Have you ever set a goal for yourself and got super excited to get working on it? The first few weeks are great! You’re moving forward. Then life starts throwing tons of challenges and obstacles at you. Before you know it your goals have taken a back seat. Sound familiar? Do you tend to beat yourself up? Get discouraged? Feel like giving up?
I know I have. On many occasions. A big one for me has been every New Year’s, along with millions of others, I promised myself I would start eating healthy and exercising daily. I always start off with so much gusto. Then life happens. I miss a day of exercise, with the intention of a double workout the next day. Next day is super stressful. I’m crazy busy and rushed to get things done. My drive-thru meal is justified. Next thing I know, a week has gone by and I’m back into the same old routine – not exercising and not eating healthy.
We are not alone. Many face the same struggle. I began to wonder why so many of us never hit the goals we set for ourselves. Why do some push through the setbacks and others are frozen with overwhelm? I started to observe myself, my friends, and even my coworkers. As educators, we are very versed in writing student goals and lesson plans. We know how to ensure each student can meet his or her goal. Yet, some of us still struggle with our personal goals, especially when life gets hectic.
Here are the 8 ways to accomplish these goals:
1. Make Yourself A Priority
You most likely put others before yourself. It is a wonderful thing to want to help others, but if you are putting others before your own priorities and goals, you will quickly become overwhelmed. This is actually difficult for those of us that care for others. We feel such guilt if we do anything for ourselves. This is a habit we have to get rid of. If we don’t care of ourselves first we can’t be our best to help others. Take yourself seriously. You are important too. Be kind to yourself. Make this a positive healthy habit.
2. Make Clear, Specific Goals with Action Steps
The more specific you can be with your goal the better. Create action steps, no matter how small you think they are, use them. It becomes a way for you to measure your progress. Don’t discount the small steps. When life gets in the way it’s so much easier to move on or pick right back up when you have these small action steps to guide you.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins
3. Set Up Systems
Systems are the tools used to accomplish the goal. Use systems that work with you and your lifestyle that will help you complete each of your action steps. Examples: calendar, a notebook, or an app. Maybe a virtual assistant, or other service providers. The system you choose needs to work for you. Having a good system in place can keep your progress moving forward, or at least hold it in place when life happens and pulls you in a million directions.
4. Commit to the Process
Remind yourself “this is a process”. You’re changing your own behavior no matter what the goal is. When you take action towards your goal, you’re creating a new habit. You’re building self-confidence. Becoming self-assured. When life gets tough and we begin to lose sight of our goal through procrastination we are conditioning ourselves for failure. This is why those tiny action steps are essential. They facilitate momentum and consistency.
5. Monitor Progress
Ensure you have a way to monitor your progress. Establish this when creating your action steps or setting up your systems. Feedback tells you if your action steps are moving you toward your goals. If they are not, quickly modify or eliminate what is hindering the progress. Remember to not take the feedback or a set-back personally. It is just a part of the process. Keep moving forward.
6. Avoid Multitasking
Give your brain a break and focus on one thing at a time. When working on your goals we need to focus on that. Nothing else. That doesn’t mean that you ignore your significant other or neglect your children. It does mean, that when you are with your family, be with your family. Focus on them. Enjoy your time with them. Allocate a specific period of time that you will work on your goals. Remove distractions, such as a phone, and commit to that time period to focus on the next action step. Success is all about being consistent.
7. Create Your Own Hope
This is your internal self-talk. Make it positive and daily. You do not need permission to take action towards your goals and don’t wait for someone to give you this permission. If you need to, seek positive influencers and listen to their stories. Learn to say “No.” You don’t have to do everything for everyone. Comparing yourself to others? This is your journey, not theirs. Emotions determining your actions? Emotions come and go. If you’re feeling emotional, feel it. Embrace it. Then let it go. Refocus on your goal.
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu
This is important. Having a mindset to be grateful for the things, people, and opportunities in your life. If we don’t appreciate what we have now, how would we be able to appreciate anything once we accomplished our goals? Each of us have our own life experiences and life struggles. Those experiences and struggles shape us into who we are. They are lessons that can either make you or break you. The choice is up to you and determines if you will be successful in achieving you goals.