Making goals is easy, but reaching them is tough, and all the planning in the world won’t make a difference until you take the first step. These seven steps are sure to put you on the path to success, even if you’ve had trouble reaching your goals in the past. Start today and these guidelines will help you keep your motivation up and your eyes on the prize.
Make goals you actually want to reach
You’ll be setting yourself up for failure if you aren’t excited about your goal. Make sure it’s something you really want and you’re really ready for, and that you know what you’re going to have to do to reach it. Make sure to not make so many goals that you can’t spare the time each goal requires.
Try not to put your focus on the “ultimate” version of your goal. If you want to start exercising, don’t try to go from no exercise to an hour of exercise each day, or you’ll quickly lose your motivation. Start so small that you can’t possibly find a reason to say “no.” Choose a simple exercise and plan to do it for just five minutes. You can start working up once it becomes a daily habit.
Take it one step at a time
Don’t try to tackle every aspect of your goal at once. If you make a goal to eat healthy, don’t immediately eliminate everything unhealthy – you’re sure to feel deprived, which is likely to lead to strong cravings, which are likely to lead to binges. Start by removing one type of food and then another in a month or so when you’ve had time to adjust.
Make a schedule
You’ll need to make a schedule if your goal requires time outside of your normal daily activities, or it just won’t happen. Sit down and figure out where in your day you can fit a few minutes to work on your goal. Before bed? After work? Could you get up a little earlier? Pencil it in and don’t let other things take priority over it.
Carry some kind of reminder
Sometimes you might just need a little reminder to keep you focused on your goal. Buy a special bracelet, leave a post it note on your mirror, add a sticker to the corner of your phone, or even just put a rubberband around your wrist – anything that you can use to represent your efforts and become a visual support whenever you find yourself slipping.
Make it fun
No matter the goal, you’re not likely to continue if you’re not having fun along the way. If your goal is to learn to cook, don’t just read books about it or watch cooking shows all day. Get up and try it. Make your own tutorial. Teach someone else the process. Take pictures of your progress. Celebrate your successes with little rewards. Whatever it takes to keep you interested!
Keep track of your progress and reward your wins
You won’t know how close you are to your goal unless you keep track of your progress. Use a journal, a chart on the wall, a document on your computer, or an app on your phone as visual reminders of your success. If you’ve broken your goal into smaller parts as suggested above, reward yourself when you reach each of them! Get that scarf you’ve been dying to buy when you lose five pounds or have a girls’ night out when you finish your first 10-mile bike ride. These things will keep you motivated and working towards your larger goals until, at long last, you reach them.
Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at Utterly Inexperienced, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.
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