You may have more than one goal, but how many can you stick with? How many New Year’s Resolutions are you still working on? How many did you achieve this year?
More than likely that number is close to…. (n)one?
Goals are easy to draw up, but much harder to follow through with because most people don’t create goals that are meaningful. Without a solid foundation of what you want and why you want it, goals will be nearly impossible to achieve.
Here are some intentional actions you can take to make your goals stick.
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Your Legacy Exercise
Maybe you have come to the realization that you are not quite sure which direction to go in life. This can be stressful, but one exercise that may help to bring you clarity is writing a summary of what you want to be remembered for. Think in the minds of your children, grandchildren, the public, or anyone else of significance.
A few questions to get started:
- What do you want your life to have looked like?
- Where do you want to go?
- What are your values?
- Who do you want to be?
- What do you want to have accomplished?
This is a way for you to examine your life, and start creating goals to get from Point A (where you are now) to Point B (where you want to be in the end or the far future). You can continue to make adjustments as needed, and review this summary on a consistent basis.
Commit with Passion
Goals are set because whatever it is you are trying to achieve, is not easy. It takes planning and organization. It takes practice, time, hard work, and the ability to overcome many obstacles.
Research has shown that when we make our goals known, we are far more likely to stick with them. This type of commitment has been shown to help people feel that they belong and are connected with other people. It also gives a sense of autonomy and freedom. Following through on goals can also deter peer or social pressure and self-doubt.
When you commit with passion, you are committing yourself to the pursuit of a vision of the future. You are taking charge of your destiny. You are writing your own story, from start to finish.
Believe It to Be True
When you have enough confidence to believe and try to achieve your goal you are 100x more likely to reach it.
Simply put, if you did not believe it was possible, why would you try? By believing it to be true, you have the motivation to make that belief into a reality. You won’t give up if you know it is going to happen.
The “trick” to a self-fulfilling prophecy is not magic, it is movement. Do something, or get nowhere. Studies have shown this to be true as well. By taking action, you can change how you feel about that action. As you make tiny milestones towards your goal, you reward yourself internally.
You feel happy. You keep going.
Adapt to Change
Change can be scary for some, and exhilarating for others. Those in the first category (like mwah) will fall into the trap of attempting to control EVERYTHING.
When changes occur, obstacles arise, and situations differ, it is important to remember that change can be good, but we can’t always control it. Psychologists have labeled two types of control:
Primary control – changing the situation
Secondary control – changing the perspective of the situation.
Adaptation can not only help with current goals, but also goals that you may not have discovered yet.
Stay Intrinsically Motivated
Don’t overexert yourself doing what you love. You can ruin your passion and motivation by rewarding yourself for what you already enjoy and punishing yourself if you are “slacking”. This type of mindset will turn play into work, and extrinsic rewards can destroy intrinsic motivation.
One study showed this with two groups of school children. The first group was told to play with Magic Markers, and one person would receive a reward for best picture. The second group was simply told to play with Magic Markers. A few weeks later, the researchers found that the first group had fewer children playing with the markers. It was no longer play, but a duty that was no longer enjoyable.
In order to achieve your loftiest goals, you must first develop a plan. A good plan breaks down the big goal into tinier ones. Follow these steps to manage your goals:
1. Create a list of goals, aspirations, intentions, and projects
Think of everything you want to achieve in life, if you are lacking inspiration, try the Legacy Exercise at the beginning of this post
2. Write down any irrational beliefs you have about your goals
It is important to write this all down to get it out there and to get rid of it. Once you write the words “I can’t” or “I don’t know how to” it sounds a little silly!
3. Rank your goals by highest-priority
What is most important to you right now? What will bring you the most joy? Remember to think about your own wants and not that of anyone else.
4. Choose ONE goal
If this is hard to do…. GOOD! This means you have a lot to look forward to.
5. Describe this goal in detail
What will it look like when this goal is achieved? How will you know you have achieved it? What will this goal require? What will pursuing this goal look like?
6. Commit yourself 100%
Write down your goal, hang it on your wall, tell a friend, do whatever it takes to give 110%
7. Develop actions and steps
This is the who, what, where, when, why of the journey towards your goal. Anticipate any obstacles you may have.
8. Start taking action
9. Adjust and reassess accordingly
Come back every month and reevaluate where you are. Do you need to make any changes to your goal? Do you need to make any changes to your approach?
Continue this flow until you have achieved that big, fat goal!
Then…. move on to the next one.