Living the life you truly want may sound fluffy and existential to you, but I promise it does not have to be. I’m going to take you through step by step on how to start really living instead of being buffeted about by life. I’ll show you the 5 secrets to setting achievable goals. Consider this a crash course in how to start getting *hit done!
Setting Achievable Goals
What is it they say? “A goal without a plan is just a dream”? Here’s a key thing to remember – without a solid plan in place, you can make goals until you’re blue in the face, without ever getting anywhere.
I know this all too well – until a year or two ago I would write goals down and say affirmations all the time but I wasn’t moving from the starting spot. You see I’d put those pieces of paper in a drawer and forget about them. The affirmations would fizzle out after a day or two.
Eventually, I gave up. You see, I had nothing in place to help me really ACT on those goals, and the more I failed at reaching them, the less I believed I could. I felt like a big fat failure every time this would happen, so I just…stopped.
I’ve always been a big fan of ‘life hacking’, and basically anything that helps to make my life better EASILY. So when I came across the book The Power of Habit I was blown away. Here was the short, sharp, shock to the system I needed. I wasn’t failing because I sucked, it was because I was going against HABIT!
Habits + Systems = Crushing Those Goals!
Let’s say you want to lose weight (don’t we all?). You’re going to need to do things in order to meet that goal, like exercise more, stick to a diet plan. The want is your goal, and the things that you do (or try to do) to get there are the system.
Now let me ask you something – If you ignored your goal to lose weight, and only concentrated on exercising every day and eating better, would you still lose weight? Of course you would. So here is the key – focus on the system and not on the goal. Make those little things you do regularly in order to achieve your goals, into habits.
Here are some systems-based ways to find out what you really want to achieve:
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Framed. These are goals that are easily identified and you’ll know when you’ve reached them! So make sure the goal you set is specific enough to identify and measurable enough to know when the goal has been completed.
Grab my free Smart Goals Template below for some handy fill-in-the-blank examples 👇
Get my Smart Goals Template, Absolutely Free!
Try the 30-60-365 Plan which is a plan for setting short-range, mid-range, and long-range goals. Attack your goals in time-framed bits.
Try Tony Robbins’ Rapid Planning Method: Ask yourself three questions “What do I want?” and “Why do I want it?” and then ask yourself “What is my massive action plan?”
Goal-Setting is a Learning Process
Learning goals allow you to focus on what has been learned and where changes can be made, rather than on performance which may have fallen short, which leads to de-motivation. If you always focus on what you learned, you can never go wrong. Goal setting is, after all, a self-improvement learning process.
When setting your goals it’s important to make sure the goals you set are achievable, yet challenging. There is power in a precise goal. For example, instead of saying “I will make more money”, try “I will make X amount more monthly”. According to the Psychological principles of Goal Setting Theory, people are more likely to achieve goals that are both clear and complex at the same time.
Positive intentions are nothing without behaviours to back them up. This concept is very simple but very effective. You might just say “I want to achieve (blank) goal” but try this instead: Think in an “if, then” form – “If (blank) happens, then I will (blank). Don’t just rely on your intentions, but follow them up with a behaviour.
How to Figure out What You Want
It sounds simple enough, right? Most of us never actually decide what we want out of life. We just go through the motions and assume that we have no power to decide what happens to us. So many of us aren’t truly following our passions and living our lives to our fullest potential. So, if you feel this way, it’s time to decide what you want.
Start with some self-awareness. Review this past year and ask yourself some questions. Meditation can help you gain some clarity – What successes did you have and why were they meaningful to you? Do you have any regrets? What obstacles were faced? Did any goals go unmet? What are you happy with right now? What do you want to improve? Was there a recurring theme to last year?
Asking questions is the key to acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness is a powerful tool for confidence in your goal setting ability. Take your time, and make sure to write down your thoughts to engrain your goals into your subconscious mind.
(I’ve made a handy workbook for you to use to help you get started. You can download it at the bottom of this post.)
What do you really want? Think about who these goals will affect. We all need a “why”. Create a measurable and achievable goal with a big enough “why”. Your “why” must be challenging and exciting enough to keep you motivated when you feel like giving up. Decide that you mean business!
There are six areas of life that we commonly want to improve – Finances, career, relationships/love, entertainment, health, and personal growth are the top areas for improvement. So ask yourself, which areas are you lacking in? What areas are you striving for?
Note down those areas in your life you’d like to change. For example, do you wish you were more productive at work? Do you want to lose that last 20lbs? Make sure these goals are aligned with the things that matter most to you, so you will feel a genuine motivation to achieve them.
5 SECRETS TO SETTING ACHIEVABLE GOALS
1. Think BIG but Achievable
You might as well go all in, right? You are powerful enough to do great things! Think about goals which could move you immensely toward overall goals and change your life significantly. THINK BIG! Instead of running a 5k; lose 35lbs or eliminate the need for medication entirely. Goals with life-changing implications are the goals you want to achieve!
Ensure your goal is achievable – Wanting to raise your income is one thing, but expecting to double your salary overnight probably isn’t feasible! Take small steps that will lead to big achievements over time. Reach high, but maintain goals that are realistic to you.
You can set big goals as long as you are mentally and physically able to achieve them, you are committed and prepared to do the work the goal requires.
Give yourself a time-frame – Timely goals keep you on track and motivated. Set a duration for the length of your goal. For best results, people tend to respond to deadlines and a sense of urgency. Put your goals in motion with a timeline!
2. Work Backwards
List your overall life goals. These might seem lofty and overwhelming right now, so cut yourself a break. Create a 5-year plan and focus on the next 5 years of your life and what you will achieve. Then, narrow it down to this year. What will you achieve in the next 365 days? Continue narrowing down how you will achieve your goals during this month and each day of the month.
Make a bullet point list of your big-picture and proximal (1 – 6 month) goals and underneath note down all the steps you will need to take, and people you will need to connect with in order to reach them. Create micro goals for each larger goal that are regularly achievable and then ask yourself what do you need in order to achieve each goal? Remember to take baby steps!
3. Practice Daily Habits
Use the free planner included in this post to brainstorm your answers from above and write down your goals, action plan, and purpose and how you can create habits around them. Daily habits correspond to the realization of your dreams! You cannot reach your goals without the proper habits. Habits are essential to your success. Create daily habits to ensure the successful completion of your goals. Here are a few suggestions:
Commit to ink in a journal or bullet journal. Journal writing is a powerful habit that can keep you on track.
Add gratitude. Practising daily gratitude is a compelling concept for your mind. Gratitude helps you focus on the positive and continue on your journey. You have unlimited things to be grateful for, so let them be your inspiration.
Morning Routine – Practice this morning routine daily. Use the six areas of life you have reflected on (finances, career, relationships/love, entertainment, health, and personal growth) to assess how each is going.
Use mental rehearsal daily: Visualize yourself doing and being as if you are already there. Did you know your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what you visualize and reality? Imagine yourself already having completed your goals.
4. Review Regularly
Assess yourself on a monthly/weekly/daily/yearly basis. What successes did you have? Quick wins build motivation! Celebrate those. Periodic reviews help to align yourself with your goals and see what areas need attention. Be grateful for what is working well, and improve the areas you are lacking.
You can try a weekly plan too – reflect on last week, thinking about what went well (your wins) and what didn’t go to plan, any significant events that occurred, and your plan for this coming week. What did you learn from last week that will help you do better this week?
5. Stay Motivated
Achieving goals is rarely a linear process. There will be rough days to get through! The real success is overcoming them. You can use these concepts and ideas to keep yourself on the road to success.
Create a vision board: The subconscious mind thinks in pictures. Use pictures to remind yourself of HOW you want to FEEL. Visuals are a great way to see yourself already in the vision you are striving for.
Read or write affirmations daily: Affirmations are powerful! Use them to remind yourself about your goals.
Mark reminders on your phone. It’s easy to set up recurring messages for yourself every day. Positive messages or prompts to complete are a great way to keep your mind on your goals. Set a morning reminder and an evening reminder to start, add more reminders if you need the extra motivation.
Make a review of yesterday: It’s really important to remind yourself how well you’re doing! The best practice is to review your wins every day. This gives you motivation and a reason to continue.
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Go Forth and Slay Those Goals
Now that you’ve absorbed this information, put it into action! Use the workbook and get started on chasing those dreams of yours goal-slayer 😀
Change is something we’re all afraid of, and you have made the decision to start. So, remember why you started. A year from now, you will be in a better place, and if you have done the work, somewhere in the future you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come!
Hit reply below and tell me your goals – what’s the ONE thing you’re going to focus on this month/ this year/ or even just this week?
Get my 4-Page Workbook on how to Set Goals You Can Actually Achieve, Absolutely Free!