How to Keep Your Goals On Track
With the summer winding down, school starting back up, and vacations ending for a lot of people, it's a good time to revisit your goals. We are over halfway through the year, we are getting in gear to switch seasons, and it's a good time to reevaluate where you are and where you're going.
Goal setting can be a tricky topic and can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed or the beginning of a procrastination cycle. Setting reasonable, short-term goals is the key to hitting a long-term target, as we discussed in a previous blog (The Procrastination Factor and Ways to Manage It). If you already have some you are working on, you may find it easy to be derailed or discouraged. We’d like to offer a few ways to help you stay on track and keep an eye on the prize.
1. Don't make some massive to-do list.
One of the major reasons people can’t get traction towards a goal or can't see it through to the finish line is they make it too cumbersome, too difficult to achieve, too overwhelming. The idea is to break goals down into their manageable parts, but not to make a list of 100 things you need to start doing immediately to reach it. You can keep that list as a reference, but please for the love of your sanity, DO NOT TRY TO CHANGE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE AT ONCE!
The idea of a long-term commitment to anything can feel scary in a world of immediacy and instant gratification. This can even be the case when you really do want the outcome. Keep your steps small and your goal will feel attainable. Do you really need to change 100 things to achieve it? Probably not, but even if you do, add a few in at a time until they make sense in your life and don’t feel all that earth shattering. Before you know it, you will complete that list and not give yourself a panic attack in the process.
2. Leave negativity out of the equation.
Too many of us bully ourselves. There's enough negativity in the world to go around. You can find a reason to be pessimistic about anything if you look hard enough. Setting goals should not be just another way to berate yourself or feel you are not good enough. Focusing on your limitations or negative feedback only keeps you on a negative path and leaves no room for the good things you are trying to create.
Try writing down all your fears or the reasons why you think you can't do something, and then get rid of it. Rip it up, burn it, whatever it takes to squash that negativity and let it go. Get it out of your system and commit to a new perspective.
In order to achieve, you have to have a positive mindset. Focus on where you're going and how you're going to get there one step at a time. Every little movement forward is progress. Everyone has slip ups or mistakes just don't dwell on them or they will drown you rather than help you learn and continue to grow.
3. Find glory in the little successes.
When you break goals down to their smaller parts it's easy to have more victories. More victories equal feelings of success and positivity. These things fuel the fire to keep you moving towards your desired end goal.
There are ample studies that focus on the power of positive thinking; this isn't just new age mumbo-jumbo. There really is something to it. Waiting for the utter completion of your long-term objective to celebrate feel defeating in the short term. Set weekly or even daily goals and celebrate those victories. Find ways to acknowledge what you're doing and that you're sticking to your strategy.
How you celebrate and feel the success varies for everyone. Some people need to be urged on by others and post on social media or celebrate with friends. Others celebrate privately with a personal ritual. Maybe a journal or a list you can check off is all you need. Whatever it is that motivates you to keep moving forward and to acknowledge the steps you've already completed on your journey is what you need to do.
The road to attaining something you've always wanted may be long, but your system of achievement doesn't have to be set up that way. Stay positive, set short-term, manageable goals, and acknowledge every success along the way. This is what it takes to stay on the path of achievement. Put one foot in front of the other and before you know it you'll be taking on goals and achieving in ways you never thought you could.