Like many of us, you have most likely spent at least a little time in the last few weeks reflecting on last year and identifying goals for the new year. In some cases, you may realize that you have had the same goal on your list for multiple years. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been there. Recycled goals alone can dampen your energy for following through! Yet, there are ways to maximize the likelihood of your successful goal execution. Let’s take a look at a few key tips.
- Know Your “Motivation”
What makes each goal important to you? Is it really your goal or perhaps someone else’s? How aligned is each goal with your values? What is motivating or driving you to include each goal on your list? How does each goal feel to you….is it something you feel you “have-to” do or something you “want-to” do? The more each goal is aligned with what you truly value and if you are positively motivated to achieve it, you greatly increase the likelihood that you will follow through. Look back to those goals that have appeared on your list for multiple years. How aligned are they? Perhaps they just need to drop off the list.
- Set Realistic Expectations
One of the primary reasons that we don’t follow through is that we bite off more than we can chew. If the goal is to exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days per week and you currently don’t exercise at all, you’ve likely set yourself up for failure. What is a stepping stone toward that ideal goal that is a reasonable stretch from where you are now? Once that reasonable stretch has become your new normal, set a new stretch goal that brings you another step closer to your ideal. Before you know it, you will have successfully created that new ideal habit.
- Support Success
What tools or resources do you need in place to keep your commitment to yourself? Are you someone who likes to socialize while working out? Then, enlist a friend to meet you at the gym or join a workout class. Do you like tangible evidence of your progress? If so, perhaps a device that counts your steps or tracks your level of activity will spur you on. How often do you notice yourself thinking self-sabotaging messages? Pay attention to what you tell yourself and quiet the nay-saying voice with positive words that support the results you are striving to achieve.
- Set Milestones
Success isn’t only the final accomplishment of your ultimate goal. It is all the steps you take along the way that keep you moving in the right direction. As you set the realistic expectations discussed in tip #2, place a timeframe on when you’d like to be ready for the next stretch goal or the next step toward your overall goal. This keeps your momentum going and reinforces your progress.
Too often you breeze past your milestones and even the accomplishment of your overall goal with barely a moments pause to take in what you’ve done and celebrate success. Instead of giving yourself credit for sticking to your goal, you’re off thinking about the next goal. Take a moment to celebrate the wins, both big and small, along the way. It doesn’t have to be something expensive, time-consuming or elaborate. Perhaps you buy yourself a new book, or curl up on the couch to watch a movie, or go out dancing. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that you find fun and that represents a pat on the back to you for a job well done.
What are you going to do today to reignite your commitment to your goals?
Note: Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhoto.net