Achieve Your Goals | Here Are 5 Actions You Need To Take
As you step outside in the early morning, you notice something different. The sun is no longer shining and the air has a sharpness that sends chills down your spine.
The New Year has come and gone. Another calendar year has come to an end.
For many of us, this is a time to reflect on the year past; what we did and didn’t do, what we accomplished and didn’t accomplish, and what we should have done but chose to put off for another year.
Sound about right?
There's nothing wrong with that, per se. There's nothing wrong with looking back and assessing how far you’ve come and how much you’ve grown. In fact, it's very important to do so. What’s wrong are the negative connotations around this self-reflection. In part, the negativity around self-reflection happens because we've been conditioned to be tremendously critical of ourselves. We're much more likely to focus on the bad than the good; in this context, on what we didn’t accomplish rather than what we did. But, in large part, the negativity around self-reflection results from stagnation, lack of growth, and days wasted.
This begs the question, why?
Why do books go unwritten? How come businesses don't get started? Why do health and fitness goals go unaccomplished?
We tend to associate such failures with procrastination. And sure, that’s a part of it.
But, many of us do have great intention. We use the New Year as a reason to set goals and resolutions only to see them fizzle in a few weeks’ time.
Does this resonate with you? If so, you should know that you’re not alone. Unfortunately, on a year-to-year basis, at least 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail.
I wish I could tell you otherwise, but I can’t.
Making a resolution is a great start, but what's important is that you make your New Year's resolution stick.
And to make your resolutions stick, we have to look at the process of setting goals. Anyone can set goals. But, what's more important is learning how to achieve your goals. Without having structure and actionable steps to achieve your goals, it’ll be yet another year, another year wasted.
How to Achieve Your Goals | Here Are 5 Actions You Need to Take
Setting and achieving goals is a process. No, it’s not just a simple matter of establishing a goal and then dreaming it into reality.
If only, right?
Think about financial planning. You can't just jot a number on paper as to how much money you want to have in “x” number of years and then aimlessly hope for that amount to appear in your bank account. You need to meticulously plan out the course of action between now and then. This applies regardless of what your goal may be.
5 Actions to Take to Put Yourself in the Best Position of Success
1) You must visualize the end-goal and work backward: it may sound counter-intuitive, but to figure out the steps needed to reach the finish line you must have a clear vision of what the destination looks like. With that vision in mind, research or consult others to determine what steps need to be taken.
2) Depending on the magnitude of the end-goal, you may need to break the end-goal into manageable micro-goals: oftentimes we make the mistake of “trying to get there too fast”. This isn't to say that we shouldn’t set the bar high. Setting and achieving micro-goals is a great way to build momentum and gain traction toward your end-goal.
3) You must periodically measure your progress against your end-goal but frequently against your micro-goals: throughout the journey, there may be times when the end-goal seems out of reach. By frequently measuring your progress against your micro-goals, you limit the risk of getting overwhelmed or discouraged while keeping the end-goal in sight and in perspective.
4) You must credit yourself for victories, big or small, and evaluate losses: as creatures of habit, we have programmed ourselves to overlook our successes and to obsess over our failures; to neglect the good and focus on the bad. If you cannot celebrate your successes, you will eventually despise the process. On the other hand, fixating on failures is destructive behavior. Rather, evaluate, understand, and learn from them. By doing so, that failure becomes an iteration of success.
5) You must find an accountability partner: there may be times when it is extremely difficult to stay completely objective. There will be many distractions and obstacles vying for your limited time and attention. Having someone to talk to and to talk through will keep you focused and on track. You will do the same for them and, mutually, you will help each other succeed.
6) You must be patient: the most potent goal-killer is impatience – patience will be your greatest ally. Stay true to your cause, you will find success.
There is always more that we can do but these actions will do well to help you achieve your goals. The key is to bridge the gap between goal setting and goal success with consistency and structure. Follow these guidelines and understand that (most) goals will not be achieved overnight. Take this approach and, the next time Christmas comes around, there will only be positive connotations around self-reflection and self-assessment of how far you’ve come and how much you’ve grown. Whether your goal is to write a book, climb a mountain, or change your lifestyle, you can, you must, you will get there.