How to Set (and Stick!) to Your Goals
LET'S GET REAL.
We're entering the fourth week of January...that's only 4 weeks into the new year...20-someodd days.
How are those goals you set on January 1st going?
If you're like the average person, I can almost guarantee that you've already traded in those resolutions for the same old routine you got into last year, and the year before that, and the year before that...
Am I right?
According to Forbes, only 8% of people kept their resolutions in 2016. Only 8%?!?
While we know goals may evolve and change over time, we can bet that's not the real reason people didn't achieve what they set out to do last year.
So what is the reason most people don’t achieve their goals? Well, there are a couple.
Lack of planning.
The majority of people didn't achieve their goals because they simply didn't have a plan.
Think of it this way: you can’t bake cookies without first:
1. Deciding you want to bake cookies.
2. Specifying the type of cookie you want to bake.
3. Most likely you know WHY you want to bake that cookie (because they’re your favorite, your kid’s favorite, you’re obligated to make them for a bake sale, etc).
4. Having a recipe to follow.
(Anyone else want cookies now?!)
If you didn’t go through this system, chances are, you wouldn’t end up with cookies. You may end up with biscuits. Or pancakes. Or some weird burnt substance and a dirty kitchen. And no one wants that.
Lack of consistency.
In order to succeed at a goal, be it a big one or a small, complicated or simple, it takes persistent and consistent action. Generally, people just say they want to have something, be something, do something.
But here’s the hard truth: if we truly want to have/be/do something, we are required to act, or else we will not have/be/do anything different than what we have right now. We will have exactly what we started with.
You have to do something.
And here’s the even harder truth: most likely, you’ll have to do something more than once. You have to disrupt your current routine and make time to act toward your goals every day. It could be as little as five minutes of action, but make that time dedicated and productive, and do it often.
In the book, The One Thing (available here) it’s said a new habit takes 66 days to form. Are you willing to do something for 66 days in a row in order to see a true and lasting change?
If you really want it, then I’d guess the answer to that question is YES.
So HOW do you set goals (and actually achieve them)?!
1. Determine WHAT you want, and be Specific.
You want to lose weight, run a race, save more money? Great. But how much weight do you want to lose? How far do you want to run? Exactly how much money do you want to save?
Ambiguous goals are easy to lose sight of. Get down to the nitty-gritty of what you want to do: who does it involve, when do you want it by, and the two most important questions to ask yourself…
2. WHY do you want it, and how will your life look different?
This ties in with being Specific, but it is something few people are ever ask themselves when setting a goal: WHY?
Why do you want to lose those 10lbs? To fit into a new dress? Dig more.
Dig a little deeper to find out Why. This is your motivation for achieving your big goal, and when the going gets tough, this is what you refer back to, in order to remember why you started, and why you must keep going.
Another way to ask this is to get to the root of it is, “How will my life look different when I achieve this goal?” Here is a great way to phrase this answer (and set your goal!):
I am grateful that I have lost 10lbs by ______, 2017, so that I can not only fit into my new dress, but I can also have my energy back to play with my kids after school and sleep better at night.
These are your goals. Make them for you, and not for anyone else. This way, you’re able to hold yourself accountable, because your truly internally motivated to achieve it!
3. Write them down, and tell someone.
I used to never write down my goals, and you know what happened?
...Not a whole lot. Nothing changed. A year or two or three would go by, and I was still not the person I wanted to be. I would completely forget I had ever even started on a goal. I simply wasn’t holding myself accountable.
So I took a note from my husband’s book, and wrote out every little thing I wanted to do the next year. I wrote down things I knew I could achieve (getting my hair cut, buy a shirt I had wanted for a while).
And what happened then?
I had so much fun crossing them off my list, and looking at my Action Board, knowing I had actually done something, that I wanted to do more, and I wanted to do it bigger!
So I wrote out newer, more audacious goals, printed out some new images for my Action Board, and told some trusted friends/family (and my husband!) my new goals. These were goals like:
- read 30 books in 1 year
- create my own website
- participate in a photo shoot
- complete a 16-week body transformation challenge
- ...and so many more!
THEN guess what happened?!
I had done everything I just mentioned. How cool is that?! And although I didn’t achieve absolutely on my list, I was so much closer to achieving those other goals! I had accountability, both internally (because I knew my Why), and externally (because I had written them down, could see them often, and told my tribe about them!)
Write out your Specific goals, and tell someone you trust about it, and watch how much closer you come to actually achieving it!
4. Now...forget about your Big Goal!
Okay, so you’re not going to just completely forget about it. You have your Big Goal, you write it down, then you break it down into smaller, attainable and actionable steps, or “objectives”, and make those your main focus… one objective at a time.
Think of it this way: Few people wake up one day and say, “I’m going to run a marathon in an hour without training!” or “today I’ll create a multi-gajillion dollar business before bed!” or “I’m going to climb a huge mountain without any prior planning!”
But when you break those Big Goals down into little objectives, and refer to those objectives often, before you know it, you’re at the top of the mountain! You’ve achieved your Big Goal! It didn’t happen overnight, and most things worth doing don’t happen that way.
Remember: It takes persistent and consistent action toward the attainment of your written goals to succeed at accomplishing your goal.
TIP: I use weekly assessments on what I can focus on to achieve my goals, by asking myself, “What is it I can do this week to get me closer to reaching my big goal?” and I make that a priority for that week. I use this awesome progress planner my husband created (available in the Free Resource Library!).
5. Small and steady wins the race!
Along with breaking your Big Goal into objectives, remember to keep your focus on 1-2 Big Goals at a time. When you have too many goals, even the most excited and driven of us can become overwhelmed and burned-out fast.
The tough thing is that you’re not always going to feel motivated to get after your goals.
How do you overcome lack of motivation? We create new habits. But habits are something you do NO MATTER WHAT, not just when you feel like it.
Create new habits that support your Big Goals. As I mentioned before, it is said it takes 66 days to develop a new habit, so by focusing on those objectives of your 1-2 big goals, you’re developing new habits, and are so much closer to reaching that Big Goal of yours!
And don’t forget to celebrate every single little victory along the way! This makes the whole process so much more enjoyable, not JUST the end result!
To review, here are the 5 simple steps for sticking to your goals:
1. Determine What you want, and be Specific.
2. Define Why you want it, and How will your life look differently?
3. Write down your Big Goal (what, when, and why) and Tell someone.
4. Break your Big Goal into smaller, attainable objectives. Refer to these often (daily/weekly!).
5. Don't tackle too many Big Goals at once (keep it to 1-2 at a time!).
**Be sure to check out this awesome no-hassle, goal-getter checklist, available (with the other goodies!) in the Resource Library when you Subscribe (bottom of Home Page here)!