I noted in my last podcast that you have more time that you realise. Now it’s time to make the most of that time by setting yourself goals you want to achieve and doing the hard work to achieve them! The best way to achieve your long term goal is understand WHAT you want to achieve and WHY you want it. Will it help you? Will it help your business? Is it good for your mental health? Will is lay a solid foundation for your future?
Once you know the WHAT and WHY you need to look hard and deep into the HOW. What is your goal? And be honest with yourself on what you would need to have in place in year 5 to achieve that. Write it down, rip it apart and make a play on all the tiny little steps you will need to take and micro milestones you will need to achieve in week 1, month 1 and year 1 to achieve this. Build one step at a time, and you will get there.
How To Set Goals and Achieve Them
- Decide. Think of something you want to do or work towards. It doesn’t matter what, as long as it’s something you want to do – ideally something you’re interested in or feel excited by. It should be something you want to do for its own sake not for something or someone else. It can be a big thing or a small thing – sometimes it is easier to get going with something small. And it often helps if it’s something that’s just a little bit beyond what you currently can do – goals that stretch us can be motivating!
- Write it down. Carefully. Writing down our goals increases our chances of sticking with them. Write down how you will know you have reached your goals and when you’d like to have achieved it by. Ask yourself: what it will ‘look’ like and how will you feel when you’ve done it? How does it connect to who or what you value in your life? Describe your goal in specific terms and timescales e.g. ‘I want to plant lettuces, carrots and peas in the empty patch in my garden by the end of May’ rather than ‘I want to do some gardening.’ Write your goals in terms of what you want, not what you don’t want. For example: ‘I want to be able to wear my favourite jeans again’, rather than ‘I don’t want to be over-weight anymore’.
- Tell someone. Telling someone we know about our goals also seems to increase the likelihood that we will stick at them.
- Break your goal down. This is especially important for big goals. Think about the smaller goals that are steps on the way to achieving your bigger aim. Sometimes our big goals are a bit vague, like ‘I want to be healthier’. Breaking these down helps us be more specific. So a smaller goal might be ‘go running regularly’ or even ‘to be able to run around the park in 20 minutes without stopping’. Write down your smaller goals and try to set some dates to do these by too. Having several smaller goals makes each of them a bit easier and gives us a feeling of success along the way, which also makes it more likely that we’ll stay on track towards our bigger goal.
- Plan your first step. An ancient Chinese proverb says that the journey of 1000 miles starts with one step. Even if your goal isn’t to walk 1000 miles, thinking about the first step on the way will really help to get you started. Even if you don’t know where to start there’s no excuse – your first step could be to research ‘how to…’ on the internet or think of people you could ask or to get a book on the subject from the library. Then think of your next step…and the next…
- Keep going. Working towards our goals can sometimes be difficult and frustrating – so we need to persevere. If a step you’re doing isn’t working, think of something else you could try that still moves you forward, even a tiny bit. If you’re struggling, ask people you know for their ideas on what you could do. They may help you see a different way. Thinking about different ways of reaching our goals makes it more likely we’ll be successful. If you’re really struck – take a break and then re-read the goal you wrote down when you started. If you need to adjust your goal – that’s ok too. Then have another think about a small next step…
- Celebrate. When you reach your goal take time to enjoy it and thank those that helped you. Think about what you enjoyed and learned along the way. Now, what is your next goal or project going to be?