THREE STEPS TO SET ATTAINABLE GOALS
I said it once and I'll say it again (and probably again at some point), organization is the best way to hold yourself accountable. Scheduling cleaning up your email or pre-booking a class at the gym is a healthy way to empower yourself to do the sometimes less sexy tasks in life!
This post is not going to be about writing a list for the next five years – the whole “where do you see yourself in five years” seems so unreasonable to me… ask me where I want to be three months from now!
Setting goals that are unachievable or too lofty is setting yourself up for failure.
Set up goals for today (or heck – this afternoon), this week and this month. At the end of the month, assess where you started and if you accomplished what you set out to do. Hitting those will help build the confidence you need to complete some of those scarier goals we all set for ourselves. I’m not ashamed to admit that I do not meet all of my goals (I didn’t go to the gym this morning because my bed was the perfect amount of comfy) but I do not let that beat me down (I set a goal of 3-4 times a week, it’s only Tuesday so I have plenty of time to get to the gym 3… heck even 4 times this week).
Going to the gym daily/weekly is small peanuts to many of us, but it sets a precedent. I have some major goals for 2018 that scare the heck out of me (one being making it to my wedding in June without a total melt down).
Enough about me though – how can you create reachable goals.
1. Determine a WHY
New Year’s Resolutions tend to be made out of tendency and circumstance – which is why they never last, “everyone around me is making a resolution, so I will too!” I hesitate to encourage you to make goals for the sake of thinking you need to have one. You need a WHY. Why do you want to learn a new language? Why do you want to start eating better? Why do you want to take that online course?
Everyone has different WHYs, even for something as simple as eating healthier. Are you trying to get healthy because you are feeling worn down all the time? Do you want to run a marathon this year? Or has a family member/friend been diagnosed with an illness that is setting you on a healthier path? Figure out that reason and let that be your motivating factor! When you have the WHY, it will always be in the back of your mind, especially when you are feeling unmotivated.
Your goals should have some personal attachment – they need to matter to you. That motivation will come in handy a month into it when you are feeling exhausted and run down.
I encourage creating both goals that take you out of your comfort zone AND smaller more manageable goals. No need to be EPIC all the time! It could be as simple as waking up ten minutes earlier every day to meditate. I have been focusing energy on this one specifically – I’m finding myself a bit scattered these days… my WHY is so that I can take those ten minutes and think about nothing other than breathing and existing. Being present is such an important part of life and I want to learn how to do that better.
Take a couple minutes and figure out what goals you currently have set for yourself – how are you doing? Have you established your WHY? Are you hitting your milestones (do you have milestones)?
2. Create an Action Plan
Don’t overload yourself with goals, narrow it down to a few otherwise you will be overwhelmed with all of these goal goals (#goals)! I have fallen into the trap of sending myself into a panic by trying to accomplish too many things at the same time. When I refocus and prioritize I get more done! It’s fascinating really, I can still get just as many things completed in a year… I’m just not trying to do everything by May.
Set milestones and smaller goals within your goal (goal inception). I recommend marking it out on either a physical calendar or a to-do app. I have a couple recommendations in a previous post on getting organized:
When I started my Squarespace web design business – I threw myself into it 300% and was posting on my blog every day and posting on forums and Facebook pages all day. I was obsessed... I was also burning myself out. I refined my business goals to posting at least once a week on the blog (until after the wedding, then I have a goal of twice a week) and only checking Facebook pages/forums every other day. I took the daunting task of working a 9-5 and running my own business and made it manageable and attainable.
No point in wearing yourself out before you even get started!
A key to staying motivated throughout this process is hitting those milestones – it’s like a small pat on the back. My favorite thing to do is treat myself when I hit a milestone, whether it be a sweet treat or buying myself that new pair of shoes I’ve been eyeing… yes, I bribe myself.
3. Hold yourself accountable
Being organized takes work – while it does come natural to some, it still a skill that needs to be honed. Weekly task lists and goal check-ins are important. If you know you are going to be busy during the week, set some time aside on the weekend to check off all of the line items you may have missed. Falling behind is the worst thing you can do, it will just snowball from there (I promise). Feeling accomplished at the end of the week will put in the perfect mindset for the next week!
Just remember – take small bites! Small victories are way better than no victories. You don’t win wars without small wins (and loses… if we’re being honest).