Setting goals means nothing if we don’t commit to them with action. Many times we have these hopes of being somewhere better than where we are but in reality we’re not putting forth the real effort it takes to get there.
You want to lose weight but you’re not working out or changing your diet appropriately. You want to make great grades but you’re catching up on Netflix and Youtube videos instead of putting the extra hours into your work and studying. You want to pump out more steady content for your blog but you scroll social media constantly instead of writing a post. The list goes on and on about want we want versus what we actually do.
Well, what is discipline? It’s giving up what we want now for what’s best later. And we benefit from it in the long run.
So maybe you’ve set some goals that you are lacking the will-power to keep. Here are 9 ways to stop playing games and stick to it!
Stop making it an option.
Make moves or make excuses, right? When we mentally make our goals optional instead of a priority we will find a million ways to reason ourselves out of it when the time comes, because we’re led by our feelings.
You have to get it into your brain that if this is the result you want to see, then this is not an option. Goals don’t magically get fulfilled because you want them to happen or wished them into existence; and time waits for no one. The months and the years will continue to pass whether you decide to make progress or not. It’s going to take you doing the work…or it’s not happening.
Make sure they’re timely.
Set dates and give yourself a time frame. Yes, deadlines bring on the pressure but pressure can be a healthy thing. It gets us moving and provides personal accountability. Don’t just let your goals float around aimlessly. Get concrete and provide a real timeline.
I’m going to lose this many pounds by the end of this month.
I’m going to write this many blog posts by the end of each week.
I’m going to take the exam and have my certification by this date.
I’m going to have enough saved up for my own place by this time next year.
Then post it somewhere you can see it so you can measure the progress you should be making.
Why do people perish without a lack of vision? Because vision gives you a trajectory of where you’re going. When you can’t see where you’re going then you will aimlessly wander and it’s easy to get off track. Literally picture what the results will look like when you reach this goal. Getting a vision of the long term will also help you stay on course when you want to make excuses in the right-now. See it in your mind and take a mental picture.
Brainstorm the how.
I’m really big on being practical. While abstract ideas and inspirations sound nice to me, I want to know how. What is the real process that’s going to take place to make this possible? That’s why you’ll notice my blog posts are often numbered and broken down for practicality.
Now that you have an idea of where you want to go, what is the plan to get there? Again, it’s not going to magically happen just because the wish exists. You’re going to have to move your feet. Does this mean you’re going to get a personal trainer or make it a routine to go to the gym 3 mornings of the week? How many job applications are you going to put out a day? Will you dedicate 4 hours a week specifically to writing for your blog? The more specific you can get the better. Also, be sure to write it down. Statistics based off a Harvard study have shown that people who write down their goals have over an 80% higher chance of achieving them than people who don’t.
Make sure you’re doing something every week that’s bringing you closer. It’s so easy for life to interfere with our goals. But the truth is, we all have the same 24 hours. It’s not always about having time, it’s about making time. And you will make time for the things that are important to you. You will find a way to fit it in.
This is another reason why it’s important to be organized and also why I have a planner. Organization technically gives us more freedom because we are orchestrating how we are using our time. Being able to look at your week and organize your routine will give you an overview of how to shape your priorities into the times that are available.
You can have all the motivation in the world and things will still go south that throw your plans completely off track. Be willing to hold to the goal but change the plan. Also, handle yourself with grace. Don’t come down on yourself with the iron fist of shame. Life happens but you must realize you have the ability to also adjust with it.
“If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:10
Two are always better than one. If you can get a workout buddy, a study partner or just a friend who is willing to check on you and say, “Hey, how’s it coming along? What’s holding you back?” it can make a world of a difference. We give ourselves more of a pass when it’s just us but having another eye, again, brings a healthy amount of pressure that keeps us on track.
Assess your progress every two weeks or monthly.
At the beginning of every month I revisit my goals from the previous month to see what I accomplished or what I need to implement into the following month. Taking the time to reflect gives you a good measurement of your progress or shows you how you may need to adjust your plans.
Nothing is wrong with a little positive reinforcement! Connecting progress to reward is simple motivation psychology. If you’ve made good progress or accomplished a goal, seriously, treat yourself. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you did all this just to suffer. No, you stepped out, you challenged your limits, you grew from it- that is worth celebrating! Take a breather and invest in something that you love because you worked hard for it. Just don’t get carried away and lose everything you worked for. Balance is the magical word.
Let’s recap; you are going to set and stick to your real goals by:
- Making moves and stop making excuses. It is no longer an option.
- Giving yourself a timeline with real dates and times by which you plan on having this accomplished.
- Getting a vision of where you’re going into your head and letting it be your motivator to stay the course.
- Outlining a real plan as to how you’re going to reach this goal and getting as specific as possible.
- Prioritizing and making sure you’re doing something every week that will bring you closer.
- Being ready to become adaptable. When the life takes you off track you will keep the goal but adjust the plan as necessary.
- Finding accountability that will hold you to your goal and not let you get off easy.
- Assessing your progress every two weeks to a month to see how you’re coming along.
- Rewarding yourself when you’ve reached the promise land because you worked hard and deserve it!
Oh and I have something for you…
THIS is your practical guide to tracking your goals no matter how big or how small.
What goals are you trying to keep this month and how are you planning to achieve them? Let’s chat in the comments below!