“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act.” – Pablo Picasso
Today we are going to talk about how to achieve your goals. Setting goals has the power to catapult you forward and keep you on track towards achieving the life you really want. Back when I was just starting to work out I remember I vaguely wanted to, “run more.” This goal is too vague! Run more could mean go outside for a 5 minute run! That’s more running than I did in the past year! Instead, we are going to talk all about setting up specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely goals. That may sound like a lot, but It’s easier than you think. Let’s get started!
You and I want to be specific about our goals. (For example: “I will weigh 200lbs by January 25th, 2015.”) Being specific helps us hone in on exactly what results we are committed to achieving. The more specific we are, the more likely we are going to get what we are truly after.
Notice that this goal is measurable. (e.g. “I will make $40,000 / year by May 16, 2015.”) I have read that if you write your goals as if you already have achieved them, it increases your chances of attaining them. (e.g.“I have 18% body fat by September 12, 2015.”)
The Power of Metrics (/ˈmetriks/ a method of measuring something, or the results obtained from this.)
“What gets measured gets managed” – Peter Drucker
The more specific the metric, the better. When you measure something on a consistent basis, you start being more deliberate with your actions. Our actions start to have a direct impact on our metric. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to write down that I weigh more today than I did the day before!
Attainable means if it is realistically possible for you to attain your goal within your time frame. 1 million dollars by the end of the week/month might not be attainable.
Relevant asks, “is this aligned with what you want for yourself?” That might seem strange to ask, but sometimes we don’t really know what we want, so make sure this is really something that you want.
“A goal is a dream with a timeline” -Napoleon Hill
Last, Timely means setting up a time frame that is easily comprehensible. If you stretch a goal out more than a year it starts to become too abstract to work with, so keep your goals within a year from now.
How to Move Toward Your Goals Each Day
Daily Goal Setting
Okay, so we have written out our goals, now what? Surprisingly, we are not done! Goal setting is a daily practice. Just like writing down our metrics, we need to write our goals down every single day. Like all of our techniques, we want to condition ourselves to make it a habit. Doing it day after day helps us program ourselves and keep our focus in alignment with the attainment of our goal.
Think about it another way: how hyper focused would you become if every single day you reminded yourself of your mission? If every single day you gave yourself a purpose. A reason to go out into the world and give it everything you’ve got.
The most productive people have already planned out their day, their week, their month, and their year. Have you ever wanted to buy shoes and you thought it would only take a few minutes? But three hours later you are still reading Amazon reviews? I was shocked when I noticed this. When we have so many options it is easy to become paralyzed. Which is why it is critical eliminate the number of decisions that you have to make in a day. Do your best to create a plan for each day, the day before, or sooner. If we can stop deliberating and take more action, we will reach our goals without spending hours on non-critical decisions. Don’t get me wrong, some things are worth taking your time with making a decision, especially if those decisions involve people or a lot of money, but otherwise, we are going to work to make decisions more rapidly.
A plan can be as simple as a “to do” list. As simple as it sounds, make sure that you have one on you, so that if you find yourself bored, or without direction, you can pull it out and immediately know what you need to do. I carry a moleskine on me at all times to be ready to jot down ideas, and remind myself of what I want to get done.
Dealing With Setbacks
Sometimes we don’t reach our goals as fast as we want. When we don’t get instant feedback from our efforts, it’s easy to become discouraged. However, people overestimate how much they can get done in a year, and underestimate how much they can get done in a decade. Persistence will always be the answer to failure and setback. If you think about failure, you may come to realize that the only real way for you to “fail” is if you give up. If you decide that you are not going to try anymore. If you make that decision, then and only then, are you no longer moving towards your goals.
Think about it, if you move towards your goals just a little bit each day, then it is inevitable that you reach them. The only way that you would not reach your goals, is if you started going in the other direction, or stopped moving. Remember this when you are thinking about quitting.
Most importantly of all, remember that we all fall off the timeline for our goals. What is important is how quickly we get back to them. Me and you need to make sure that we don’t tear ourselves down when we miss a day or a week, or even a year, and instead we calmly get back to it.
After setting a goal it’s extremely important to take action immediately toward it’s attainment. Otherwise you are setting yourself up to procrastinate. Commit to your goal by publicly declaring your goal in the comments below.
Let’s get started!
Are You Success Driven?
Sign up for weekly emails and our free eBook, Success Habits: The Key to Achievement, for free!