Everyone, at one time or another, has procrastinated about something they know they should be doing, or want to do, yet so many times we just give up, or get caught up in the general distractions of life and our goals are often seen as an afterthought.
To be consistent in our actions and achieve those things, we need a plan….
What follows is a tried and tested formula for successful goal planning and I encourage you to take a few minutes to follow the steps that will change your life.
1. Commit fully to your written, achievable goals.
No matter what your goal is, whether it’s making a broad lifestyle change such as eating a healthy diet, or something specific like earning enough money from your passion to create a lifestyle business, you firstly need to set specific targets that are measurable. If you have a vague target, then you’ll never know when you hit it. You’ll also need to make sure they’re achievable.
Big, long term goals are what drives us to improve every day, but if they seem to far in the future, you’ll soon lose that drive and procrastination sets in.
So, if your goals are long term (more than about 6 months from completion), break them down into smaller ‘steps’ that can be achieved along the way. Not only will this keep you motivated, but every time you complete one of your steps, the success you feel will build you self-confidence.
Once you’ve got your goals (or steps) written down, beneath each one, write down all of the benefits you’ll get from achieving it and MORE IMPORTANTLY, all the pain that will come from not achieving it, or giving up.
Next, make sure you leave this list somewhere that you’ll see it everyday. The old saying “Out of sight, out of mind” is very true and if you write your list in a book, or in a computer file, chances are good that the goals will drift from your conscious and before you know it, you’ll be wondering why nothing’s changed.
2. Make sure you allocate the time necessary to succeed.
Sometimes, a goal can be reached just be changing your current approach and it doesn’t require any additional time, but for most situations, you’ll need to make adjustments.
Let’s say your goal is to write a novel, but you work 40-50 hours per week and never seem to have enough free time to just sit down and write. Well, maybe you could get up an hour earlier every day and use that time to write, or commit to spending 4 hours at the weekend, etc.
The one thing that’s constant for everyone in this life, is the number of hours in the day. So, it might be a good idea to make your first goal “decide which distracting item(s) I can do without each week, to make ‘X’ hours available to me” If you don’t allocate the time to succeed you’ll never reach your goals.
3. Keep track of your successes.
In almost every case, it’s beneficial to break down your goals into achievable actions. Now, I realise that this isn’t always an exact science. Things change, goal posts move and sometimes, something that seemed like an important aspect to achieving you goal turns out to be irrelevant.
Make a list of areas/tasks/actions that you can take, in order to reach your final goal. Start by brainstorming everything that you COULD do, even if a few of your ideas seem silly, or unnecessary, you can always throw away the chaff and keep the corn later on. Just start by listing everything.
Once completed, you can use this list as you ‘To-Do’ list and it gives you something to mark off as you complete them, again, building your confidence and keeping you motivated.
Do you have any tricks, or advice you’d add to this list?
Let us know in the comments.