Successful goal setting is a key for leading a fulfilling life. Setting goals & taking action to achieve these goals is what sets apart mediocre life from an amazing one. Of course, since we’re on a journey of self-love here, we are naturally aiming towards extraordinary life we know we deserve.
Therefore, becoming a pro goal setter + achiever is something we must work on. As everything else that matters in life, becoming better with setting goals & following through is a skill. Which means it can be learned.
Many people get lost in the inner (or outer) conversation of “I just need to stay motivated”, “I lost my motivation”, “Why can’t I stay motivated for longer periods of time”.. I urge you to forget motivation.
Motivation is a wonderful little friend when it shows up, but we cannot count on motivation to keep us going. Because it’s not always there. All of us have days when we feel like staying in bed & doing absolutely nothing (and it’s okay to sometimes do just that!). When this happens, motivation goes out of the window.
If we don’t know how to set goals & achieve them, this is the moment of our doom. That’s the day when we decide to stay in bed, wasting our time feeling guilty – and possibly going to the fridge to repress our guilt. None of these behaviours will help us in any way.
So, what to do instead?
I say, forget motivation. Embrace it when it’s there, but don’t rely on it.
What works much better is having a clear plan & schedule. This helps because it eliminates the decision making process.
For example, you want to go to the gym more often to be strong in your body & experience all the wonderful benefits of exercising.
You’re super motivated when you get your gym membership & you feel like you’re going to conquer the world and can’t wait to go & get all strong & fit.
The first week you’re up every day at 5am, running to the gym. Super exciting.
Then something happens & you just don’t feel like getting up. It’s a rainy day, bed is so comfortable + warm. You peek outside & see poor trees bending, hear the wind & raindrops hitting your window.
You tell yourself that you’ll just go later & tuck yourself back in the warm embrace of comfortable bed.
Later you get all caught up in daily adventures, in the afternoon you’re tired. Then you tell yourself skipping this one day won’t matter.
Tomorrow, something else comes up.
Soon, excited supergirl who ran to the gym first thing in the morning becomes a professional excuse maker + self-blamer.
Why this happens? Because you cannot rely on motivation to keep you going. Shit will inevitably come up, you won’t feel your best every day. Rainy days will come up, bed will become more comfortable than ever & it’s much more fun to go out with friends than sweating your ass of in the gym after a long day.
Solution for this is focusing on the plan + schedule.
Successful goal setting includes a couple of steps:
First of all, you need to tune in & ask yourself what are you desires. Best way to do this is to meditate, visualise what would you like your future to look like, whether it’s in the next 6 months or 5 years.
Consider the things you’d like to achieve, who you’d like to become, how would you like to feel & what would you like to be doing.
Allow yourself to visualise freely – something unexpected may come up.
Don’t push yourself or try to figure it all out right away, take time to tune into your desires.
When you’re done, write down as much as possible about that next version of yourself who achieved all you just visualized.
What’s she doing, who is she, what’s she like?
What goals do come up? Who do you need to become? What are the priorities? Why do you want to achieve these goals?
This is the part where you’ll usually come up with goals you need to achieve to become the next version of yourself.
From all that came up, pick the most important goals you will be focusing on. I like focusing on the goals that are a) important + urgent & b) important, but not urgent. These are the goals that will move us forward, towards our greatest life vision.
This is where we plan actions to take & schedule them. Crucial for success!
Now that you’ve identified goals that are most important for you to focus on, reverse engineer them – what are the smallest steps you can take every single day to move towards your goals?
When? How can you eliminate as much decision making as possible?
Back to the gym example, let’s say you decided you want to love yourself by focusing on going to the gym to get strong & healthy.
Schedule it, make it an absolute priority. Remember that if you do not make yourself a priority, nobody else will. There’s nobody to take resposibility for your goals except for you.
Instead of saying you’ll go to the gym & letting the motivation decide when, you’re going to plan it & schedule it.
Decide exactly which days & when you’ll be in the gym. Make it reasonable – unreasonable goals are self-defeating.
Instead of saying “I’ll be in the gym 6 days a week for 2 hours”, make it “3 days a week for an hour”. Schedule the exact days & hours. Make sure to have your bag ready at these days – you can set a reminder for that too. Having everything prepared makes it much harder to say no to action.
Do not let your vision depend on making unnecessary decisions, willpower or motivation.
By this time, you know what you want, why do you want it & how you’re going to get there. Next step is taking action.
When your reminder/alarm goes on, you get up & move.
No decision, no thinking now or later, no willpower. Reminder goes on, you go.
Of course, at the beginning this will be hard, but what we’re aiming for is to create a habit of success. Trust me, if you follow through the first couple of times, it will get much harder to say no – “now that I’ve been taking action so awesomely all this time, I can’t possibly skip!”. And just like that, you’ve embodied the better version of yourself. Imagine what this can do to your confidence 🙂
Another trick that could help is putting pluses on the calendar, or little stars – when you see a line forming there from all the times you took action on your plan, it’ll be much harder to break that line.
5. Track + celebrate
Hardest part for me personally – tracking my progress, and especially celebrating it. Getting caught up in doing more more more is incredibly easy, but we must take time to stop & look hwo far we’ve gone.
Sure, there’s always more to achieve – it’s our human nature to strive for more. However, without rewarding ourselves, no matter what goals we achieve & no matter how much progress we make, we won’t be joyful.
If we skip on celebrating our successes, what’s the point of them?
I’d recommend taking time every evening to check in with yourself & seeing what did you do great that day when it comes to achieving your goals, and to recognize things you can do better.
Wonderful tracking + celebrating technique is also rating yourself at the end of the week. Then you can see how you move forward (which will give you motivation :)) & you can relax and do something to celebrate every Sunday.
Also, Sundays are great for setting intentions for next week – and when you see how much you’ve achieved the week before, you’ll feel excited about what you can achieve next week.
Remember not to blame yourself or be negative if you happen to realize that previous week wasn’t as good as you’ve hoped for – that is exactly why we’re tracking our progress, so that we can see if we need to improve some parts of our schedule + plan. Challenges are teachers & failure exists only in our minds. Therefore, there’s never anything to feel bad about. Just an experience to learn how to get even better.
This is how you create success.
How do you set goals? Do you follow through successfuly?
Lots of love,