Are you great at setting goals for yourself? Do you always struggle to achieve these goals?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
We all love to have big dreams and aspirations. Whether we are inspired by a book we have read or an online blog post, we often find ourselves wanting to better ourselves by setting goals.
Having goals is incredible. It means that you are full of hope. It means that you have something to drive you forward.
But the problem is that it’s not always easy to achieve those goals. In fact it is never easy. If it was, we would all be extremely healthy and productive all the time.
New year’s resolutions show us just how bad we are at following through with our goals. In fact, according to Forbes, ‘less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them’ (Ashira Prossack, Dec 31, 2018).
This is an incredibly discouraging statistic, but if you stay motivated and committed to your goals you can become one of the eight percent.
This is why I am writing this blog post right now. We are now in July and we have just passed the half-way point of this year. If you set yourself new goals at the beginning of this year, this is the perfect time to evaluate how your progress is going.
If you feel like you haven’t stuck with your goals this far, I urge you to implement the five habits in the blog post.
With this post I aim to do two things:
- Help you to stay motivated to achieve your goals
- Give you a guideline to help you consistently work towards your goals
So if you feel like you are struggling right now to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself, keep reading this post. I hope that you will be able to implement at least some of these habits in your life.
- 8 Productive Things to do at the End of Every Month (to Prepare for a Successful Month Ahead!)
- The Sunday Routine That Will Change Your Life
- 5 Morning Habits of Successful People
1. Remember the big picture
One of the main reasons why we struggle to achieve our goals is because the difficulty of keeping up a new habit makes us forget about our end goal. We often lose our motivation to keep working towards our goals because the journey to getting there seems too challenging.
Therefore, it is imperative that when we set our goals, we think hard about who we want to be in a few year’s time, when we have achieved those goals. Furthermore, we need to make sure that we remember the big picture, especially in those moments when we procrastinate doing certain tasks.
Where do you want to be in two years?
The first step to remembering to keep your eyes on the prize is to know exactly what the prize is.
For example, your goal might be to save more money. But unless you have something specific that you are saving up for, it is going to be very difficult to stick to your grocery list on your weekly shop. However, if you know that you are saving to buy a house in two years time, saving money will be easier. Just make sure you keep that dream house in mind.
Create a vision board and keep it visible
I know not everyone reading this will want to take the time to create a vision board. However, you will be more likely to achieve your goals if you keep your goals visible.
And a vision board is a great way of reminding yourself of your goals and keeping them in the front of your mind. Creating a vision board will make it easier for you to stay on track with your habits.
Here are some examples of how you can use vision boards:
- Make a traditional vision board by cutting out images and sticking them onto a single sheet of paper.
- Use a graphic design tool such as Canva to design a desktop wallpaper for yourself. (Canva has a preset called “Desktop Wallpaper” that should fit the size of your screen).
- Find a vertical image that represents what you want your future to look like and set it as your phone wallpaper.
- Create a board on Pinterest and pin things that inspire you.
2. Prioritise things that will help you achieve your goals
Every day we make many decisions about what we are going to do that day.
If you want to achieve your goals you need to make it a priority to do the things that will bring you closer to those goals.
Now this might be a lot easier said than done and in a way it goes back to my first point of remembering the big picture.
If you want to achieve your goals you must make it a habit to prioritise your goals. For instance, let us consider one of the most common goals that people have: eating healthier. Imagine now that it is mid-afternoon and you still have a few hours left before dinner. You start to feel a bit peckish and you decide to have a snack. You have two options at home: an apple and a chocolate bar.
The problem we often face in this scenario, is that it is all too easy to say things like “it’s just one chocolate bar” or “I’ll start eating healthier tomorrow”. We are great at coming up with excuses for not doing things. However, the problem is that we don’t just use excuses once or twice. Before we know it, our excuses become our habits. So even if we have the right intention to be healthier, unless we choose the healthy option most of the time, it will not become a habit.
If you want to achieve your goals, you have to choose the option that will bring you closer to your goals most of the time and make the alternative option the exception, not the other way around.
3. Schedule time for working towards your goals
If you want to consistently work towards your goals, you should put it in your schedule.
When we put something on our to-do list without giving it a specific time-frame, it is really tempting to push it back to another day. To avoid this, allot a specific time each week or each day when you are going to be working to achieve your goals.
Time blocking is something that I have raved about in a few of my past posts. It is an approach that I personally have had a lot of success with. This is because it gives you a guideline for what you should be doing with your time. Instead of allowing you to think “what do I want to do?”, time blocking makes you think “this is what I have to do”.
Here’s how you can implement time blocking:
- Choose what it is you want to do regularly.
- This could be anything that will help you to achieve your goals. For example, working out, writing blog posts, learning a language.
- Decide how often you want to do it.
- For example, daily, weekly, three times a week, etc.
- Go to your calendar and fill it in with your activity at the interval you have chosen.
When using time blocking, try not to overload your calendar. In the past, I have tried to schedule every hour of every day with productive tasks and it hasn’t worked. I found that I often fell behind schedule or just burned out from not having enough breaks.
Here are some other posts where I have talked about time blocking:
4. Set ONE task every day that will help you achieve your goals
Reading a lot of blog posts, like this one, about achieving your goals can seem really overwhelming. It is a lot of information to take in at once and you might not know where to start.
Do you relate to this? If so, I challenge you to do the following.
Every day, I want you to set yourself one task in the morning that will bring you closer to achieving your goals.
You don’t need to pick a major task or something too time-consuming.
The important thing is that you do it every day and that you don’t stop working towards your dreams.
Make sure that you have a list with a few potential tasks to choose from. This way you avoid not doing anything because you can’t come up with something on the day.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight then you could use any of these as your daily task:
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Cycle to work
- Do a 30 minute yoga routine
- Meal prep for the week
- Eat 2 healthy snacks
- Go to the gym
- Create a meal plan for the next week
- Do a 5 minute power workout
As you can see, some of these have very different levels of difficulty and require different amounts of time.
The more you vary your tasks, the less likely you are to become tired of them.
Whatever your goals may be, the one-task-a-day rule can really help you to get into the habit of working to achieve your goals.
5. Reflect on your progress regularly
Lastly, we’ve come to one of the most important habits on this list.
The key to achieving your goals is to consistently reflect on your progress and plan ahead.
When you work towards your goals, you will complete small tasks and meet different milestones along the way. If you don’t acknowledge these small victories, you will get discouraged because your final goal seems so far away.
By tracking the small steps and recognising where you have progressed you will feel empowered to continue.
On the other hand, you may feel like you have not been doing enough recently. If that is the case, it is good to reflect on your current situation and to plan what your next steps are going to be.
If you have not progressed as much as you would have liked to, don’t beat yourself up. It happens to everybody. The most important thing is that you put that behind you and think ahead.
If that is the case, I want you to plan ahead using these questions:
- What is my next goal?
- What are the steps I need to take?
- How much time will I give myself to reach it?
- What are the tools that will help me to reach this goal?
By always thinking about what your next steps are going to be, your goals become a lot more tangible.
Most importantly, always remember to celebrate the small steps and victories. If you are too focused on your end goal, you won’t appreciate how far you have already come. Because of that, you will be more likely to lose your momentum.
Have a way of tracking your progress
This is not going to be possible with all of your goals but if you can, track your progress.
Some goals may not have an obvious numeric value that you can track. However, it could be as simple as tracking the days in which you completed a certain habit.
Find a way to visually or numerically see your own progress. This will keep you motivated to keep going.
For example, if you are a blogger and your goal is to grow your blog, you could track monthly sessions or monthly Pinterest viewers. If your goal is to exercise more, you could track the amount of days a week you exercised or the distance run/weight lifted.
Also, a lot of people who use bullet journals use habit trackers to keep track of which days they completed daily habits.
That being said, sometimes your trackers will show you results that can be discouraging. And you will not always see positive growth.
I think it is important to note that it is your long-term progress that matters. If you are a blogger and you are checking your stats daily, you will be disappointed because things like daily page views fluctuate all of the time. However, comparing this month to last month might give you a good idea of how you are progressing.
Achieve your goals ‘now’, not ‘later’
Phew, you’ve finally reached the end of this post. Are you feeling slightly overwhelmed right now?
Well if there’s one thing I want you to take away from this post it’s this:
Don’t wait for your goals to happen.
If you want to achieve your goals, you have to take action now. Only you can make it happen.
The problem that we all have with achieving our goals is that we lose motivation. With this post, I implore you to keep working towards the things you want. Through consistent, hard work I believe that we can all achieve our greatest dreams.
Whenever you feel your motivation waning, seek the things that drive you forward. Read inspirational blog posts, look back at your vision board and remember where you want to get to.
I want you to use the comment section of this post to motivate and inspire each other. Share your own story of your path to achieving your goals. What are your biggest struggles? How have you overcome them? What are your biggest motivational tips? Make this a space where we can all share our struggles and help each other power through.
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