Some recent market research I did uncovered an interesting challenge: about 30% of respondents say they have a hard time sticking to their goals. There are several reasons this can happen, and this week I’m going to share some tips to help you focus and stay on track with your goals. So, if you have quit on a goal and know you still ultimately want to accomplish it, read on.
- Goals Need Space to Expand – In a recent vlog post, Natalie MacNeil of SheTakesOnTheWorld.com says, “Goals need space to expand.” That is such a true statement. Goals don’t always seem so big when they exist in our minds alone, but once we commit to them, they can take on a life all their own. Make sure you are generous in how much time you commit to your goal. Take for example a goal to go to the gym every day for 1 hour. At first thought, it’s easy to think how doable it is to carve an hour out of our day, yet there’s more to that goal. There’s the time needed to travel to the gym, change into workout clothes, get to our machine, turn our music on, and then any post-gym routine. All of those steps are necessary and take additional time. When we don’t set aside enough time for our goals, we may get frustrated and end up quitting them altogether.
- Quitting Goals Isn’t Always Bad – Sometimes we have multiple goals that end up conflicting with each other. When that’s the case, narrowing down active goals is a good idea. For example, I am currently finishing up my degree. I spend hours every day working on assignments. I have a goal to complete my degree by July. I also had a goal to get back in shape. However, with the required time I need to put into my studies, and my daily commute to and from work, something had to give. For me, it was the gym. I don’t recommend this, per se, but it was the one that had to be put on the back burner for me, until July. I had to narrow my focus to one main goal.
- Plan For the I-Don’t-Feel-Like-It Moments – There are going to be moments, plenty of them in fact, when you just don’t feel like doing what you need to for your goal. Maybe your goal has been to save an extra $100 per week by not eating out. Then, as often happens, you have a late day at the office, traffic was terrible, you’ve got a headache, and you just don’t feel like making dinner tonight. Skipping this once isn’t that big of a deal, you’ll just do better next week. Hold up! You know things are going to crop up that make your goal steps HARD. Plan ahead for those – before they happen. Your willpower and discipline muscle is going to be virtually non-existent after a long day at work, traffic, and a headache. Have a Plan B ready. Maybe it isn’t ideal, but a frozen skillet dinner cooks in about 10 minutes and costs a whole lot less than dinner out. If you have one waiting in the freezer for you, you will be less likely to go off the rails.
- Be S.M.A.R.T – This has probably been said a billion times, but it’s worth repeating. Bad goals usually don’t have good outcomes. Goals need to be very SPECIFIC. “Meet new people” is too vague. “Attend one networking event per week” is much better. Goals must be MEASURABLE. You know if you attended one event each week. Goals must be ATTAINABLE & REALISTIC. If they are too far out of your reach you will quit them. Lastly, goals must be TIMELY. This means you have to give yourself deadlines and milestones. You must be able to see a finish line.
- Make it Emotional – The decisions we make are mostly driven by our emotions. Therefore, our goals need to be emotionally driven, not just logically based. We have to have a reason that we care about to achieve our goals. We must connect with the emotions we experience at the idea of successfully achieving the goal AND the emotions we would experience if we didn’t. These will be our biggest motivators.
There you have it! 5 Tips to help you stay on track with your goals. Assess how well your goals follow these and adjust as necessary.
Your turn. Tell me in the comments section which of these 5 tips have been most challenging for you.
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