The best advice I ever received in terms of achieving goals is to work backward.
Say you’re planning a road trip from Chicago to Miami. Chicago being the starting point and Miami the destination.
You look at a map and identify the paths you can take to reach your destination. As you start analyzing the paths, you notice that some paths will get you there faster than others.
So, what do you do? Ideally, you’d like to get there as soon as possible, so you choose the fastest path.
This analogy can be applied when setting goals. However, it may not always be as simple as choosing a path—you need the motivation to stick to them.
How Do I Start Setting Goals?
One way to start goal-setting is by seeing the bigger picture.
Say you want to lose weight 20 pounds. This is a big goal.
In order to make sure you reach your target, you need to simplify the goal into something like 2 pounds per week.
If you’re persistent with your diet and exercise, you can lose 20 pounds in 10 weeks.
Once you know you need to lose 2 pounds per week in order to accomplish your main goal, you can break that goal down even further.
In this case, you would plan out meals, prepare them, and have them ready when it’s time to eat.
Then, you’d set separate goals for fitness.
An example would be to run 1 mile in 2o minutes for the first two weeks. As you get acclimated to that goal, you can set a new fitness goal to complete 1 mile in 15 minutes for the following 2 weeks.
Do you see what’s happening here?
As you reach your incremental goals, you adjust your target so you can eventually reach your ultimate goal of losing 20 pounds.
This method helps you achieve your goals in small steps so you don’t get overwhelmed by the big-picture-goal of losing 20 pounds.
9 Steps to Setting Goals You’ll See Through to Completion
- Decide what you want to achieve
- Write down your goals where you’ll see them often. Use technology to your advantage and start using apps and/or a calendar. You also want to be as specific as possible.
- Time matters! You can easily set goals, but if you don’t set deadlines you won’t be able to stay on schedule to actually achieve them.
- Break down your goals into smaller chunks. This will help you get more clarity and make it easier to accomplish them.
- Plan your first step. Once you know what you want to achieve, make a plan of how you’re going to achieve it. This may take a while the first few times, but it’s important to have a plan and write it out because it gives you a vision and direction.
- Make goal-setting a habit. Once you have a plan, you need to incorporate it into part of your daily or weekly routine. Creating habits will result in change. If you don’t do anything different, change will not happen.
- Know why you’ve set out to reach this goal. Your “why” is just as important as your “what”. This is going to be a motivating factor so you stay on track in achieving your goal.
- Don’t give up. It is a cliché phrase, but if you stop, you lose everything you’ve worked so hard for. Don’t let small failures get to your head. Sometimes things may not go according to plan and that’s okay. You’re human and may lose focus and drive, but always see the big picture and remind yourself about your why so you can get back on track.
- Don’t forget to celebrate! If it’s all work and no play, then where is the joy? If you’re making progress, it’s okay to celebrate once in a while to give yourself a break or a “breather”. This is also a great time to reflect on your hard work and see how far you’ve come.
Now that you know how to plan out your goals and break them down into more doable chunks, why don’t you try setting one goal you’ll accomplish in the next 30 days.
Remember to break it out into sub-goals, and break your sub-goals out into actionable steps.