As Racheal Cook, creator of my favorite podcast Promote Yourself to CEO has said, planning is an essential aspect of getting things done in your business and in life. I truly believe in the power of setting goals that matter. That means taking the time out of your busy life to think it through and write it all down. Here are my Top 5 Tips to Set and Achieve Your Goals.
1. Allow Yourself to Dream Big.
In the process of setting goals, we often jump right into strategy. As the authors of Helping People Change: Coaching with compassion for lifelong learning and growth might say, you focus on want you want to do in the context of your current skill set, career path, or societal norm. According to authors Boyatzis, Smith, and Van Oosten, we benefit from exploring what we care about, what we dream about, and who we want to become. The more freedom we are allowed in our explorations, the more creative and innovative we become with our solutions. Try this:
- Ask yourself, “What would I want in an ideal world, if I had no limitations and knew that I couldn’t fail.”
- OR close your eyes and imaging yourself walking through a day in your ideal life. Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? How do you feel?
Write down your responses in a notebook or journal. Each of these exercises will give you insight into how you want your future to appear.
2. Set Goals in ALL Areas of Your Life.
There are six key areas to focus on when setting goals:
- Health & Fitness
Whether we realize it or not, most of us have goals for each area. Some are subconscious. Unless we make a conscious effort to bring them to light, these “hidden” goals may cause us to behave in ways that sabotage our progress in other areas of our lives. Having very clear goals for each area also gives you an opportunity to prioritize which one(s) are most important and which ones will take a backseat (at least for now).
My recommendation: Write down at least TWO goals for each area. If you can’t think of anything right away, take a few moments reflect
3. Choose ONE to Focus On.
One of my favorite quotes in the area of goal setting is a sentiment by the author Atomic Habits:
One of the greatest barriers to achieving your goals isJames Clear – https://jamesclear.com/
the other goals you have.”
Straight talk: If you try to achieve everything at once you’ll stretch yourself too thin. As a personal trainer and wellness coach, I’ve seen clients adopt a new exercise regimen (from 0 per week to 6), overhaul their diet (no carbs, no problem!), while working overtime and trying to maintain a home life. They usually get great results at first, but more often than not, their workouts fizzle out, they revert back to their old eating habits, and lose most of the progress they’ve made. In my opinion, it’s better to choose ONE main thing to work on and crush it.
How to Choose Just One Goal
I get it. There are so many things you want to work on, you may not be sure where to start. I handle it in one of two ways:
- Ask yourself “Which goal is most URGENT for me right now?” If you’re in a situation where you HAVE to make a decent living or you’ll lose your home or you’re at risk of a fatal heart attack if you don’t change your habits now, your situation falls under the urgency rule. The goal that addresses this problem is of top priority.
- Ask yourself “What one goal, if I achieved it, would have the biggest impact on the rest of my goals?” For example, a few years back, I had a weight loss goal. I also wanted to increase my energy on a daily basis and adopt a healthier diet. After doing some research, I realized that adopting a healthy diet was the goal to focus on, because I’d be knocking out all three at once!
4. Create a Practical Action Plan.
It’s surprising how many people set to work trying to achieve a goal without taking the time to map out how to get there. Why is this important? A plan will:
- Allow you to outline the steps you need to take in order to achieve your goal
- Provide a visual representation of how long it will take to get to your goal
- Uncover areas for further development (such as learning a new skill)
- Reveal “hot spots,” necessary elements of your plan that may push you out of your comfort zone
- Keep you on track when you’re unsure of what to do next or find yourself lacking motivation
Take some time to do a bit of research on how to achieve your specific goal. That means checking out reputable websites, asking a professional, or reading books on the topic. Then, write down all of the action steps needed to get you to your goal.
Pro Tip: Write an estimated timeline beside each action step. Be realistic about how much time it will take to achieve each goal. I tend to err on giving myself EXTRA time, rather than less.
5. Renew Your Excitement EVERY DAY.
It takes commitment to work consistently toward the goals we set for ourselves. There will be days when motivation comes naturally, in waves, and others when you’ll wonder why you started this journey in the first place. Get ahead of it by intentionally renewing your excitement for your goals every single day.
- Spend time with positive people who support and inspire you
- Find ways to boost your energy and do things you love
- Create and recite 1-2 daily affirmations related to your goals
- Take time out of each day for a quick workout
The big reason that I’m so passionate about seeing others achieve their goals is because I transformed my own life the first time I set one. My hope for you is that you take what you’ve learned here and begin to make the shifts in your own daily habits that take you to the life you dream of.
Good luck <3
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