Do you set goals, just to let them fall by the wayside or give up in a few weeks when things get tough? While it might not be the worst thing to fail, there are some things that are important to you that you really want to achieve. But something keeps holding you back or keeps you from reaching your dreams even though you really want to.
Well, let’s talk about how to set goals that you can actually achieve.
Why have you failed to reach your goals in the past? Think of how many people actually reach their New Year’s Resolutions they set each year. Not many. Do they just not want it badly enough? Unlikely.
So what’s causing these goals to fail?
Mostly because they’re not SMART goals.
You’ve probably heard of SMART goals, but do they actually work?
Short answer is yes. They really help you to clarify what you are doing, but they are not a magic bullet to make you actually reach your goals. However if you don’t set SMART goals it’s going to be so much harder to achieve them.
Let’s take an example.
Goal: I want to look like a model.
Nice goal. But how are you going to get here? If you don’t find a genie in a lamp to wish it or hit the lottery, the odds of you reaching this is slim.
So how do we make this a smart goal?
Better goal: I want to lose 20 pounds and increase muscle definition in 6 months.
Why is this better? Because it is:
S – Specific
If you just say you want to look like a model, how do you know from that what you should work on? Odds are you’ll never start because it’s too vague.
M – Measurable
You can measure the pounds or inches lost, you can measure body fat percentage to see if you are maintaining muscle and you can verify that you have reached this goal.
A – Attainable
This is totally doable. With a healthy weight loss of 1 pound per week you have more than enough time to lose those 20 times and enough time to start seeing more muscle definition.
R – Relevant
This goal is something that you genuinely want, now is as good a time as any to work towards it and it makes sense for you to pursue it at this time.
T – Timely
You know that you only have 6 months to reach this goal. You can’t put it off indefinitely and you can break it down to smaller time increments to know what you need to achieve and when.
So any goal you set needs to be SMART or else you won’t make much progress towards it.
But now that you have a goal that you can achieve, how do you actually reach it?
Well you have to actually start doing it. Which might suck, but if it’s something you really want then you know the results will be worth it. To help you stick with it, here are some tips to make it easier.
Break it Down
Break your goal into even smaller increments of time. While you might be trying to lose 20 pounds in 6 months, say that you want to lose 1 pound a week and take it one week at a time. Or calculate your calorie deficit and stick to it each day. Make the time frames small enough that you can’t fail.
Write it Down
By writing down your goals you will be more likely to reach them. Besides writing the goal itself, use a planner to keep track of your progress and see the results you are getting.
Motivation is awesome, but it’s not always there for you. You need to build discipline and do something every day to work towards your goal. Easiest way is to make something into a habit. If you want to start exercising, then start walking every morning for example.
It will suck at first but once you do this enough for the habit to stick then you will do it automatically and continue to work towards your goal even when you don’t feel like it.
Visualize the End
When things get tough, remember why you started. Imagine how great you’ll look and feel after losing those 20 pounds. Imagine the lifestyle you’ll have and new activities you can get into. This will help you remember why it’s worth it and to keep going.
Keep up the momentum by celebrating milestones on your path. Lost 5 pounds? Great! You’re heading in the right direction. 10 pounds? You’re halfway there! As long as you can see that you’re making progress, you’re more likely to keep going.
Even with these tips, ultimately it is up to you to reach your goals. No one else can do it for you. If it is something important you will reach it over time. Just stay patient, make sure your goals are SMART and you’re sticking with them and you WILL reach them.
Have you tried these tips? How did they work for you? Anything that you think might help others?