Setting a new goal is exciting, but that's just the start; you want to go on to achieve the goals you set. Here are 10 ways to lay a solid foundation whenever you set a new goal for yourself, so you're fully equipped and set up for success.
1. Make sure your goal is something you really want to pursue.
Pursuing a goal you genuinely want can be life-changing. It can get you out of a rut, energize you, and make you feel refreshed and renewed.
On the other hand, pursuing a goal you're not really on board with has the opposite effect: it drags you down and drains you. As things wear on, you become increasingly susceptible to anger, frustration, depression, and resentment.
Pay attention to your gut and any warning signs it may be trying to send you. If you're taking on a goal reluctantly or feeling pressured, take some time to assess whether it's something you genuinely want; or if you're getting dragged along by someone else's values and priorities.
2. Identify the "why" behind your goal and don't lose sight of it.
What's the secret that enables some people stay focused over the long term when pursuing their goals? What drives them to persevere through difficulties and setbacks? These are the people who identify the "why" behind their goal, and they don't lose sight of it.
When you have a compelling reason for pursuing a goal, it gives you strength and conviction to stay the course.
3. Focus on your commitment to your goal, rather than relying solely on feeling motivated.
Feelings fluctuate, and you can occasionally find yourself feeling unmotivated for any number of reasons. There might be something going on in your life that's distracting you. You might be tired because you didn't sleep well. You might simply be having an off day, or going through a rough period.
The good news is that you don't have to rely solely on feeling motivated. When those feelings are lagging, focus on your commitment to your goal and take action based on that commitment. (Remembering your "why" during these times is this is helpful.)
4. Make sure your goal is achievable based on what you have control over.
If your goals revolve around factors you don't control, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Even when you work hard and do all the right things, there's always the risk that factors beyond your control can prevent you from achieving the outcome you're looking for.
When setting a goal, ask yourself, "Is this something I have direct control over?" Generally speaking, focusing on actions you can take and personal behaviours you can change puts you in control, as those are the areas you can take full responsibility for.
5. Make your goals clear and specific.
It's hard to successfully follow through on vague, unclear goals, because you don't have a clear vision or destination that you're working towards. Being clear and specific in our goal setting is essential, as that's how you identify the exact outcome you're going after.
6. Come up with a detailed plan.
Your goal is your destination; your plan is the roadmap to get you there. A plan ensures that you always know what you should be doing to work towards your goal, along with what comes next. Without a detailed plan, you're more likely to find yourself lacking focus, knowing you should be doing something, but not quite sure what that "something" is.
7. Create an environment for success.
It's going to be much harder to achieve your goal if things in your environment are working against you. On the flip side, you can give yourself an advantage by shaping your environment to support your efforts. For example, if you're trying to keep things tidier and more organized around the house, invest in the appropriate storage (decorative baskets, storage bins, etc.) so you have a proper place for everything.
8. Set a timeline for monitoring your progress and achieving your goal.
Beyond a final deadline, make sure you have a timeline in place while working towards your goal. This allows you to monitor your progress as you move forward with each step, and you can promptly see when you're falling behind.
9. Don't beat yourself up if you get off course; focus on getting back on course.
Life isn't always predictable; there are all kinds of events that can get in the way and knock you off course.
Beating yourself up when this happens only makes things worse. You can find yourself losing confidence, pulled down into a spiral of negative thoughts and doubts. Instead, accept that everyone falls down at one point or another (the vast majority of successful people will tell you they've fallen down repeatedly.) Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and focus on getting back on track.
10. Celebrate your growth and what you've learned, no matter what the final outcome.
Your goals are meant to serve you, not the other way around. There are plenty of reasons why it might make sense to abandon a goal mid way through. Maybe other, more pressing issues have landed on your plate, and you need to direct your energy and attention elsewhere. Maybe the priorities in your life have changed unexpectedly. Maybe you've come to the realization you would be much happier doing something else. In hindsight, you may realize that pursuing your goal was a key step in preparing you for other, more exciting opportunities.
Whatever the circumstances, recognize when it's time to step away from a goal, and don't be afraid to let things go. At the same time, recognize that the time and energy you invested haven't been wasted. Every experience becomes part of who you are, contributing to the fabric of your life and giving you something to draw on in the future.
No matter what the final outcome is, celebrate your growth and what you learned, and then get ready for whatever comes next!
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Image Credit: Nennieinszweidrei from Pixabay
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