Do you set goals? If you are like a lot of people, you have, at the very least, thought about some changes you would not mind making. Maybe you have decided you want to read more, get a good job, manage your money better, stop smoking, go back to school or perhaps you want to focus on losing a few pounds and incorporate a healthier diet.
I recently read in an article, by Steve Shapiro, the author of Goal-Free Living, that of the 45% of Americans that typically set goals, only 8% are successful in achieving those goals. Stats like that almost mean that your goal needs to be…stick to accomplishing your goals!
The good news is that there are steps you can take to help improve the odds that you will indeed accomplish all or at least some of your goals.
Let’s keep it short and simple by reviewing what I believe are the top 5 steps to ensure you will stick with those goals.
1 . Narrow Your Focus: Anyone in healthcare will tell you that the human brain can really only focus on one ‘thing’ at a time. In other words, you can’t consciously think about 2 or more ideas at the same time because there are various activities you have going on in your life. This can include stress and responsibilities of taking care of your family, house, children, or looking forward to completing a task on any given day. So, squeezing six new goals into the line of issues and tasks may be very difficult and unreasonable.
With that in mind, try to force just one or maybe two major goals into your already hectic routine. Your focus on two major goals will surely reduce the stress of meeting up with the six new goals you have, which will increase your likelihood to act on accomplishing those goals.
2. Make a Specific Plan: Let’s assume you have decided to lose 40 pounds. This is really great! How are you going to do it? When do you want to accomplish losing the first 10 pounds? Just saying you want to lose 40 pounds is not enough to make you lose 40 pounds. Even though I am NOT a fan of doing a bunch of saddling up before you ride, in this case, you should do a little planning or else you will get lost in your lack of direction. You need to make up your mind and plan towards it practically.
Your plan doesn’t have to be elaborate or researched in the least, but rather, you must at
most have some plan to get you started. You can modify as you go. If weight loss is
your goal, then you may just write down a simple outline such as:
- I will lose a minimum of 5 pounds per month for the next eight months.
- I will accomplish that by walking and jogging for 40 minutes at least 3 days a week, eating ice cream once a week, going from 3 to 1 soda per day and not eating after 6:30pm.
3. Spend Some Money: This is a trick that will not work for everyone, but a lot of people, and if taken into consideration, will really make a difference. This approach is to invest in your goal. Sticking with our weight loss theme (since I am into healthcare), the theory is that spending money on something that motivates you or commits you will increase your likelihood to sticking with your resolution.
After all, you work hard for your money and don’t want to see it go to waste. What would motivate you to go out and jog or to make your way into the nearby fitness center? Is it a new iPod? Great! Why not get it? Or that new pair of Nikes you’ve been eyeing? Reward yourself with them in celebration of what you are about to accomplish!
Another way money can help you hit your goal is by committing you to stick with it regardless of unnecessary circumstances that might arise. Investing in a trainer can help with fitness. Now, you want to be careful that you don’t get ‘smooth talked’ into a 2-year training package, but what about committing to 6 months?
4. Tell it to the World: You have decided to get in better shape so you can look and feel better. Do you want to keep it to yourself? Statistically, you are more likely to stay on course with your new direction if you have told others what you are up to. You can create awareness in open places or speak to some individuals by convincing and encouraging them on how their body shape would be at the end of the workout if they are really interested.
A goal that is communicated to friends and family will support and motivate you and will hold you more accountable. Sure, they will still love you no matter your condition, but you won’t want to let them down. Use that desire to keep you committed.
5. Get a Teammate: If you want to stay on the same ‘being held accountable’ path, find yourself a teammate that is ready to go on your journey with you. What if you resolve to get your finances in order? Your spouse or close friend can be a great ally if they are trying to accomplish the same goal with you. The best method is to make plans with your partner and this is done by creating a time that is suitable to discuss the particular issue. Sit down over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and begin looking at saving and investing options together. It is much more motivating and enjoyable when someone else is sharing in your financial misery! That is a joke!
Are you committed to jogging 3 days a week? You need to have someone that will always encourage, meet you at the track to jog or the gym for a workout to reduce the chance that you will back out. Do you have a goal of eating better at work? Find a co-worker with the same goal and it will make lunch more lively and you’ll be less likely to back out. The idea of going to lunch alone is not recommended because there is no one there to encourage you. You are less likely to cheat when he or she is standing next to you. It reduces the chances of choosing foods and drinks that are not related to weight loss.
Are Goals a Waste of Time?
Look, you have likely got some plan in place to help you accomplish your goals and tasks at the office, so there is no reason you shouldn’t have a plan of attack in place to help you accomplish your personal goals. There are a lot of people that say that goals are a waste of time. I don’t agree. Goals are set to make a difference. I believe that every time you set a goal to improve your life, you are one step closer to accomplishing it even when you fail.
Setting reasonable goals for yourself and putting the infrastructure in place to help you achieve those goals will significantly increase the chances that you will successfully get from point A to point B. Try this for your future goals and you won’t believe what you have achieved, how far you’ve gone, and that prosperous personnel you have become at the end.
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