What are Your Goals? – From MulliganBrothers
The end of the year and the beginning of a new one are the best times to build momentum towards focusing on your goals. If you haven’t already, today is a great today to start living your best life and you can do that by thinking about creating new goals or revisiting previous ones.
If you already have goals—even better! There really is no time like the present to get clear on what you want out of your life. Gaining clarity on your goals today, and staying consistently focused down the road, will reward you tenfold later when you achieve them. If you need an extra dose of motivation or inspiration to help you sharpen your focus on your goals, keep reading ahead. Below, you’ll find some terrific strategies to stay laser focused, inspired, and motivated.
1. Understand What You Want and Why You Want it
One of the most important parts of the process of setting goals that stick is clarifying the why behind your goal—that is, understanding the reasons and the values that motivate you to want to reach your goal. Your why will lay the foundation for success in reaching your goals. Oftentimes, people’s values drive the goals they make and the way they choose to accomplish those goals.
Much of what makes goal setting successful involves a lot of soul searching, and this part is no exception, so ask yourself: What do I really want and why do I want it? What values underlie the goals I’m setting and how do those values influence the ways I’m hoping to achieve my goals? Understanding the reasons and values behind your goals will
2. Put Your Goals in Writing
Gail Matthews, Ph.D. at Dominican University has found that writing down goals enhances goal achievement. Not only should you write down your goals, but you should keep your goals in a place where you’ll see them often. This way, your goals will stay at the forefront of your mind every day and you can stay inspired and motivated.
Writing down your goals helps you commit to them mentally. For maximum benefit, though, don’t just write them out once at the beginning of the goal-setting process. Make a habit of jotting down your goals daily or weekly. This will keep them fresh in your mind, helping you maintain your focus.
3. Narrow Down Your Goals
It is important that your goals are specific. If you can narrow down your goals to a select few, meaningful aspirations, it will be easier for you to stay focused. The ability to clearly and easily seeing your progress towards a small number of intentionally chosen goals will boost your confidence, thus building your momentum towards more progress!
Making sure that your goals are narrowly defined, specific, and measurable will help you stay focused on what you hope to achieve.
4. Create a Plan
Now that you have a goal, or goals, in mind, you can create a plan to help you map out the steps you need to take to achieve them. It will help to break down your goals into smaller, clear, actionable steps that have time restraints.
Can you dissect your goals and find a way to simplifying them into actions or steps you can try to take every day? For example, if you are hoping to train to run a marathon, can you first try walking around the block every day for a month before you progress towards, perhaps, walking a mile every day for another month? Take some time here to make sure that your goals are sufficiently broken down into small, simple steps you can do right now.
One way to make sure your goals are specific is making sure they are measurable. For example, if a person wanted to learn a musical instrument, they could make their goal more specific by deciding that they want to learn to play jazz music (a genre) on the saxophone (an instrument), and one way a person can measure their musical skill level is by recording themselves at the very beginning of learning an instrument, and then again a few months later, to compare their progress over time.
5. Create a Schedule that Works for You, Not Against You
Scheduling or time management is an important factor to consider if you’re trying to focus on goals. How can you create a schedule that plays to your strengths, rather than your weaknesses? There are a couple of ways to think about timing in this case.
Do you work better in the morning, afternoon, or evenings? Are you more productive during long, sustained periods of work or many short spurts of energy over time?
Consistency is one of the keys to achievement, so make working on your goals part of your daily routine. Be realistic – if you know you’re not going to be productive after you come home from work, get up early in the morning to work on your personal projects instead. Staying on track with your goals will become automatic if you make it part of your everyday life.
6. Stop Multi-Tasking
Unfortunately, no one can do it all. Most people can become really good at one thing or moderately good at a number of things, but no one can be a master of everything.
Constantly switching focus can actually take a toll on productivity, so stop multitasking by intentionally choosing a small number of goals that will have the most positive impact on your life.
7. Commit to Doing One Thing a Day
Just like you can’t leap up a mountain in a single bound, you’re not going to achieve a big goal in days or even weeks. Because of this, it’s important to prioritize what you want to achieve.
Picking just one or two major goals to work on makes you more likely to reach them. You can always add new goals later if you want.
All of us run into procrastination—maybe some of us more than others—but all of us do. Some of the reasons behind procrastination include fear of failure, lack of self-confidence in completing a task, lack of motivation, and, even, fear of success, many of which we may encounter on our way to achieving our goals.
Here is one effective way to counter procrastination: think about how your current actions will impact your future self and consider what steps you can take to be most loving towards your future self. For example: “If I eat these cookies right now, I will feel good at this moment, but tomorrow I will feel like crap for not focusing on my goal to lose weight.”
Essentially, this thought exercise can help us redirect our attention from actions with instant gratification to actions with real consequences that can either positively or negatively impact us in the short-term and in the long run.
This simple step of taking a brief pause to reflect on the consequences of your procrastination can make a world of difference if you need to squash temptation and, instead, stay focused and motivated to work towards your goal.
9. Work in an Environment that is Conducive to Your Goals
You can increase your chances of achieving your goals by understanding the work environment and schedule that is optimal for you.
It’s important to work in an environment that is best suited to you and your specific needs. Some factors to consider may include physical location, the lighting around you, noise levels, the comfort of the location, the people around you (or lack thereof), and the
Even details such as air quality and temperature have been researched to have varying levels of impact on workers’ productivity. Some people work better with noise while others simply cannot be productive unless there’s absolute silence.
Similarly, some people prefer to exercise at home, by themselves, while others are energized by exercising at a gym where they are motivated by the presence of other people around them. It could be worthwhile to experiment with many different environments to see what works best for you.
10. Understand that Goals Are Not Achieved Overnight
A lot of people give up on goals because they are looking for instant gratification. If you’ve tried numerous times to focus on goals, it could be due to the overwhelm you feel when you look at the “big picture” or the “end goal.”
For example, you may have gained 30 pounds of baby weight and you want to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. You thought that weight would just melt off after having the baby, but
Do you remember the saying, Rome wasn’t built in a day? Understand that it took you 9 months to gain that weight and it may take you 9 months to lose it. This may sound like a long
Instead of trying to do everything at once, work on taking one small step forward every day. Setting achievable mini-goals will keep you motivated and moving forward
Don’t compete with others, compete with yourself. “Am I better today, than I was yesterday?” Acknowledging small wins will not only make your ultimate goal less daunting, It will help keep your momentum and motivation going as well.
11. Track Your Progress
As you are breaking down your goals into smaller steps, it’s crucial that you consistently track your progress. There is a reason behind why breaking down big goals into small, simple steps and tracking your progress is so important to enhancing goal attainment.
Breaking down big goals into simple steps makes progress towards your goal attainable in small increment; track your progress gives you positive feedback, and that feedback builds confidence in your ability to continue working towards your goal.
The American Psychological Association (APA) has confirmed that monitoring your progress towards a goal does enhance
There’s nothing quite as motivating as seeing how far you’ve come since you started. Use a notebook, spreadsheet, or app to keep track of the hours you’ve invested and the progress you’ve made on your goals. If you feel your enthusiasm flagging, reviewing your progress log can rekindle your determination.
12. Get Support
There are numerous ways you can seek external reinforcements to make sure you stay inspired and motivated.
For instance, you can stay focused, inspired, and motivated by getting support from the people around you. A strong social support network is crucial. Not only can a strong social support network keep you on track to meeting your goals, some of the additional benefits of a strong social support network include enhanced self-esteem, mental health, and ability to cope with stressful situations.
Your network can include close friends, family, and community members who understand your goal and want to offer you the support you need to get there. You can also reach out to get structured, professional help with your goals from a coach or a therapist.
While you don’t necessarily need to formalize your support network, it may help to keep these people updated on your journey as you’re working towards your goal so they can celebrate your wins and comfort you during difficult moments. Our loved ones can oftentimes be our greatest source of inspiration.
If you aren’t sure where to start, a little bit of research could go a long way to helping you formulate your plan. You can take to the resources right at your fingertips on the internet, or turn to a friend or family to help you get the information you need to get started.
13. Remind Yourself Why You Were Motivated in the First Place
We all hit speedbumps when we’re trying to achieve our goals. It’s perfectly normal to have bad days—even terrible days—amidst the good ones. If you feel yourself losing steam, remind yourself why you started in the first place.
What motivated you to embark on the journey of achieving this goal? What was the big reason or the important values that gave you that first spark of inspiration to get started?
As mentioned, grounding ourselves in our why is an essential part of staying focused on our goals. When we’re feeling lost, we can come back to this why time and time again to remind us why our goals are worth it!