7 Simple Strategies to Stick to Your Goals
For the last few years, I’ve been a big fan of goal setting. Through trial and error, I have started seeing the benefits of becoming intentional with where I want my life and business to go.
1. Know your why
Once you’ve set any sort of goal, the first question you should ask yourself is
“Why is this important to me?”
And keep answering that. Go really deep if you really want to make a change in your life and put yourself outside your comfort zone.
For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, is it about the environmental impact? Do you want to get healthier? Improve your appearance? Manage your spending on takeaways? Once you have the answer, make sure your motivation is an intrinsic one and not led by what others are doing or their expectations of you.
When your motivation is deeply ingrained in who you are, your values, or what is important in your life, the goals will automatically feel more authentic and they’ll feel easier to reach.
2. Meet yourself where you are
Some of my clients often try to shoot for the moon with their goals, which comes from an amazing desire to build an inspired life and dream business. There’s only one problem: if you want to scale your business 3x, go on 6 holidays, run a marathon, read 100 books and switch over to a vegan organic diet all at once, sorry to disappoint you, but you’re going to fail.
When people have the expectations of becoming a totally different person with new habits and changed behaviour overnight, disappointment is inevitable. Which is why I encourage you to look at your current life and ask yourself:
“What’s the next level in getting to that ultimate vision?”
Remember, every step counts. For example, if you can’t run a marathon this year, could you commit to a 5k race and work your way up after that? Small goals may seem unambitious at first, but the secret is to make them short term so they seem easy and achievable, yet still challenging. Think of them as building blocks for your ultimate goals.
3. Make a plan
Let’s talk BIG goals! Don’t try to tackle them all at once, unless you want to be overwhelmed and probably fail.
Let’s take the marathon example. If I were to tell you “You MUST run a marathon in 10 months!”, what would you do next?
You’d probably do some research on how to train for one, speak to some people who have done it, create a training schedule and start showing up for your runs as planned. Now comes the magic: all goals work like that!
Most people fail (to be precise less than 1 in 10 people hit their yearly goals) because they get overwhelmed by how big and vague their goals are, so they never even start making a plan. Or they make a rough plan with 2-3 steps and even those are too broad.
Instead, take each of your goals and simplify them into tiny steps that seem almost too small not to tackle them. Making a step by step guide for yourself and focusing on one action at a time will ensure you don’t get lost in the process or feel overwhelmed.
4. Build systems rather than goals
And on that note, have you ever considered setting systems instead of goals? I was first introduced to this concept by James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits:
“Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress. A handful of problems arise when you spend too much time thinking about your goals and not enough time designing your systems.”
So what I encourage you to do is to take the time for what I call “blue-sky thinking” and get really ambitious and creative with your goals. Think of the ideal scenario but don’t spend too much time on it, or else you might get the feeling you’ll never be that or get there.
Next, as mentioned in point 3, make a plan and then create your systems. So, for example, if you want to run a marathon and you’ve made your plan, now you know that in order to be able to do that in 10 months, you need to follow a plan such as :
Week 1-5 : run 5K 3 times/week for a month
Week 6-10: increase to 4 times/week for another 2 weeks
Week 11-16: increase to 4 times/week for 7k
And so on.
In this example, all you need to do in order to run a marathon is to focus on that specific goal for the week and you’ll be running a marathon in no time. And this doesn’t apply to marathons only. What would the path to your goals look like if it were easy?
5. Don’t go at it alone
Rome wasn’t built in a day. And I’m pretty sure Rome wasn't built by a random dude on his own either. So why not use the power of social expectations in your favour?
The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study on accountability and found that you have a 65% of completing a goal if you commit to someone. And if you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed, you will increase your chance of success by up to 95%.
As a personal example, in December, I did a 31 days fitness challenge where I worked out daily. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy at this time of the year, so I made use of my Instagram community and kept myself accountable by posting my workouts daily, which meant that I couldn’t just easily skip a day.
Make use of your support network, family, get a coach, have an accountability partner. It’s all useful as long as you tell someone about your goals and you ask them to check in with you regularly.
6. Commit to yourself & your goal
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but make this goal a part of your lifestyle and let your schedule, your spending, your language, your mindset, your relationships, reflect the person you want to be once you’ve reached your goals. Let everyone in your life know about the changes you’re making and embrace it as if it’s already there.
I don’t want to go all woo woo on you, but you become what you think. So beware of what you think and how you spend your time and energy. Ask yourself :
“How am I committing to this goal today?”
“How am I showing up as the person who does/is this?”
7. Check-in regularly
Write your goals down and look at them often - how you do it is up to you, but make sure it becomes part of your routine. You could have a vision board or a mind map if you’re more of a visual person. Or simply keep a list on your phone or something in your notebook or on your wall.
What’s most important is that you set time aside often to check on them. Because, remember, life is not linear. Some months, you might make huge strides, other times you might be really slow, and sometimes maybe you need to start from scratch because everything has changed.
Personally, I like to check in monthly on my yearly goals and see how I’m tracking, what’s working, what I need to change etc. And each Sunday, I do a short self-reflection session where I draw a line on how the week went and I created my own set of questions to decide whether that week has added value and moved myself and my business in the right direction or not.
Remember that there are no rules when it comes to goal setting and especially hitting them, so why not be creative and make up your own process? Also, let me know below what your favourite strategy is.
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