If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
As the designated Monica Geller and Amy Santiago in every friend group, I’ve always lived by this mantra. Nothing satisfies me more than flipping through a well-thought-out game plan inside a thick detailed binder with colored tabs. Some might say that I’ve already been planning even before I could walk.
With this in mind, I’ve had most of my goals accomplished by creating a definite action plan that can guide me every step of the way. Nevertheless, I do admit that there are times when I’ve caught myself overplanning. To some extent, this could be considered as procrastination coupled with denial. Usually, this happens when the goal’s particularly important and I’m too overwhelmed to start. I’m sure a lot of you have felt the same way too.
With only a few months left for this year, you might still be far from achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself. Even if you’ve already created a plan, there are still countless factors on why you’re not achieving any of your goals. You might be setting an unrealistic timeline, lacking a proper plan, or even just straight out unmotivated.
With all the goal setting tips out there, it all boils down to one simple advice: just ask yourself.
Realistically Achieve Your Goals By Answering These Questions
1. What do I want?
The very first thing to consider when setting goals is thinking about what you truly desire. Whether it would be walking 8000 steps a day, drafting the first chapter of your book, or even just finishing a show—there’s honestly no right or wrong answer.
Write down everything you want to achieve, big or small. It also doesn’t matter if it’s easily achievable or not. As long as you want to attain that specific goal, make sure to transfer this idea from mind to paper so you can have a concrete idea of what you really want.
Once you’ve created a complete list that details all the goals you want to achieve, it’s a lot easier to pinpoint which ones matter to you the most.
2. Why do I want it?
“There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it. – Napoleon Hill
If you’ve ever wondered why most people rarely follow through, it’s usually because they’re lacking a sense of purpose. Without this, you won’t have a clear direction and you’ll end up circling your goal instead of chasing it head on.
Surely, there must be a reason why you’re so keen on achieving your goals. Make sure to write down the reasons why you’re pursuing them in the first place. Go beyond the vanity mindset that’s solely focused on money and popularity. Search deeper and ask yourself how it positively impacts your life.
Once you’ve properly determined your purpose, you’ll notice that your actions slowly help you move closer to your vision. You’ll be more motivated to follow through and you’ll feel genuine satisfaction every time you cross off a task on your to do list.
More than this, you can easily refer back to your purpose to stay on track if you’re on the verge of giving up. If you do reach the point of burnout, it’s also going to be a lot easier for you to recover because you’ve created a strong foundation with your purpose.
3. When do I want it?
The worst mistake you can probably commit during goal planning is setting an unrealistic timeline. It’s totally understandable that you want to accomplish your goals right away but unless you have extraordinary means of getting there, it simply isn’t going to happen.
If your goal is to set up an online clothes shop in three months, you have to set a deadline each month to finish certain aspects like operations, logistics, and marketing. Allocate one main goal with subtasks each week to create a streamlined plan of the entire process.
Since most goals require careful planning and consistent execution, you also have to consider your current situation in life. Give yourself the right amount of pressure with deadlines so you can force yourself to follow through. Nevertheless, be lenient enough with your schedule that it doesn’t compete much with your other responsibilities.
4. Where should I start?
Now that you’ve figured out most of the basics, the only thing left to think about is where you have to start. For this, you have to create at least 3-4 actionable tasks that can lead you to achieving your goal.
If it makes it any easier, you can think of the big picture first and move backwards. Let’s say your end goal is to move into an apartment in NYC. To be able to do that, you need at least $2000 of flowing income per month if you want to keep a tiny room in the city. For you to have this amount of money, you’ll probably have to do a side hustle aside from your main source of income.
Venturing into drop shipping, monetizing a blog through affiliate marketing, or selling your art on Etsy are all good ways of getting extra income. If you’re artistically inclined, you’ll probably excel more at the last option. Before you can sell your work, you have to create a few samples first and build your online presence.
From that train of thought, you’ll be able to create a concrete hierarchy of tasks that you’ll have to accomplish to meet your end goal. For this specific scenario, these are the first few tasks you’ll have to do first.
- Create artworks
- Decide on a branding strategy
- Establish your online presence by creating social media accounts
- Open an Etsy store
Having a linear set of actionable tasks laid out in front of you is better than listing down tasks as they pop into your head. This way, you won’t be too overwhelmed and you’ll actually feel like you’re making more progress.
Bonus Tips for Following Through With Your Goals
1. Constantly Remind Yourself
Forgetting the purpose is a common excuse that people use whenever they don’t follow through with their goals. To avoid this, it’s better to remind yourself all the time by writing it down somewhere you see often.
Grab a calendar that you refer to often and list down your weekly tasks so you’ll feel pressured to finish your tasks. If you’re feeling extra creative, you can create a vision board that can inspire you to keep hustling. You can also design a 1600×900 px wallpaper on Canva or Adobe Photoshop to remind you of your goals whenever you open your phone.
2. Have an Accountability Partner
A person to rely on is a good thing to have if you’re working on a goal that challenges you. If you’re doing it alone, you might have a hard time following through especially when you’re struggling.
For it to be mutually beneficial, you can both work on different goals and assign a day when you can check in on each other’s progress. At the same time, it’s going to be like you both have your own personal cheerleader who can help you achieve your desired end result.
3. Reward Yourself
The simple act of rewarding yourself releases dopamine, a hormone that contributes feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. Since you’re motivated by the rewards that await you, you’ll be more optimistic and driven in terms of achieving your goals.
You’re free to choose your form of reward whether it’s an episode of your favorite show or that food item you’ve been craving a lot recently. As long as it motivates you to work towards your goal, that should be enough.
What goal are you working on right now? Let me know in the comments below!
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