“I’m going to lose 10 pounds,” you say to your best friend one random Saturday evening. You’ve had this goal in mind for a long time now, and have decided to take action. However, you suddenly become overwhelmed by the number. You’re not sure where to begin or when those extra pounds will be gone. It’s a common problem we all face…not knowing how to properly set up goals and achieve them. But today, we’re digging into exactly that: how to set and achieve goals the right way.
The steps to take:
1. Get specific with your goal
2. Break your goal down into smaller, more attainable milestones
3. Set up a reward system
4. Give yourself grace
5. Surround yourself with positivity
GET SPECIFIC WITH YOUR GOAL
The first step to achieving a goal is having one in the first place. Whether you have fitness goals or career goals, it’s important to be specific about what you desire. If you want to start your own business, know when you want to achieve it by…and be realistic about it! Maybe you want to launch a life coaching business in December two years from now.
Great! You’ve created a deadline to build from. You know the type of business you want to create. This is an important first step towards making your dream a reality.
However, achievement often doesn’t come simply because you’ve created a specific goal. Now, you need a plan to make it happen. You may have the urge to dive into all of the information you can…videos, articles, online courses showing you how to make your dreams happen. This becomes SO overwhelming from the start. People often fall behind in achieving their goals simply because they didn’t do this one big step: breaking down goals into smaller milestones.
Pro tip: Write this specific goal down…whether in a planner or a journal, having your goal in writing can make it feel more “real” from the beginning.
BREAK YOUR GOAL DOWN INTO SMALLER, MORE ATTAINABLE MILESTONES
So you have a specific goal. Awesome! You’ve made the first step in creating a change in your life, however big or small. However, you need a plan of action. If you have a big goal, it will be much easier to accomplish if you break that goal down into smaller, more attainable milestones.
Let’s look at two examples: weight loss, and becoming a certified nutritionist.
You’ve got a weight loss goal. You want to lose 10 pounds. Maybe you’ve made it more specific and know that you want to lose 10 pounds in three months. But, where do you begin? Oftentimes, people set out on weight loss journeys without a true plan. They become quickly overwhelmed by the idea of overhauling their pantry and replacing their “junk” food with more nutritious options. They realize they’re out of shape, and diving into high intensity workouts right away is just painful.
So, breaking down that goal into smaller milestones can save the day. For example, you might choose to limit your dessert intake to twice a week. Only consume one soda a day. Drink at least 64 ounces of water. Meal prep your dinners for the week on Sunday. Take small steps in the beginning of your journey. Begin with low impact workouts and build your strength and endurance incrementally.
With fitness goals as the example, changing things about your lifestyle in increments leads to a better chance of success. The same can be said for any other goal you have!
Becoming a Certified Nutritionist
Perhaps you want to become a certified nutritionist. You’ve decided you want to accomplish this within one year. From there, you can spend a week narrowing down the best online nutritionist programs you can find. Then, you register and begin your courses. Way to go! You make a small goal to complete a certain number of chapters or assignments each week (as most programs are self-paced). Upon completion, you then focus on actually putting your certification to practice. These things all needed to happen step by step, with proper attention given to each. Otherwise, getting through the process would have been completely overwhelming, and you may have ended up giving up entirely. When it comes to these smaller milestones, it’s beneficial to write them down under the specific goal you created at first. This gives you a visual blueprint to work from.
SET UP A REWARD SYSTEM
Although it may sound silly, a reward system can help when trying to achieve a goal. Of course, the rewards you choose don’t need to be extravagant (though, if that’s how you roll, go for it!). Whether it’s weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc…when you have achieved one of your smaller milestones, celebrate by doing something nice for yourself! Indulging in a decadent but deserved bowl of ice cream. Purchasing a new scarf! Treating yourself to a much needed bubble bath. Whatever your reward is, make sure it’s something you will truly enjoy.
This can help keep you on track with hitting your goal, because it gives you something to look forward to throughout your journey. It’s also good to remember that even though you have something to accomplish, you still need to take care of your soul and let yourself feel happy. Those feelings of joy and having something to look forward to can even help you feel like you’re already achieving something great (which you are!).
And of course, make sure to reward yourself big time once that final goal becomes a reality (hellooooo, new running shoes).
GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
When it comes to setting up and achieving your goals, having a go-getter attitude can create a driving force for change! However, it’s important to give yourself grace. Life happens. Sometimes it gets downright chaotic. This can interfere with your personal schedule, and that’s ok. Rolling with the punches will keep you moving forward. And if you’re just mentally, physically, or emotionally struggling, remember that everyone has those days. Your goals are important, and so is your health. If you need to take a short break, know that you can pick up where you left off.
Not every day can be the perfect highlight reel you have in your mind. Acknowledge your wins day to day, and be kind to yourself if you fall off the wagon a little bit. Just hop back on and keep going. Giving yourself grace also means NOT comparing your journey to someone else’s. Even if you are trying to reach the same destination as someone else, you are different human beings with different paths. Keeping that in mind can help prevent you from getting down on yourself. Just know that you’re doing what you need to at your own speed in order to be successful in achieving your goals!
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY
They say you are the company you keep, and that’s entirely true. If you want to succeed in achieving your goals, surround yourself with positivity.
- If you find yourself stuck in some toxic friendships and/or relationships, it’s likely that those relationships weigh on you. And although it’s a tough call to make, distancing yourself from those who radiate negativity will help you in any endeavor going forward. The greatest shifts can happen once you surround yourself with positivity. Hang out and talk with others who have similar goals as you, or those who have already achieved their goals! Don’t be afraid of discussing your successes and letting your circle know exactly what you want to accomplish.
- If you don’t currently know anyone who can make positivity a reality for you, seek out your “people” elsewhere. Social media is amazing for this exact reason. Maybe you’re an aspiring writer. Look for Facebook groups full of aspiring, and accomplished, writers. This will give you a place to share your thoughts and gain ideas. Follow hashtags and profiles on platforms like Instagram full of people who fill your cup and leave you feeling inspired, rather than stressed out or upset. Even if you aren’t physically hanging out with these people, you can still choose who you absorb information from. And, in line with giving yourself grace, remember not to compare your current situation to others. Just let them inspire you and realize what you are truly capable of.
Additionally, it’s important to seek out those who have gone above and beyond your own personal goals. Whether as a mentor or a friend, associating yourself with a high achiever can give you a motivational boost to keep going and striving toward bigger and better goals.
Although working towards a goal can seem daunting at first, following this process will set you up for ultimate success. And even if giving yourself grace and surrounding yourself with positivity seem like simple steps, they are just as significant in reaching your goals as getting specific and setting up smaller milestones! Your journey matters and you deserve to reach your goals with as much joy and ease as possible, despite the road bumps you may experience along the way. So here’s to creating and crushing goals.
Let’s get out there and get it done!