As you may have noticed, I’m the kind of person who likes to set goals. There are so many things I’d like to accomplish, and coming up with concrete goals every month makes it manageable for me (otherwise my head might explode).
My strategy for working on goals isn’t revolutionary or anything, but I’ve been doing this since my junior year of college (aka four years ago) and it’s something I’ve stuck with because it works. If you’ve had something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t committed to it yet, give these tips a go.
How To Achieve Any Goal
1. Decide on your goal
Write it down, and don’t worry about it being too big or too small. As you work through these other steps, you might find you’re able to be more specific.
2. Figure out your motivation
There’s a reason you wanted to work on this goal in the first place, so make sure you write it down in case you find yourself struggling later. Maybe it’s to feel better about yourself, to further your career, or to gain a new skill.
3. Decide on a deadline or time frame
If you set a time frame for yourself, there’s more pressure to actually work on your goal (in a good way). Maybe your goal is to start running. Well, there are so many different ways you could measure that. Do you want to run 2 miles every other day, run 10 miles total every week, run for 20 minutes every day, run 20 times by the end of the month, run a marathon by May 30th? Be as specific as you can.
4. Choose a reward
If there’s no incentive to achieve your goal, you’re not going to be motivated to try. Choose something you would like but don’t really need, like a new face mask or Mindy Kaling’s book (although I might argue that you do need that one).
5. Come up with 3-5 action steps
Break your goal down into smaller steps to make it more manageable. If we’re going with the running goal above, some smaller steps could be to lay your running gear out the night before, log your runs in a journal to stay on track, and find two new trails to go running on.
Goal Planning Worksheet
If you want to start setting some goals and make sure you follow through with them, I put together the goal planning worksheet you can fill out to plan out what you’re trying to accomplish (because let’s face it, sometimes I totally forget what my goals are for the month if I’m not doing them daily).
Get the Goal Planning Worksheet
A step-by-step guide to help you turn your goals into an action plan.
If you’re looking for some goal ideas, check out this list of 30 Goal Ideas To Nourish Your Mind, Body, and Soul!
Psst, here are some tips
Think in positives.
If your goal is to stop doing something, think of an alternative that you can start doing instead. If your goal is ‘I will not check Facebook at work’, try to turn it into something positive like, ‘I will log out of Facebook while I’m at work.’
Find the underlying goal.
As you keep asking yourself how and why you want to achieve your goal, you might discover that you have an underlying goal instead. Example: I need to stop hitting the snooze button. Why? Because it makes me late for work. Why do I hit the snooze button? Because I’m tired. Why am I tired? Because I went to bed too late. Maybe the real goal here should be to go to bed earlier.
Keep track of your goals!
I wish I still had my notebook from college with all of my past goals and the action steps I made. It’s fun to look back on what you’ve accomplished and how you did it, which is part of the reason I post my monthly goals on my blog now.
What goal are you working on right now?
Photo: Adaeze Nicole