How many times have you decided you wanted to accomplish something important but were unable to follow through? Have you ever set a goal only to feel burnt out just a couple of days later? With these simple steps and a little bit of perseverance you can be on your way to a more productive and fulfilling life.
If You Believe You Can Achieve
Before you get started it's important that you know what success will look like. Picture yourself reaching your goal: how it makes you feel? What is your life like once you have completed your journey? The more vivid of a picture you mentally paint, the more powerful your emotional connection will be to reaching your destination. Let's take physical fitness as an example. Imagine the higher energy levels you will have, improved confidence, elevated mood, increased productivity, etc. Visualizing success is a strategy that is commonly used by fortune 500 executives and professional athletes.
Set Your Goal
Know Where You Are Going
Now that you captured the image of success and are emotionally engaged with achieving your goal it's time to set a target and write it down. The only way to determine if you have reached your goal is for it to be measureable. You should choose a metric that is not difficult to track and it should preferably be something that is within your control. You can select an outcome based goal but it is much more effective to select a goal that is based on process. Let's continue with our physical fitness example. Rather than setting a goal of running a 4:30 mile (which could potentially be out of your reach), make your goal to run for 30 minutes every day.
Break It Down
One Step at a Time
Setting goals that are too large and daunting can leave you feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. Break down the overall goal into smaller milestones. It is far less intimidating and each time your reach a milestone you feel an encouraging sense of accomplishment. You can build on your previous small wins to keep propelling you to the finish line.
There's No Time Like the Present
This is where many people go wrong, they get stuck in the planning phase. No goal is reachable, no matter how much planning you do, unless you take action. It seems obvious but often times people get stuck in the paralysis of analysis. The key is to take that first step and keep going. Don't overthink it just get started and set the plan in motion, achieving goals is all about execution. Don't forget to periodically check in to measure your progress to make sure you are headed in the right direction.
Avoid the Slump
What do you do when the initial excitement wears off and all you see is the hard work ahead of you? This is a perfect opportunity to reconnect with your vision of success. Make sure you also look back at what you have accomplished so far as a reminder to stay motivated. Another trick is to build in mechanisms to keep you going. Don't feel like getting out of bed to go on your daily 30 minute run? Set your workout clothes and running shoes on your night stand before you go to sleep so that you are ready to get started the next morning. The more you can prepare ahead of time the easier it will be when it comes time to take action.
Reaching your goal is not complicated but it does take focus and dedication. It is a combination of visualizing, planning, measuring, and pushing through the slumps. Capitalize on your excitement and get started, review your success to stay motivated, and soon you will be on your way to a well-established habit. Continue building on your momentum and before you know it you will reach your goal.
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