Setting and achieving goals is essential to your success. Whether you want to lose weight, take better care of your skin, or get out of debt-you’ll need a plan.
There are many ways to define a goal – some people call them objectives, some call them resolutions. But whatever word you use for it, setting a goal means knowing where you want to be in the future and then figuring out how best to get there.
Here are five strategies that can help make sure your goals become reality:
1. Be Realistic
When you set a goal for yourself, it’s very important to make sure that the timetable and steps are reasonable for your current situation. If you plan on losing 100 pounds in three months, make sure you have a plan in place to do so and not just some story about “getting more exercise.” On the other hand, if you want to lose 10 pounds over the course of a year and you haven’t lost any in the first six months you might want to add some exercise and healthy eating habits into your lifestyle before cutting down on calories. Otherwise, not only will your body fight against you (it’s used to the unhealthy way of life), but you might not see the results you’re looking for.
2. Write it Down
Studies have shown that writing down your goals helps increase the likelihood of achieving them by as much as ten times! So not only should you tell a friend or family member what your goals are, but put them in writing too! This can take the form of a blog, journal, or simply sticky notes on your mirror reminding you what you’re working towards.
Remember that a goal isn’t just something like, “I want to eat better and lose weight.” That’s not specific enough and it doesn’t tell anyone else (not even yourself) what exactly you’re doing to achieve that goal. Instead, try, “I want to place a healthier meal order every time I go out for dinner by asking the server to leave off certain things or request that they bring more veggies instead of fries. I also want to walk at least 30 minutes five days a week.” That way you have something specific and measurable!
3. Keep Records of Your Progress
Part of the reason why writing things down is so important is that it helps you keep track. This is an obvious one, but it’s important nonetheless! Make sure to keep track of what has worked for you and what hasn’t. Not only does this tell you where your priorities should be, but might offer some insight into how to improve yourself in the future! If you’re trying to eat healthier or lose weight, for example, you might want to see about tracking your calorie intake each day.
Keeping records not only shows you whether you’re on the right path (or if you need to make adjustments) but helps you determine what’s working and what needs to be changed. This can help you pinpoint the problem areas and figure out what’s not working so that you can create a winning game plan!
Creating goals and writing them down is essential in ensuring that they’re met. Keeping records of your progress is another way to stay on track, and having others offer support is never a bad idea. But perhaps the most important way to stay motivated, focused, and driven is to reward yourself when you’ve done something well. And lastly, make sure that your priority list matches up with whatever goals you have set for yourself!
4. Make it a Priority
Just like goals, priorities change over time so make sure that your priority list is also evolving with you! But no matter your age or occupation, most people have the same top priorities: family, friends/personal relationships, job, and health. So make sure all of your goals are in line with those priorities!
5. Get Excited
The best way to reach your goals is by being excited about them! Whether it’s a vacation you’ve been planning or the new house that you’re saving up for, get your friends and family involved so that they can share in your excitement too. Pictures, collages, drawings-whatever will help you remember what you’re working towards will help you get excited about it!
6. Get Support
If you really want to accomplish something, it’s important to know that there are others who believe in your ability to do so too! This can range from telling a close friend or family member about your goals and getting them on board with encouraging you along the way, to joining a group of like-minded people for the sole purpose of achieving your goals together. Not only does this help build a community of support for you, it gives you a network to look back on when you need a little extra motivation or someone to be accountable to.
7. Be Flexible
Even if you have the best of intentions, life happens and sometimes things don’t go as planned. So make sure that when this happens (and eventually it will) your goals are flexible enough to accommodate unexpected changes and you can still reach them in another way!
For example, if you’re trying to lose weight but can’t exercise due to an injury or illness, change your goals so that you focus on eating healthier. Even though the initial goal of losing weight has changed, if you don’t change it up too much and keep following a healthy diet you’ll still be able to reach your overall goal of being healthier!
8. Don’t Neglect Your Health
Many people make the mistake of putting their health last on the list because they believe that it will give them more time to accomplish other goals. You should never sacrifice your health for anything! If you’re not taking care of yourself, you won’t have the energy or motivation to put towards what you want to accomplish in life. So remember: take care of your body and mind first!
9. Understand Why You’re Making Changes
It’s essential to understand why you want to accomplish a certain goal in the first place, even if it doesn’t seem like it matters at the time. For example, let’s say you want to save money or pay off debt. While this might not seem like a very appealing goal, it will help you understand where the majority of your money is going and will allow you to make smarter decisions that could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars! So take the time to research exactly why something is important to you in order to get clear about what you’re aiming for.
10. Reward Yourself (and don’t beat yourself up)
If you have successfully reached a milestone (or even hit several) make sure that you reward yourself! Not only will this let you know when to celebrate, but it’ll show your body that the extra effort is worth it. And be sure not to make it a reward if you cheat on your diet or miss a day of exercise-this is supposed to be positive reinforcement! Make sure that whatever rewards are in order fit the goals you’re trying to reach. For example, if you’re trying to quit smoking, maybe your reward could be a new outfit or one hour of free time for every two weeks that go by without smoking.
Achieving your goals should be something that makes you feel good, not stressed or angry. If you’re constantly telling yourself that there’s “too much to do” and not giving yourself any room for downtime, you should take a step back and reassess. Of course, everyone has busy times in their lives, but if it feels like things are getting out of hand multi-tasking can become counter-productive (and make you feel even more overwhelmed).
Remember that this is YOUR life and your goals need to be something that you’re excited about-not something that makes you dread the future.
11. Don’t be Afraid To Fail
Even if you don’t reach your goals every single time, don’t let it stop you from trying again. Of course, there will be days where you slip up or probably even a week or two. But as long as you’re constantly reminding yourself of why you want to make a change, that’s what matters most! So have fun with your goals and enjoy every step of the process.
12. Change Your Attitude and Perspective
This last strategy is really important because it can help you accomplish more than you might think. Instead of looking at new habits and goals as something that’s going to be hard and require effort, think about them as a challenge that’s fun to take on! This will not only help you feel better about yourself and your accomplishments but also allow you to approach goals in a totally different way.
Now it’s your turn! If you follow these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to achieving those goals and feeling happier with yourself along the way.
So try out these tips and let us know what works for you and what doesn’t by leaving a comment below!