Studies indicate that 42.4% of Americans never succeed at achieving their New Year’s goals. This happens either because they set the wrong goals or because they don’t care about their goals enough.
Let us divide goals into ‘should’ goals and ‘want’ goals. Failure to achieve ‘should’ goals comes with disappointment and shame because they’re about what a person ‘should’ achieve, but are unable to. A ‘want’ goal is likely to bring joy because by achieving this, you’re not trying to conform to anyone’s image of you. It’s about what you want and that’s the end of it.
Goal-setting is a game of psychology. Know how your mind works and stay one step ahead of it. Take a look at the many tips I have for you on how to achieve your goals.
1. Find Worthy Goals
It’s not that the goal you set won’t be worthy enough of consideration. What I mean is that the goal you set must be worthy of your dedication. Make sure that your goal is compelling, achievable and gets you something you truly want with every breath in your body. Ensure that your goal is challenging enough so you don’t give up out of boredom, but not so perplexing that you tire of keeping up.
2. Set Fewer Goals
Set too many goals and they will dilute your energy. Focus on fewer goals, considering the time you have to devote to your other tasks. Even if you are an overachiever, assess your short-and-long-term calendars and set your goals accordingly. You don’t want to get lost in a mire of too many goals that will soak up all your energy.
3. Create a Goal Vision Board
If your goal is to achieve X amount of increase in a year, here’s what to do:
- Draw a chart representing your goal path on a large sheet of paper using bright colors.
- Pin your vision board in a prominent place where you are bound to see it every day.
- Use bright and cheery graphics to make it interesting.
Envisioning your success will keep you motivated and your engines running.
4. Find a Goal Buddy
A goal buddy can help skyrocket your progress and hold you accountable to your oaths. This means no more procrastination, excuses and wastage of time. Be sure your goal buddy is someone whose opinion matters greatly to you. If you’re running a business, share your vision with your team and get them to create their own goal visions. This will turn your goal into a group challenge, thereby increasing your chances of achieving it.
5. Review Your Goals Periodically
Your goal may be something else when you start out, but as time passes and situations change, you may feel the need to review it. Sit down each quarter and ponder over whether the goal you set will really help you achieve what you want.
Maintain regular goal check-in timelines and make changes and modifications. Don’t be afraid to change your goal settings, as long as they don’t stop you from achieving your goal.
6. Keep Your Commitment in Focus
How important is your goal to you and what are you willing to sacrifice to achieve it? You cannot achieve any goal without ample commitment and dedication. If your commitment is lacking, go back to the goal and start the process over. Focus on the joys of discovery and improvement, rather than results.
7. Keep Those Troubling Thoughts Away
Your thoughts influence how you feel and your feelings intervene with your ability to perform. If you have too many distracting thoughts and emotional disturbances, you’ll be prevented from achieving excellence. Review your thoughts; do you have fears and doubts that handicap you emotionally? Talk them out with your goal buddy or a professional.
8. Be Strict with Yourself – Don’t Overdo or Underdo
When your actions fail to bring you the results you want, you’ll tend to indulge in self-pity. Self-pity can translate into a glass of wine or a whole bottle of scotch. Stop being too sympathetic towards yourself or you will drive yourself into depression.
When you feel your spirit is beginning to sag, find something challenging to do or meet new people. If, on the other hand, you find that you’re overtaxing yourself and notice signs of burnout, take a break and speak to your goal buddy.
9. Get Rid of Distractions
There’ll always be calls on your time – family, friends, public commitments, and so on. Many of these distractions will be pleasant, and consist of the things that you enjoy doing. Review all your other commitments and cancel those that don’t offer a positive boost to your goals.
10. Plan Ahead
Maintain a weekly calendar and be sure you know the whens, whats and hows of everything you need to achieve in that timeframe. Review the calendar daily based on what you’ve learned that day. Detailed plans don’t work because things change every day. As long as you know the next actionable step, you’re good to go. Build it from there.
According to David Alen, productivity consultant and author of the time management method, ‘Getting Things Done,’ all you need to do is ask yourself what your next actionable step is to be.
11. Be Curious
You may lack motivation because you’re lazy, but then again, it might be so because you’re not curious enough. Evaluate your curiosity about how far you can go and whether or not you will succeed.
The need to know should burn in you bright enough to push you harder. If you’ve lost X pounds this month, you must burn with curiosity to know how much more you can lose next month. Curiosity, above all, will lead you to your goals and success.
12. Track Your Progress
If your vision board and goal path are important, then so is your progress chart. Create one and put that up next to the vision board so you can monitor your progress. You can create a goal-tracking worksheet and track your progress with dates and timelines. Use your goal-tracking worksheet to review where you are now and where you need to be before your next goal review timeline.
13. Demonstrate Consistency
When you’re set on achieving a goal, consistency and a stable routine will help you stay on top every day. Be consistent in your daily personal schedules and put in the same amount of time into achieving your goals every day. Also, be strict with your schedule of progress check-ins, progress-tracking, goal-reviewing, and so on. A strict routine will keep you on the mark and make life easier for your goal buddy as well.
14. Celebrate Every Success
Give yourself rewards for every success, and you’ll watch your confidence and motivation remain high. Pat yourself on the back by doing something fun that you really wanted to do. If you’ve been losing weight as per your goals, reward yourself with a slice of pizza just this one day.
15. Be Thankful for Your Progress
Don’t beat yourself up if you happen to fail in taking a scheduled goal action on a day. We are humans, after all, and bound to experience down days when we’re either unwell or unable to function at top speed. On such days, look back and be thankful for your progress.
Don’t allow negative emotions such as guilt to torture you. Be sincerely thankful and soon, you will start to see steady progress with your goals. That apart, you will want to set more goals and achieve them because it feels great to succeed.
16. Have Patience
If you had set a goal timeline as three months, and you’re unable to achieve the goal even as you’re in the midst of the fourth month, don’t despair or beat yourself up. Have patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
If you’ve overshot your timeline, contemplate your vision board again and see if your original goal path was accurate. It’s possible that you underestimated the timelines or that you took more time than the vision board indicates. It doesn’t matter, as long as you are achieving your goals. Recall the passion with which you started and reconnect with it to stay motivated.
Regardless of how much you read about setting goals and achieving them, your goals won’t achieve themselves. That is, not until you define them, put them on paper and start working on them right now.
Your goals may not look perfect when you write them down first, but don’t worry, it’s only the first draft. Keep at it, revise the draft as many times as it takes and then review your listed goals again. If you feel that some of the set goals are not meant for you, let them go. Focus on the goals that you can truly achieve and work at them until they’re accomplished.