We all know how exciting new years resolutions can be only to have our motivation dwindle unexpectedly. These 5 goal achieving hacks have all helped me with achieving my goals more efficiently and sticking to them in the first place. These apply to any goal and anytime of year!
In my previous blog post and video from last week I shared a handful of powerful mindsets for success. In my opinion, the mindsets that we have about our goals are just as important as the steps we take. But the steps we take are pretty darn important too.
I think we all know what it’s like though, especially this time of year, to experience a ton of initial excitement about a new goal or resolution only to have that excitement wear off. And we all know what happens next. Struggling to finish what we started and subsequently, feeling like a complete failure.
But I’ve learned a thing or two over the years on how to reach my more efficiently, and most importantly, how to stick to them in the first place. I’ve also learned that we absolutely can reach our goals. Despite how we may feel about them along the way.
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Define Action Steps
All it means when you “define” your actions steps is that you don’t want to be vague. Instead, we want to be specific about the steps we’re going to take by creating measurable elements.
“I want to eat healthier” can be defined by saying “I’m going to cut back on potato chips and bring 2 pieces of fruit with me to work each day this month”
“I want to grow my blog” can become “I’m going to spend 2 hours a week writing blog posts
“I want to improve my relationship with my mom” can become “I’m going to call my mom every other Tuesday and ask her how her day was.”
One of my goals for 2019 is to reduce my waste. I’ve defined this by no longer using plastic produce bags, switching to bamboo toothbrushes and a few other things that you can read about in my post on 5 Ways I’m Reducing Waste in 2019.
Being specific like this gives your brain a clear idea of what to do. Of course, you can get even more specific than the examples I shared. In fact, the more specific, the better!
Be Realistic + Make It Achievable
One of the biggest mistakes we make when trying to achieve a goal is creating very high, unrealistic standards for ourselves. Things like completely overhauling our diet, deciding we’re going to workout 7 days a week or start waking up at 5 o’clock every morning.
Remember that it’s easier to adhere to smaller changes or intentions rather than really big ones.
I just finished an audiobook called Mini Habits by Stephen Guise and he talks about how “mini habits” are very small positive behaviours that you force yourself to do everyday. But… they’re so small that there’s little to no resistance in doing them. This gets us into the habit of making the desired changes and gets us onto the path of achieving our goals much easier.
Getting started isn’t always the easiest either. Life would be so much better if we just felt motivated to do things all the time, wouldn’t it? But I’ve learned, as I’ve also learned from the audiobook, that sometimes we have to accept the fact that we’re not always going to feel motivated. And instead, we need to use our willpower to get things going.
Taking those first mini steps toward our goals puts us in motion and once we get started it’s almost as hard to stop as it is to keep going. This is what I consider a sort of life hack for creating motivation for ourselves rather than waiting to feel motivated. Because motivation, as most of us know, isn’t always reliable.
Schedule It: Calendar Blocking
I’ve recently gotten into time or calendar blocking and it’s not only really useful, but it’s eye opening to be able to visually see where we’re allocating our time.
Scheduling tasks means determining when and where you’re going to take specific actions to reach your goals, whether working on your blog, going grocery shopping, meal prepping healthy food, or going for a walk.
Scheduling has been shown to increase our chances for success because it becomes concrete to us. Think of it like any other commitment you’d make with someone: when you say you’ll meet your friend for lunch, you do. When you have a dentist appointment, you jiggle your schedule to attend it.
When you add a goal task to your calendar, you’re much more likely to commit to it.
I’ll admit, calendar blocking itself was super confusing to me and that alone overwhelmed me before I understood how simple it is. I highly recommend Gillian Perkins’ video tutorial on how to get started.
Having a support system, even if it’s one person, can speed up the rate at which your reach your goals. Whether from your partner, friends, mom, or a coach. It’s important to have somebody that we can turn to for support and this can be as simple as communicating what your goals are and asking for support from somebody, or taking the liberty to join a group or club.
Remember too that we become most like who we surround ourselves with. It’s a lot harder to follow through on our goals when we have people around us who encourage the opposite. Likewise, it’s easier when people cheer us on or have similar goals.
Having a support system means 3 things:
- being held accountable
- having regular doses of encouragement
- access to a fresh perspective if you start feeling overwhelmed, are being hard on yourself, or need to bounce ideas off of someone.
This is a simple one, but an effective one. Whether it’s vision boards, sticky notes, journaling, or encouraging conversations, remind yourself regularly of why your goal is important to you and why you created in the first place.
Our reasons behind doing something is what gives us power and purpose and it can be really helpful to be reminded of those reasons on a regular basis.
I hope you found these strategies useful. Each of them have been huge game-changers for me over the years! And remember, the new year isn’t the only time to focus on achieving our goals. Anytime of year is the best time! And for a lot of us, yesterday was the best time to start 😉
Come back to this post or watch the video if you need a boost of encouragement on your goal-achieving journey. And I’d love to know…
What’s one strategy that has helped you stick to your goals?