In life, if you’re not moving forward, then while you might not be going backwards, but where are you going? As time passes you by, you get older, you might get wiser but do you achieve anything? Instead of merely drifting along, reacting to what life brings you, why don’t you try taking proactive steps to go out and create the future you want? While you can never control everything that happens to you, you can control yourself by setting goals to achieve your big dreams.
Why Should You Set Goals?
It’s essential to set goals so that you have something to work towards. It doesn’t matter if those goals or your priorities change, but it’s important to have some there, something to look forward to and some sort of plan in motion. It’s no use just bumbling along in life and hoping for the best; you need to work for what you want. So, now you know why. What about how?
Decide On Your Goals
The first thing to do is to decide what your goals are and when you’re thinking about them, it’s okay to dream big. It’s also okay to think small; it’s whatever you want, they are your goals. It might be buying a car or that you want to go on holiday next year, you want a new job, you want to buy a house, or you want to lose weight. Whatever it is, don’t do it unless you really want it and are excited by it, there is no point in setting a goal because you think you should be working towards something in particular or other people think you should be working towards something or just for the sake of choosing a goal. Think about what it is that you want. Sometimes it’s easier to get going with something small and then once you reach that, it motivates you onto the next goal.
Write Them Down
Writing down your goals increases your chances of sticking to them. It’s important to get your ideas out of your head and down onto some paper. It is also a good idea to write down as much detail as you can. Write down what it will look like and how you will know that you have reached your goals and what your time scale is for when you would like to have achieved it by. Describe your goal in specific terms, so instead of ‘I want to buy a house’ write ‘I want to save up a deposit of $10,000 to buy a two-bedroom house in this area by September next year.’ Or, instead of, ‘I want a new job’ write ‘I want to have this job role in this industry or that company in six months time.’ But do make sure that you write what you want rather than what you don’t want. For example, don’t write ‘I don’t want to be working at this company by next year’ or ‘I don’t want to still be a size 18’, rework these goals and put what you do want. It is important to start off positive and aware of what you’re working towards rather than trying to get away from.
This is another trick which can be really useful when it comes to sticking to your goals. It’s good to be accountable to someone other than yourself, and while a friend or family member might not make you take responsibility or check you’re sticking to your goal, they might well ask how it’s going, and it’s embarrassing to tell them that you aren’t doing well. So, tell someone or a few people so that you have to stick to it.
Overcome Your Scary Thoughts
It’s quite possible that your goal is a scary one and that’s okay, you’re bound to doubt yourself, and there is no point in working towards something that is that easy to get, it has to be a challenge. You will be wondering if you can do it, you’ll be looking at what you have done in the past when you might have tried and failed before. You might also have to do things that you have never done before to reach this goal. So, be realistic about what’s going on in your mind and when you sit down to write down your goals, also write down your scary thoughts and turn them into positives and mini-goals. For example, if you want to lose weight but you have tried many times before, then rather than writing down that you find it challenging to stick to a diet or you hate running, you could write, ‘I can learn to love running’ or ‘I can eat more vegetables every day.’ Because at the end of the day, it’s these little changes that add up and make a difference. If your body is going in one direction and your mind is going in another, you’ll never get where you want to go.
Break Down Your Goal
If you have set big goals, then it’s vital to break them down into smaller goals that are steps on the way to achieving your bigger aim. So, if your big goal is to lose ten pounds, then set yourself mini goals for how to get there, such as ‘I want to be able to run around the park for twenty minutes without stopping,’ this could be something to work towards while helping achieve the long term and bigger goal of losing weight. Also, start with losing half a pound, and when you have achieved that, you will feel inspired to carry on. It doesn’t seem as overwhelming that way. Having several small goals makes each of them a bit easier and gives you a feeling of success along the way, which also makes it more likely that you’ll stay on track towards your bigger goal.
Schedule Time To Work On Your Goal
There’s no point just making the goal; now it’s time to put some plans into action and start achieving. So, get your calendar out and find some time to schedule in your small tasks. Make a list of what you have to do and work your way through it, one step at a time. This is a great way to manage a giant list, and if you have it scheduled in that you know that at 10 am on Wednesday, all you need to do is that one small task and not worry about anything else and it’s all planned.
Prepare For The Unexpected
It’s good to have a contingency plan for when life gets in the way, and things don’t go according to plan. According to research from NYU, you are much more likely to reach a goal if you plan in advance for what to do when things go wrong. Think about what could happen to disrupt your good intentions and think about what you can do if it does happen. It’s good to think of a few different scenarios so that you have all bases covered and then when something does happen, you don’t have to think, you don’t have to get frustrated and exasperated, you know the plan so you just have to follow it and you will keep moving closer to your goal.
Working towards your goals can sometimes be difficult and frustrating – so you need to persevere. Thinking about different ways of reaching your goals makes it more likely that you will be successful.
Read Out Your Goals Every Morning
Every morning, you should read out your goals before you do anything else. Do this every single day, so that your goals are the primary focus of your life. Make this a habit so that you will always remind yourself about your goals, which means that they will be at the forefront of your mind for every decision you make throughout the day.
Review Your Goals Each Week
Each week, you need to review your goals and your results. Take a look at what you have accomplished each week and where you currently stand. Find out whether the actions you took are getting you the results you want, if not then change your strategy and take action again. Sometimes your plan will have to change, which is fine; looking at different methods is not a problem, just make sure you only change and do not abandon your goals.
Take A Break
No matter how committed you are to your goals, it is also essential to achieving them that you do take a break. This is not a sprint, it is a marathon, and you don’t want to burn out too quickly and end up failing.
When you reach your goal or even your mini-goals, take time to enjoy it and celebrate. Thank anyone that has helped you, tell people what you have achieved and think about what you have learnt and experienced along the way.
Now you’ve done it once; you can do it again. What else do you want to achieve? What’s stopping you?
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