Most of us are familiar with goal setting as the first step in succeeding with anything. In order to get somewhere, we need a clear view of where it is we want to get and how we want to get there. But as goals are set, why is it that so few of us actually end up achieving them? Why do so many fail to keep the motivation up and give up halfway through? Whether it is fear of not succeeding, uncertainty about what the new reality will bring or the sheer lack of motivation, there exist some bulletproof ways to ensure success in goal-setting. Whatever your goal is – losing weight, finally going on that dream holiday of yours or setting up a start-up, here are 6 techniques you can apply in order to simplify your process and make the goal more achievable.
1) Divide the journey into small, achievable steps
Multiple small steps are easier to handle than one huge leap. Many of us feel overwhelmed at the thought of a long journey that awaits us before we reach our ultimate goals. If we imagine ourselves standing at the bottom of a 3000 metre mountain and looking at the top which we aim to reach, we are sure to experience the feelings of anxiety and fear. However, if we start walking, step by step, we will reach it faster than we might have imagined. It’s the same with any goal-setting. If we divide our journey into small, achievable steps, before we know it, we will find ourselves way ahead.
2) Take the first step
Recalling the metaphor of the mountain, we will never get ahead if we are too paralyzed to take the first step. Once we have divided our goal into smaller steps, we should not feel so proud of ourselves so as to stop at that point. This first step that we take will determine our whole journey. Once we take it and realize that it wasn’t as scary as it seemed, it will serve as an incomparable motivation to take another and then another until we find ourselves at the top of the mountain.
3) Set up deadlines for each of the steps
Having small steps to tackle is, nevertheless, not enough. We need to have a clear view of when we want to get through each step and achieve the ultimate goal. If we don’t write down deadlines, we will soon find ourselves procrastinating and stalling our progress. If we, however, know that not reaching one deadline will destroy the whole plan, force us to start anew with deadline setting and push in time the ultimate goal, we will find ourselves more motivated to meet all the dates. It’s also important to mention that the deadlines need to be reasonable. We need to take into account all our outside commitments and think realistically about the time we have available. Otherwise, we will find ourselves so frustrated being unable to reach the deadlines that we might end up quitting.
4) Give yourself small rewards for each milestone you reach
Once you meet each date and consequently achieve an important milestone on your way, it is important to reward yourself. You have done a great job and you deserve that extra treat, some time to relax, a walk or buying that pair of jeans that caught your eye in the store. Whatever it is, a reward for reaching a milestone is a proven technique to boost your willpower and keep you extra motivated to reach the next step. Don’t get too carried away though and make sure not to forget to take that next step!
5) Keep your goals visible
It is easy to forget about your goal or a deadline if you keep your plan hidden in the drawer, completely out of sight. Keep your plan, or a visual representation of it (it could be for example a vision board, or a collage with pictures representing each step enriched with the dates until which you’d like to reach them) in a place where you will see it every day. It could be your computer desktop or the wall in front of your desk. If you see this reminder every single day, not only will you remember to reach your milestones and feel more motivated, being deeper in the process, but also your subconscious mind will stay actively focused on finding solutions and you will find yourself being constantly flooded with fresh ideas on how to make your journey more efficient.
6) Have fun with it!
I believe that our approach is an important factor that will determine our chances for success. If we treat our journey playfully and focus on the fun of moving forward towards our goals, we will not only be more effective in achieving them but also we will enjoy the whole process much more. In the end, it’s usually not the one final point in time when the aim is reached that is the most important. It is the journey towards that aim that strengthens us and builds our character and belief in ourselves.
Remember, whatever it is you’d like to achieve, a good idea is not enough. What will ultimately make you succeed is an efficient way to get you through it. Therefore, I encourage you to apply all the above techniques. I promise that if you do, you will see a massive shift in your results.