We all have goals, right? Messages around goals come at us from an early age and keep on coming. In school we set goals around grades we needed to achieve, or sports and other activities. As adults we’re constantly motivated by career goals, relationship goals, fitness goals and just general #lifegoals. We might see something we want, or aspire to change our lives in some way and so we set a goal for ourselves to reach. Goal setting is easy, but how about what it takes to get us to actually achieve them? I personally love setting goals because I love the idea of being able to do something new, or improve upon something I already do. I get excited and make lists and mark down dates in my daily planner, thinking about how great it’s going to be when I’ve perfected my social media planning or written x number of blog posts. Or how happy I’ll be when I can finally do that pull-up I’ve been working on for months (really) or how mind blowing it will be when I finally take that little mini vacation I’ve been dreaming about forever. Or even how nice it would be to say one fluent sentence in Spanish like I practiced on Duolingo for five minutes in January…
For me, this is what’s challenging. I’ll get excited about these goals and think of them as “future” things that I’m going to learn, do and achieve. And I’ll probably even work on them hard at first, and some of them (like my pull-up) I’ll actually work on consistently. But to be honest, a lot of my goals end up getting shelved after a little while because I get so caught up in everyday busyness that I put them off for next week, and the week after and then the week after that, until they end up becoming some dusty remnant of a nice idea I once had and never really put into motion. If I flip back through my day planner, I’ll see the same goals written out every few weeks as they pop back up on my OMG THIS IS IMPORTANT radar and then shuffled back slowly to the back of the shelf yet again.
I realized that goals are important, yes – but what’s more important is taking action. Putting those goals into motion right now is the only way to make sure they not only stay firmly on top of your to-do list, but actually influence that list so that everything you’re doing ties in to helping you achieve your goals. And while they may seem intimidating and sometimes hugely overwhelming, every goal can be achieved one step at a time. Once I learned this, the whole process became a lot easier. I now break all of my goals down into smaller, more achievable steps. I’ll write out the bottom line – the thing I want to achieve – across the top of the page, and then outline the steps I need to take in order to make it happen. I find this super helpful because now I know exactly what I need to do and in what order. I can also keep track of how far along I am and make note of which steps are more challenging or time consuming than others. Also, there is no satisfaction like checking things off a list, at least for me, so taking care of one step helps motivate and encourage me towards achieving the next.
Clear goal setting has helped me achieve lots of things I’m proud of. In the last two years, I cleaned up my diet and finally got into shape like I had wanted to forever. I talk more about that here if you’re curious! It also helped me turn my dream of being my own boss into reality, and what a sweet reality it is because I absolutely love what I do. But there are many more things I’m still working on, like being better at scheduling my time, or planning ahead, or the dreaded budgeting and managing of money which I am really, really not good at.
But hey, I have a strategy that’s worked in other areas of my life, so it’s just a matter of applying it with this stuff, right? We’ll see how it goes!