Let’s get serious about our goals before 2017, but let us tell you that goals don’t matter. You read that correctly. Hang with us for a few minutes and you’ll see why. If you are really serious about setting goals, then you need to know it’s more than just a pretty Rifle Paper planner from Nordstrom, pretty pens, and having all of that look pretty for a picture.
Goals are messy, they never go quite as planned, and can bring heartache before you get to taste the fruits of your labor. We’ve been told that achieving goals feels like an endless rat race. Once you achieve one goal, then you’re creating another one to chase and not really enjoying “life”. Thus, it might be better not to set any goals at all. It’s exhausting and you end up feeling like it’s never enough. While, this is one way to look at things in life, we have another way of looking at it. By not setting any goals, you’ll end up feeling like you’re wandering aimlessly through life without a purpose. Through goals, a sense of purpose, direction, and a feeling of working towards something bigger than yourself are achieved. This is what gives you that feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment.
We want this new year to be full of successes for everyone who has their heart set on anything, big or small. If you are intent on setting goals and actually seeing them through to fruition, here are 5 easy things you need to do.
The main element in achieving any goal is to take action. This means writing out a plan or having the plan in your head and doing things that actually get you closer to that goal. For instance, when my good friend and I have to train for my yearly marathon (she does about 6 a year), we print out our 5-month plan and stick it on the fridge. Each race has different goals, either run faster, keep the previous year’s pace, or simply just finishing the thing. Then, we hold each other accountable by asking what our pace was today then crossing that day off. If we miss a day, we don’t scream “Failure!!!” at one another, we just catch up the next day.
For different types of goals, there are different plans of actions to take. Physical fitness goals are best done with a trusty friend who’s as determined as you. For self-improvement plans like practicing gratitude, going back to school, or being happier, that takes personal effort to stick to the plan each day. So, figure out what your goal is and determine the plan of action to get there.
It’s a Mental Game
When you set goals and take action steps towards them, know that a large part of accomplishing your goal is really a mental game with yourself. At times you might end up feeling crazy, but the harshest critic in all of this will really be yourself. If you are a perfectionist, you will probably have it worse because you will feel stuck and frustrated frequently. You have to be able to accept that you’ve done a good enough job for the certain task in order to move on. The mental game is about knowing you did your best, that it’s good enough, and that you must move on to make progress.
Tiny Steps Add Up to Big Leaps
We can’t drill this point in enough because some goals can be really overwhelming. If you want to run a marathon or start a business but you’ve never done any of these things in your life, it can be so daunting. You will start comparing yourself to people who are more experienced. You will start thinking you’ve already failed before you’ve even started. You will want to quit a few days into it because there’s just so much to do or so many miles to run.
We talk about loving ourselves and forgiving ourselves all the time. This would be the perfect time to do that. Be proud of all the tiny steps you’ve made. If you’ve completed one task today by answering one email or walking half a mile, you’ve already made progress. Keeping your eye on the prize is important too, but know you can’t do everything in one day. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so none of your large goals are going to be achieved overnight.
Be Realistic with your To-Do List
Be realistic when you put together your to-do list each day. Don’t write things down for the sake of writing it down. Don’t be busy for the sake of being busy, either. Keep your list short 3-5 things you want to accomplish that day and try to get them done. Cross it off when you complete the task and move on. If you don’t finish that day, forgive yourself and complete it the next day. Don’t give up and immediately think you are failing because you fall behind on your to-do list. It’s probably too long to begin with. You’ll be amazed at how much progress you can make by the end of each month by taking baby steps each day.
Get a Mentor
If you look at successful companies or people out there, they may look like one a one-person team. But, the reality is that the idea may have started with one person, but it took a village to get that idea to flourish. There are people out there who have laid the basic framework for your original idea and they’ve figured out the tricks to getting it done right.
Finding the right mentor can make a world of difference and can get you started on the right path to success. They are the ones who already have the knowledge base and can guide you through rough seas. They can also be someone who will be vested in you to see that you succeed (e.g., personal trainers, professors, professional bloggers, entrepreneurs, etc.). We love Brendon Burchard’s material to learn the ways of growing a business and Hal Higdon’s training programs to run a marathon without losing our knee caps.
Anyone can set goals, but there are steps and strategies you can take to reach those goals more efficiently, smarter, and better. We’d love to know what goals you have in mind for 2017 and what steps you plan to take to achieve them.