to bump into some obstacles and setbacks along the way, but the key is not to be discouraged by them but to keep focused on what you want to achieve.
If you hit a hard spot, analyse the situation and try to find a way to overcome whatever it is that’s proving difficult, and try to remember the reasons why getting to the finish line is important to you.
Achieving goals takes hard work, resilience and dedication which is what makes reaching them so satisfying, so just keep on going!
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