3 Secrets To Achieving Your Goals
I have spent many years writing out personal goals that I have never achieved! I could probably win an award for “most diligent goal writer” if there is such a thing.
All the dreaming and planning did not make a huge difference to how I actually lived my day to day life. Some reasons for that were circumstances outside of my control. Chronic health issues, demands of caring for babies and toddlers within a short space of time, and more.
What I have learnt since is that I could have set a few personal goals and made progress to achieving them despite my stressful circumstances. Here are 3 things I have learned that make a big difference to setting and achieving your goals.
Secret 1. Own Your Goals
It is very difficult to successfully achieve personal goals, if you don’t care a great deal about the outcome. Feeling like you “should” lose weight or you “should” declutter your home this year are not good motivators for change.
The secret to achieving your goals is to choose one that that has an outcome that is very meaningful to you. The stronger and more compelling your why, the more persistent you will be in your efforts towards that goal. When things get difficult you will be less likely to give up.
For example; people who have lost a loved one to preventable diseases will often have a compelling reason to make significant changes in their own lifestyle and health.
Now days I don’t set any goals unless I have several good reasons to put my time and effort towards achieving that goal.
A great example of this is when I decided to do the crazy thing of pulling out my old kitchen and installing a new one by myself, I had several strong why’s to motivate me.
That included increasing the resale value of my house significantly as well as an urgent need to update the 30 year old kitchen.
Once I had gutted the kitchen and I was doing dishes in the bath tub, I had further motivation to install and finish the new kitchen. Living without a kitchen was truly uncomfortable!!
Owning my goal of having a renovated kitchen got me started when I had never done anything like that before and kept me going when the project was heaps more work than I anticipated.
Application: Write down as many reasons as you can why achieving a specific goal is important to you. Own your goals!
Secret 2. Only Set A Few Goals
I usually find the process of goal setting exciting because I love spending time imagining what could be. Oh, the possibilities!
However the effort of making things happen is often a different story for me. In the past, I would end up burning out because I would be trying to work on so many ideas at once. Ok, I still have that tendency!
Too many goals equals overwhelm!
When you feel overwhelmed, not only do you lose enthusiasm but you are less likely to achieve your personal goals.
The secret is to set less goals!
You might choose to focus on about 2 to 3 personal goals for the year. It might be more or less for you, depending on your season of life, your personal responsibilities and the amount of support and resources you have in your life.
If you are in a really challenging season of life, like living with a chronic illness, I would encourage you to choose even 1 goal to focus on rather than nothing at all. Keep it doable!
I know from personal experience that making progress on our most meaningful goals increases our sense of well being and happiness. When you are going through a difficulty and stressful season, and especially an extended one, maximizing your well being and happiness is crucial.
Application: Simplify your list of goals. Instead of looking at what you want to cut out, consider if you could only accomplish 2 or 3 things for the year, what would you want that to be. What matters most to you!
Secret 3. Write SMART Goals
You are more likely to be motivated to achieve personal goals that are clear and well thought out. The SMART ancroynm gives a practical framework for turning your ideas into an end result.
Specific – A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general or vague goal.
Measurable – Making progress you can see through tracking, is motivating and it helps you to put continued effort in to reach the final goal.
Achievable – You can achieve almost any goal when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps.
Relevant – A goal that is personally interesting to you will be more motivating to achieve than something that isn’t.
Time bound – Creating a time frame or deadline creates a practical sense of urgency and increases the likely hood of completing your goal.
What is one of your personal goals for this year?