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Successful Goal Setting
and
New Year Resolutions


Introduction to Reaching Your Goals and Fulfilling Your Resolutions

Ask the people around you if they're going to make a new year's resolution and watch the eyes roll.

Why is that? Goals are good, right? Yes, but failing at achieving them feels bad.

There are reasons why we fail at reaching our goals and being a success at fulfilling our resolutions. This series of articles will examine those reasons and demonstrate ways to overcome them.

For the purpose of these articles, goals and resolutions are the same thing. The word "resolution" comes from the word "resolve." We resolve to do something. Or we have a goal we want to reach. The steps for success are the same whether you make a resolution or set a goal for yourself.

Goal setting is a good thing. In order to have a shot at living your life to the very fullest and achieving your full potential, you need to have a goal and you need to know what precisely it is that you want to accomplish.

Image of A Fresh Start with a new year resolution

In order to be truly successful, we first need to decide what we want to achieve. We can’t get what we want in life until we've actually decided what want. Really want. Really, really want.

This is one of the causes of the eye rolling at the mention of making new year resolutions. We made resolutions that we wanted, but not badly enough.

Or we missed the mark. We thought we framed the desire correctly but, in fact, we didn't hit it on the head.

There are many other reasons why we didn't reach our goals and each will be explored in this series of articles on goals and resolutions. We'll look closely at the types of resolutions we make and how we can improve our chances of accomplishing them. The good news is that there are many tips, tricks and action steps we can take to ensure that we attain the things we really want in life.


Free Goal-Setting Workbook

I've created a printable workbook that follows this website. You can download it and answer the questions in the "Action Steps" along the way.

Goal setting can be a process rather than a one-time task, as you will see in this material. This workbook will walk you through a thinking process until you are zeroing in on exactly what you want and how to stay focused on your goal until you achieve it.


First We Must Know What We Really Want

Let's take a look at one of the most common new year's resolution: losing weight. So we make a resolution that we'll lose 12 pounds in that year. Sounds reasonable. One pound a month? Who can't do that?... We can't without a plan to get it off and keep if off.

Believe it or not, this is not a good resolution to make for several reasons:

[1] It's too long term. You can easily mess up in the first half of the year and think, "I still have six months to reach my goal." Chances are in six months you've completely forgotten you made this resolution.

[2] It makes no indication as to how you will lose the 12 pounds. You have no action plan to get from here to there.

[3] It might not be what you really want. What? It's true. Maybe what you really want it to be more attractive. Losing weight is just part of that picture. It would also include improving your wardrobe, smiling more often, being a better listener, improving conversation skills, etc. So you could find yourself losing 12 pounds but still being unhappy about yourself.

Image of thinking about being successful

So you can see, that wording your goal properly and having a workable plan is all part of being successful at achieving it. In fact, there is more to this "goal-setting thing" and we'll examine each one of them, too, in these articles.


Types of Goals and Resolutions

There are long-term, medium-term and short-term goals and resolutions.

An example of a short-term resolution would be, "This week, I'm going to return everything I've borrowed."

A medium-term example would be, "I'm going to write the last three chapters of my fiction novel."

A long-term goal would be, "I'm going to save up $3,000 this year and take a trip to Israel during Christmas vacation." Or, "Within the next five years, I'm going to buy a house in a better location."

A person might have several resolutions, all with different timeframes.

The short-term resolution doesn't really need to be broken down into action steps, unless the person have a serious problem with returning things that don't belong to him.

However, the medium and long-term resolutions certainly do need to be broken down into achievable step. There should be a way to monitor progress, overcome obstacles, and stay focused on the prize.

Caution: Don't make a goal or resolution for someone else. For example, don't set a goal that your child will get an "B" in math by the end of the school year. Instead, you can set a goal that you will sit with your child for 15 minutes every day to go through the math flash cards. If this one task is not bringing his grade up, you can tweak your resolution to say "I will buy 2 math games and play them with my son on the weekends."

I hope you see the difference between setting a goal for someone else and for yourself. You have no control over what grade your child will get in school, but you do have control over what you can do with your son.

Get a notebook to use in your journey to your goal. There are many action steps you can take to clarify what you really want and the steps you'll take to get there. A journal or a notebook will help you along the way.

 

ACTION STEP

Write down 3 goals you'd like to reach, one short term, medium term and long term:

[1] My short-term goal (within the next 2 weeks) is:

 


 


[2] My medium-term goal (within 6 months) is:

 


 


[3] My long-term goal (any amount of time longer than 6 months) is:

 


 



After you learn more about goal setting, you might decide to tweak one or more of these goals. In fact, you might scrap them altogether and pick new ones.

If goal-setting was easy, we'd all be doing better with our new year's resolutions!


How Passionate Are You about Reaching Your Goal?

This one point alone can help you predict whether you'll reach your goal or not.

How badly do you want it? How badly do you need it?

One person may make it a goal to get a better paying job because he wants to be able to afford the golfing fees on a better golf course. Another person may want a better paying job because his much-loved dad cannot live alone much longer and he needs a bigger house with handicapped access.

Certainly, the motivation in the second example is greater than the first. However, the passion may be the same. If the first man is determined to be a professional golfer, then the golfing fees are very important to him.

Image of the words I can

So don't judge your goal by normal standards. Judge it by how much you want it.

People may laugh when hearing that a man's new year's resolution is to learn some magic tricks. But if the man's motivation is to share a common interest with his rebellious teenage son, then this resolution takes on a much profounder meaning.

So when making a resolution or setting a goal, take a measurement of how passionately you want to succeed. Also examine what the consequences will be if you don't succeed?

In the first case above, the man's father will end up in a nursing home, which neither of them want. The golfer will be hindered from closing in on a life-long dream and a great deal of prize money. The father of the rebellious boy may never know if finding a common interest with his son would have kept him from drugs and crime.

The degree of passion you have for the end product will play a significant role in whether or not you succeed in reaching your goal.


ACTION STEP

Give a number to your 3 goals above. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how motivated are you to accomplish your goals:

[1] (Short term) _____________________

[2] (Medium term) ___________________

[3]  (Long term) _____________________


Image of Robert Kiyosake saying that people who take big risks often win big


What if You're Not Sure About What Your Want?

What if you're not sure what you want but you know you need a change?

We often see messages that tell us "don’t give up on your goals, live your dreams, chase the rainbow, the sky's the limit, don’t give up…" We’ve heard it all a thousand times.
And these are very nice sayings. It’s certainly true that we shouldn’t stop going after the things we want and we certainly can achieve anything we put our minds to.

So what’s the problem with this advice? Why does it fall flat? Why hasn’t it yet inspired most of us to get out there and become billion dollar rock stars and CEO of a company?

The answer is that some of us have trouble selecting the right dreams in the first place.

What if you don’t know what you want to be?

What if what you want to be is completely unrealistic?

What if two of our goals contradict one another?

Some people are fortunate enough to have one very clear goal, one passion that makes them truly happy. This  makes it much easier for them to stay committed and dedicated.

An example of this might be someone who has always wanted to be a professional athlete and who therefore spends all their free time training to be the very best.

Image of scrabble tiles that read dream big

Another example might be someone who has always wanted to be a doctor, a marine biologist and so on. Whatever the case, these people have the opportunity to focus on their goals early on and to follow them through to completion.

But what if you don’t feel so passionately about any one job? What if you’re someone who kind of wants to be an athlete but would also like to wear a suit? What if you just want to live a quiet life but don’t want to be bored?

Or what if you want to be an astronaut but you’re 40 and there’s very little chance of that happening realistically right now?

If this is your struggle, there is hope. By looking at things differently than you have in the past, you can get a clearer picture of what you truly want.


ACTION STEP

Answer this question. If you could have one wish granted, what would you ask for?" What do you want more than anything else in the world? (Don't answer something like bringing someone back from the dead or owning the world. Choose something that a human being can achieve or acquire):

 


 


 



Now write down why you want this so badly. Be entirely honest. Only you will read it:

 


 


 


Again, all this might change as you learn more about goals and resolutions. But for now, make your best effort to zero in on what you truly want.


The Value of a Mission Statement

Every successful company and non-profit organization has a mission statement. This is not so much about what they do but about why they do it.

For example, a medical clinic might have this mission statement:

"To provide the rural people of Fremont County, Colorado, with greater access to medical care."

This does not tell us how they do it. It just states their purpose for what they do.

Why is this important? Let's say a new person joins the board of directors. He says he wants to see the clinic cut costs by being open fewer hours each day. The other board members can argue that his idea is contrary to their mission - which is to provide greater access, not lesser.

The mission statement keeps a company or organization on track.


Let's look at Nike’s mission statement:

“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete.”

This is not as broad as you might think. Let's say that someone in charge of the company thinks it's time to start making baby shoes. Although that might be a trendy idea, it does not line up with their mission statement, which limits their focus to athletes. This limitation helps the company stay on track and focus on what they were established to do.

If the company's executive board feels that making baby shoes is in the best interest of the company, then their mission statement should (and can) be changed. However, mission/purpose statements are not changed casually. Usually a great deal of thought and discussion goes into it. Only after much soul-searching is a mission statement changed.

Image of the tropics


People can - and should - have mission statements, too. Why were you created? What is your purpose for being here? This is a very deep question that many people never ask themselves. But it's important to know this when you're making goals. If you make a goal that is contrary to your mission statement, your chances of failing increase dramatically.

Let's say that after much soul searching I determine that my mission is "To raise my children to be productive adults in society."

Now, what if I wrote this as my long-term goal, "To become a tour guide to foreign countries."

Can you see that my long-term goal contradicts my life's mission? If my children are grown and doing well, then I can change my mission statement but, until that time, this long-term goal is not reasonable.

A better long-term goal would be "To learn the cuisine of foreign countries and teach my children how to prepare a wide-variety of exotic dishes." or "To take classes with my children to learn a foreign language and to travel together to a country that speaks that language."

Now my goal is in harmony with my mission and the chances of successfully reaching that goal are far greater.


So let's look at other mission statements that people can have:

* To write at least one book that improves the lives of women
* To study and document the wildlife in my area of the state
* To support my husband while he advances in his career
* To take care of my elderly parents until they are gone
* To have a close relationship with my child and to raise him to be a responsible, respectful adult
* To help feed homeless people in my city
* To help build a community center for the benefit of the rural residents in my area
* To use my managerial skills in a company that appreciates me

As you can see, people's missions can change during various stages of their lives. In their 20's, it might be to build their career in order to buy a house to establish a family. In their 40's, it might be to make their community a better place, in their 60's, it might be to care for elderly parents.

 


ACTION STEP

What do you think your mission is right now?

 


 


 



Take a look at the goals you wrote previously. Do any of them conflict with your mission? If so, can you tweak your goal to harmonize with your mission? Or is there a completely different goal you would like to put in its place?

If your mission is “To be a modern-day pioneer and explore remote parts of the world," then having a goal of finding my dream girl and having lots of kids should not be one of your goals.

This is not to say that your mission and your goals must be mundane. The most accomplished and successful people in the world are unique and adventurous. They were willing to challenge the status quo.

And if you create a goal because you think it’s what you’re supposed to want, then you won't be truly excited about succeeding.

Becoming a lawyer to make your mom happy so that you’ll be richer than your neighbor does not inspire or motivate. Be true to yourself and be honest. Often our dreams are much easier to accomplish than we realize but we get in our own way by thinking about what we should be doing rather than what we really truly want to do.

On the other hand, the right goal and the right vision for you is going to stimulate you from deep within. You’ll come alive when you talk about your passions and you’ll be filled with enthusiasm and charisma that will inspire others.

True passion is what makes people get up early and stay up late to follow their dreams. Keep digging inside your heart and mind to find that thing that makes you smile just thinking about it.

Become obsessed with your vision - not your circumstances.


Looking More Closely at Goals and Resolutions

A typical goal or new year's resolution is "to lose 12 pounds in 3 months (a pound a week)."

Most people stop there. They make to plan to accomplish this goal - or they make a plan that really doesn't work for them.

Perhaps the person plans to join a gym and work out every day for 1 hour. Although this seems reasonable, there's no guarantee that this plan will result in the loss of 12 pounds in any amount of time. Furthermore, it depends on having the time, energy and money to go to the gym.

In fact, eating and sleeping habits may actually have more influence on the success of the goal than exercise.

Image that says make things happen

Instead, let's rephrase the goal from a different point of view:
"To remove 90% of the carbohydrates from my diet, replacing them with low-carb vegetables, protein and fats for the next 3 months." (This would be the Ketogenic Diet that has worked for many people to lose weight.)

Can you see that stating the goal in this way is so much more specific. This does not rely on having and extra hour-plus to go to the gym. We eat and shop anyway, so it only calls for make a change to how we do them. Since the Keto Diet, when done properly, does not leave you hungry, the chances of successfully lose weight could be improved.

So is that it? Just rephrase the goal?

No. In order to improve your chances of success even further, break down the goal into actionable steps:

* Learn how the ketogenic diet works
* Download a keto food shopping list
* Start a journal for your keto diet information
* Make a note of the foods that you are giving up (substituting) for the next 3 months
* Find recipes that fit the keto diet that your family will also like
* Make a list of foods you'll substitute at meals when your family is having potatoes or other carbs

Now your goal seems more attainable.

Perhaps you still like the idea of exercising. In that case, throw in a 30-minute brisk walk with the kids 3 times a week. This might address another goal you have of getting the kids outdoors more or spending more time talking with them about life.

Later, we'll look at different ways to increase your chances of sticking with this plan.


Another example of rephrasing your resolution would be "I'm going to get a new job within 5 months." It's hard to see at first glance how this is going to happen.

However, if you rephrase the goal like this: "I'm going to send out 2 resumes or fill out 2 job applications per week for 5 month,." you can see instantly what your resolution is about and getting a new job will be a natural consequence of sticking to this resolution. (More on how to stick with resolutions later.)

 

A third example would be this:

Your goal is to is to become a highly successful, confident and attractive. This is a fairly lofty goal but one that is achievable if you define those abstract concepts to make more tangible and concrete steps.

Maybe your goal could be defined as a 3-part goal like this:

[a] To commit to a 4-times weekly training routine
[b] To add one impressive thing to your resume each month
[c] To refresh your wardrobe, with one new item per week

These three changes will improve the way you come across to other people, they will build confidence and  translate to better progress in your relationships and in your career.

This wikipedia article discusses personal goal setting. It contains an explanation of short and long-term goals and gives some tips on how to sucessfully reach your goals.

 


ACTION STEP

Choose one of your goals. Can it be rephrased in a more specific way? If so, write it here:

 


 


 



In your notebook, list the steps you can take to reach your goal. Try to figure out the easiest, most reasonable plan to get there. Do your best to break down the steps into the smallest bite-sized pieces. You'll be keeping track of your progress:

 


 


 



On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely is it that you'll take these steps and reach your goal? (10 being the most likely)

______________________________________.


If you didn't rate your chances as a 10, make a list of what you think will get in the way of reaching your goal. Be 100% honest:

 


 


 



If you listed reasons why you might not reach your goal, can you tweak your goal to be something you can expect with more certainly to achieve?

 


 


 



What if Your Goal is More Complicated than Losing Weight?

Sometimes it's necessary to remember that there's more than one way to skin a cat.

You may have to seek out a professional who can help you brainstorm ways to get around obstacles to reach your goals.

A great example of someone who did this is Sylvester Stallone. Stallone wanted to be an actor in Hollywood movies but no one would give him the opportunity he was hoping for. His slurred speech and buff physique ensured that he was cast in bit parts as the "heavy." Because of this, he had to find another way to get the parts he wanted.

His solution was to create a script for a film. (He was a great screenwriter). That film of course was Rocky and film producers and studios were so excited by it that they offered him huge amounts of money to buy the rights.

Image of a botton that says dont quit

But Stallone was steadfast and he said he would only let them have the rights if he could star in the film as Rocky. The studios were reluctant but eventually they relented – and he reached his goal!

Stallone was a great screenwriter but if he hadn't been, he could have hired a screenwriter. Since his goal was within the scope of his mission, the obstacles were not impossible to overcome.

If you want to see a list of popular goals and new year resolutions, you can look over this article on wikipedia. Also note the reasons why people fail at fulfilling their promises to themselves. These issues are covered in this article - with solutions!

 

ACTION STEP

Choose your most difficult goal. Write down various ways to reach that goal. Don't be afraid to write down unusual ideas. They might turn out to be useful:

 


 


 


Write down the names or professions of people who might have creative ideas to help you reach your goal:

 


 


 



What if Your Goal or Resolution Seems Too Complicated for You to Do?

Are other people doing it? If so, there's a good chance you can do it, too?

What if you can't pictures what steps to take to it happen? There are ways to learn the steps.

Image of book and eye glasses meaning you should read all you can about your dream goal

First, seek out books on the subject. Do you want to change careers? Read everything you can find about that career. Discover where you can get the necessary training and how much it will cost. Inquire if there are any on-the-job training opportunities available.

Then talk with people who work in that field. Ask them how you can break into that career.

Talk to career counselors. Changing jobs is their specialty. They will have loads of ideas to help you reach your goal.

Do you want to move? Call an expert (a realtor) who lives in the area where you want to relocate. They will give you a list of steps to take!

Book cover of the free pdf download of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Never dismiss a dream because you can't figure out the path to get there. Believe in yourself and your ability to find someone who will show you the way. Everything can be broken down in to small, achievable steps.

Read motivational books, too. There are many times when we need to hear from a "can do" person. A good motivational book can be within reach whenever you need it.


Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is a famous motivational book. I'll give you a free PDF copy of it if you click here:


Reading motivational stuff is important. Not only do these kinds of books help you learn new skills and new ways to achieve what you want in life, they also motivate and inspire you to keep going. The more you read about successful attitudes and mindsets, the easier it becomes to make that a part of who you are.


Will You Have to Tweak Your Lifestyle in Order to Reach Your Goal?

Sometimes you do.

If your goal is to make a side income working on the internet, this takes time to learn how and to do the work. This will require giving up something that you don't want or need as much, such as television, YouTube surfing, playing games or yacking on the phone for long periods of time.

Consciously determine what you'll set aside until your goal is reach. Record that in your notebook.

When setting your goals, take into account all the essential parts of your life, such as job, kids, finances, etc. Some goals and resolutions lend themselves to being broken down in to very small steps. You can inch toward your goals without rocking the boat too much.

Image of footprints representing people taking one step at a time

Even if your goal is big, such as moving into a larger house, the path begins with just a baby step. There may be hundreds of steps from here to there, but if you want a bigger house bad enough, you will inch forward until you've reached your goal.

Sometimes we are blessed with a giant step. Let's say you've been saving for a new home. You calculate that it will take 2 years to raise the down payment. Unexpectedly, you get a raise or a financial gift. Now you have jumped ahead and your destination is closer.

So don't brush aside a goal simply because it will take too long to achieve it. Any good thing could happen along the way that could cut the time in half.

 

Harnessing the Power of Visualization to Stay on Track

One valuable trick to staying on track is to visualize the end result. What will be different when you reach your goal?

Depending on your goal, the end result could be:
* You are more confident
* You are more attractive
* You are making more money
* You are slimmer and fitting into your favorite dress or suit again
* Your life is more peaceful
* You are proud of yourself for doing something important

Although these things might be true, go an extra step and feel and see what it would be like:

* (You are more confident ) You are walking taller and you feel great about yourself!
* (You are more attractive) You are getting more invitations that you can accept. The phone is ringing a lot more and people are stopping to speak to you.
* (You are making more money) You are buying the things you always wanted. You are booking trips regularly and traveling to places you thought you'd never get to.
* (You are slimmer and fitting into your favorite dress or suit again) People are repeatedly telling you that you look great. They are coming to you for advice because they want to know your secret of looking young and healthy. They are making you feel good about yourself and your looks.
* (Your life is more peaceful) That crazy situation is out of your life. Your relaxing in your favorite chair and just basking in the peaceful environment. You wonder what took you so long to straighten out your life. You feel relaxed and well rested.
* (You are proud of yourself for doing something important) You did it. You took the step that had been nagging you for so long. You accomplished something important and you feel guilt-free and relieved. You pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Do you see the difference between what you accomplished (the first group) and how to feel about it (the second group). It's the second group - the feelings - that will get you out of bed on a cold morning to get to the gym.


ACTION STEP

Imagine all the different feelings you'll have when you reach your goal. Write them in your notebook to review often.

 


 


 



Image of a person holding a sign with the words goal plan success


Harnessing the Power of Passion to Fulfill Your Goals

The first and most important thing of all is to make absolutely certain that the passion you’re pursuing really is your passion.

This is absolutely critical for the rest of this plan to work because having a passion brings you alive. Did you know that people with passion are seen as being more attractive, more charismatic and more persuasive?

Passionate people are driven, they’re wired and they’re filled with positive energy.

Waking up every morning and knowing exactly what you want to achieve is like switching on a bright light deep inside yourself that everyone else is attracted to like moths.

And passion is also what will make you willing to grind and put in the work.

If you’re struggling to stick with your goals, then there’s a good chance that you just don’t have the drive to fulfill them. Maybe you’re on the wrong path.

If you love what you do – truly love it – then you will be happy to spend more time on your business, to spend more money on your clothes, to put in hours in the gym or on the tarmac, to write that book, to save up to travel the world…whatever.

The point is that if you aren’t staying focused on your resolutions, then you probably don’t feel passionate or excited about them.

This isn’t always an issue with the goals themselves though – but rather that we sometimes feel as though the steps are too far removed from the goals. This is where we can again use visualization to really motivate ourselves.

Let’s say it’s cold outside and you need to head to the gym and do a workout to meet your goal today. That’s hard to do and many people will be tempted to just turn off their alarm, roll over and pull the blankets over their heads.

To prevent this, remind yourself why your short-term goal is just a stepping stone to the things you want most in the world. Visualize the end result.

Image of a body builder with a motivational saying that success adds up

So now you’re lying in bed, picturing yourself looking absolutely amazing. Imagine how great it would feel to have flat, rock solid abs. Imagine how great it would be to have big arms if you’re a guy that women will love. Picture yourself filling out suits. Think about how much more confident you’ll become in the way you walk and the way you hold yourself. Think about the energy you’ll gain from being much healthier. How great would it be to come home feeling amazing at the end of the day?

Feel the passion that drives you. And then you’ll find that you almost can’t just stay in bed.

Likewise if you’re writing a book, focus on what it will feel like to be a published author. Imagine how you'll feel when you see your name printed in big letters on the cover of your own book. How will it feel when people say they admire you for writing and publishing that book? Imagine the money and how good it will feel to spend it or see it growing in your bank account.

This will motivate you to sit down and write that next chapter.


ACTION STEP

Think of your most important goal. What drove you to make this goal in the first place? What happened to make you want to reach this goal or make this resolution? Write down what motivates you to work toward this goal. Use your journal/notebook to add new ideas about why reaching this goal is so important to you.

 


 


 



Harnessing the Power of Visual Cues

 If you’re finding it hard to keep your end goal in mind, you can make use of visual cues. Do this by keeping reminders around the house, car and office.

For example,
() If you want to fit into that gorgeous dress again, post a picture of you wearing that dress.
() If you want to move to a bigger home, post pictures of bigger homes.
() If you want to be happy again, post a picture of a day when you were very happy.
() If you want a muscular body, post pictures of people with the type of body you want

In the movie Cool Running, a poor Jamaican man joins an olympic bobsled team in hopes of winning enough prize money to move away from his poor island to an affluent country. He carried a picture of Buckingham Palace in his pocket. Whenever he was discouraged, he pulled that picture from his pocket and imagined what it felt like to live amidst such wealth.

It kept him on track with his eyes on the prize.


Harnessing the Feeling of Accomplishment

Have you ever made a check list for a party or trip you're planning? You write down all the things that must be done and as they are completed you check them off.

Do you remember the feeling of accomplishment you had as you check off or crossed out tasks on that list? Maybe you also felt relief because you could tell that things were getting done.

You can incorporate this feeling of accomplishment into your effort to reach your goal.

You have created steps to reaching your goal. Make a big deal about checking them off one by one. If one is taking a long time to accomplish, break it up into smaller tasks so that you can start checking off boxes again.

You may want to celebrate in some small way when something is accomplished. Buy a new bracelet or take someone out to dinner.

Image of painting with the words be creative

If reaching your goal requires a daily or weekly activity, get a calendar from the dollar store to use just for this purpose. Hang it in a conspicuous place.

If you're supposed to go to the gym every day, put a big heart, sticker or a cross on the days that you go to the gym. The days you miss will remain glaringly bare.

Do the same if you're supposed to send out one resume a week. If you did so, use a bright marker to fill in the days of that week. The weeks that you missed remain stark white.

Eventually, you may get tired of seeing the bare spots. You'll accomplish your task just to make that calendar look good.


ACTION STEP

What visual cues could you use to remind you of your desire to reach your goal?

 


 


 



Harnessing the Power of Accountability

If you're supposed to swim twice a week, find a friend who will go to the pool with you. She will be disappointed if you cancel. If you're lucky, she'll talk you into going.

If you carpool, she will be even more dependent on you to go.

If you're part of a foursome for tennis, cancelling will inconvenience three people. This can certainly motivate you to get yourself in gear and get to the tennis court on time.

Also, confide in a friend about your goal. Ask him or her to call you regularly to ask how much closer you've come to reaching your goal. Having to make excuses repeatedly why you stalled out can get tiring. It just might motivate you to keep working toward you goal.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Take great care to confide in the right person. It should be someone who understands how important this goal is to you. You never want to set yourself up to be ridiculed or discouraged. You have a right to your dreams; guard them, protect them and treat them with the respect they deserve.


ACTION STEP

Write down ways that you can get some accountability toward reaching your goal. Is there someone who might like to reach this goal with you? Is there someone who would call you each week to ask about your progress? Are there any self-imposed penalties you'd care to set down? What else might keep you accountable?

 


 


 


If the Goal is Big, a Lifestyle Change May be Part of It

One thing we’ve touched on briefly that deserves a little more attention, is the actual impact that a goal can have on your lifestyle.

Sometimes the old adage ‘be careful what you wish for’ can end up coming into play here.
All too often, the actual day-to-day work that is involved with being a CEO, with being a rock star, or with being a away-from-home working mom can end up not being everything we believed it to be.

And even when that’s not the case, having such a big and important goal is almost always going to be change to your lifestyle and it may take some adjusting at some point along the way.

Image of a clover growing up through the sidewalk with the words there is always a way

Earlier we talked about the conflicts that can arise if we pick goals that conflict with our lifestyle. (If we live in the city, having a horse ranch will not be in harmony with that.) However, if your goal is hugely important to you, then redesigning your lifestyle may be in order.

For the most part, we allow our careers to dictate our lives. We live wherever our employment is located. And we fit our ‘free hours’ in around our working hours.

Our happiness ends up entirely dictated  by our job!

This is where lifestyle design comes in and means working backward. Instead of choosing a job and thinking about how that’s going to impact your lifestyle, instead you think of the lifestyle you want and then find the job to make that happen.

For example, if having a horse ranch is immensely important to you, you may have to apply for jobs in a rural town with land suitable for horses within a reasonable distance.

Or if your goal is to be a family man or woman, then working as a teacher might be the perfect answer. That way, you’ll come home roughly when school finishes and you’ll have the holidays off to spend with your kids.

If you want to travel, then find a job that sends you around the world, or that lets you work remotely.
Lifestyle design can mean other things. It might mean cutting down on the time you spend commuting by moving closer to work. It might mean moving closer to friends so you can spend more time with them.

Think of what you really want out of life and then work toward making the changes necessary. Stop letting work dictate who you’re going to be and how you’re going to spend your time - unless your current happens to be your driving passion.

 

ACTION STEP

What is your biggest dream? Are you willing to make a lifestyle change to make your dream come true? List the things that would have to change in order for you to reach your goal:

 


 


 



How to Conquer Discouragement

 Even with the best action plan, there can be times that you experience setbacks and there will be moments when you think of giving up. Discouragement is one of the most predicable parts of achieving anything.

How you view setbacks and discouragement will make all the difference in the outcome.

We can view setbacks as failures, as proof that we weren’t up to the task, as a lesson that we shouldn’t stretch ourselves too much.

Or we can take problems in stride, knowing that gaining something worthwhile is going to have its difficulties. A failure means that you strived to accomplish something, you met with a road block and you'll have you find a way around it.

Try to think of life as an action film. You are the hero in the story and you have your opponents. They might be people, a lack of funds or a lack of time.

You can respond to a setback in two ways. You can give up and let it win, or you can get tougher and come back and win.

Image of a chalk board that says words have power

Every time you get covered in bruises means that you're in the fight. You're not a couch potato. You're fighting for what you want out of life. You're in the game.

As long as you're doing something to overcome the obstacle, you have not failed. Edison tried over and  over and over until he found a filament that would work in a light bulb. He never gave up, no matter how many times he had to start over. He was not deterred. He pressed on and was eventually victorious.

The harder the challenge, the more you have to fight to push through - and the more triumphant your victory will be!

You only fail if you give up. Until that point, you're still working on your goal.


Lack of Energy Can be an Obstacle

High energy people seem to get more done. Paying attention to how you spend your energy - and how you can gain more - can help you reach your goal.

When you aim for a goal, you will often notice that it takes up time. It’s hard squeezing your workouts in after work because you only have so much time in the evenings.

Except time isn’t the real challenge here.

Much more serious than the challenge of time is the challenge of energy.

You probably have time in the evenings but you're too tired to accomplish very much. If you get home from the office feeling exhausted, that is what will prevent you from writing, training or making progress on any goal.

So consider what you can do to increase your energy. Listen to friends who say they get extra energy from a particular diet, exercise routine, supplement or whatever.

Think about what you can eliminate from your schedule that uses up your energy. Can you grocery shop every 2 weeks instead of every week? Can you hire a high schooler to help with the housework or yard work? Can you spend less time on the phone? Can you get to bed earlier and get up more refreshed? Tweak your daily routine to support your efforts to accomplish your goals.

Here is an article on time management that will give you ideas on freeing up time to work on those things that are more important to you.


ACTION STEP

What steps can you take to increase the amount of energy you have to work on your goal:

 


 


 



Keeping Your Goals Alive

When you create goals and start moving toward them, there are two points where they are most likely to fail.

The first is right away. Right at the start of your new goal, you may find it was too ambitious. You may find that you don’t have the energy and you might fail to get your plan get off the ground. This can lead to a false start and eventually cause you to give up entirely.

Image of a wall that says dont be afraid to start over with new goals

The other failure point comes later on. This is when you’ve been living that life for many years. It’s when you’ve started to grow tired of it and it’s when you’ve just lost your motivation.

Come year 3 you might just have forgotten all about your move to change and you might have found other things took over in your life and you got distracted. It’s easy to drift off course this way.

So read on to lean how you can keep your goals alive.


Reviewing Your Goals

One thing you need to do is to keep reflecting on what you’ve accomplished so far, to keep reviewing your goals. Don't be afraid to adapt them to changing circumstances. New information may come to light that causes you to alter your direction.

This is something many people struggle with. When they’ve worked tirelessly toward one goal, it can be very difficult to make a chance. It feels fickle. It feels like a betrayal to a commitment they made to themselves.

However, it is not. People change and grow. Situations change. And our goals can change, too. If you keep working toward the same goal because you feel you can’t change course, then you may end up in a place you don't want to be. If it’s not what you want in your heart any more, then you won’t get what you need from it.

More often than not though, you’ll find that your goal just needs tweaking. It’s the same mission statement, just a new expression of it. This is similar to a company that has only one mission statement but many different products. The products may change but the company remains true to its purpose.

The other thing to do is to review your progress and to debrief about what went well and what didn’t. This will allow you to restructure your plans to better suit your circumstances. Ultimately, your goals and resolutions will be even smarter and more achievable.


Conclusion

You can do it. You can focus on the right goal for you and you can make it happen.

You now know that if the goal is too ambitious, you can cut it back to where it's achievable in your circumstance.

You know that your goals should not contradict your current mission in life. Though if you know that your mission is going to change soon, such as your last child getting married, you can work toward something that will fit your new mission in life.

It's never too late to set a goal and start working towards it. This is not just a platitude. The founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken started his business with his first social security check at age 65. Before that, he pretty much failed (gave up) at everything.

We don't want to get to the end of our lives wishing that we tried harder to fulfill our dreams. We don't want to look back and feel we wasted a portion of it.

Image a pile of 50 dollar bills

If making more money is part of your goal, you particularly don't want to toss the possibility away. Being elderly is not easy and living it in poverty makes it significantly more difficult.

So don’t delay. Remember this and hopefully you’ll feel that sense of urgency and focus, too.

Not shooting for your goals means that you could be doing the 9 to 5 routine every single day, with no sense of achieving something special for yourself. It could be you'll miss out on an extra measure of pride in your abilities and the rewards of new adventures.

You deserve the opportunity to work toward your dream. Meditate on it often and inch yourself toward it. You can do it!

 


Image of a person with his arms raised and the words no limits


 

 

 

  


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