Achieving goals just as (if not more) important as setting goals.
Setting goals is great, but what is the point of doing that if you don’t work to achieve those goals?
We need to work to make our goals a reality.
Think of your goal as a seed. It is a great little seed; it is small and fits easily in the palm of your hand. You know it will be the most amazing plant when it grows up. It will be lush and green and have fruit that is beautiful to see and better than anything you ever tasted. As you imagine what it will be like, you can’t wait to see it flourishing and bearing fruit.
Now, the question is: will you plant this seed?
Will you plant it now or will you put it away for another season, letting it sit in a drawer until you pull it out again?
Now, when you decide to plant this seed, you can’t just leave it in the ground and never touch it again. As a seed, you need to protect it from predators. As it grows you need to protect it, nurture it, feed it, water it, and prune it. You need to shower love and attention on it. This all takes time and effort. Without this care, your little seed will never become the amazing plant that you know it has the potential to grow into.
When you set a goal and start to work towards it, do you work for a bit of time and then stop? Do you wonder and imagine what could be if you were to persevere? Let’s stop imagining and get to work to make our goals reality.
Are you ready to plan, nurture and work to achieve your goals? Let’s pull those amazing seeds out of the drawer and chose which one(s) we will plant and nurture. For detailed steps on setting quality, achievable goals, see “Secrets to Setting Goals.”
But how can I achieve my goals? What do I do after I chose one?
I am glad you asked!
Key elements to success in achieving goals
1. Know what is most important to you and determine your why.
Make sure that the goal you have is in line with what you value. If it is not, you will not be inclined to work to make it a reality.
Know your why. Why do you want to achieve this goal? What will motivate you to continue working towards it when you don’t feel like working on it? Post a picture of your goal or your why to help keep that motivation in front of you.
2. Write down your goals.
We are more likely to achieve the goals we write down. That is why we created these goals after all, right? We created them to work to make them a reality. Having them written down where you can look at them every day is very helpful in the process of achieving them.
3. Create smaller steps to accomplish along the way.
Break up your goal into smaller goals, or smaller steps. By doing this, the goal does not seem so overwhelming and you have manageable tasks to conquer, one at a time.
Think of eating a watermelon. I would feel overwhelmed at the prospect of eating an entire watermelon in one sitting. If I cut it into sections and ate some every day, though, I could easily finish it off.
What will it take to achieve each goal you set? Pick the goal you want to start with. Write it down on the top of a piece of paper or in your notebook. List all the actions you can think of that you need to do to accomplish this goal. Don’t worry about the items being in a particular order; just write them down.
Evaluate your list. Are there some items that need to be done before others? Plan what items you need or want to accomplish first. You can label them on your page or write them in order on another sheet of paper. This will help you know how to tackle your goal. Having a plan helps you to not feel overwhelmed and helps you have the confidence to jump in and get started.
Don’t spend too long planning, though! Just jump in where you are and get started. You can plan and work at the same time.
4. Take a step toward your goal every day.
Make the time to work on your goal.
From the list of action items you wrote, select some to accomplish this week. Put them on your calendar or in your planner. Scheduling them is an important step. We already schedule doctor appointments, going to Mass, play dates for our kids, and time for family events. Schedule time to work on your goal; it is that important.
Plan to work on your goal every day, even if it is only ten minutes a day.
5. Make it fun.
Have you ever heard your kids say (or maybe whine would be a better word), “But Mom, I don’t want to do that! It’s no fun.” Fun is a great motivator! When we instill fun into working towards our goals, we are happier and it is easier to persevere.
Do you like music yet rarely put on your favorite radio station or cd unless you are in the car? Put it on as background music while you work.
What is fun for you? Try some different things to see what works for you.
When you make working on your goals fun, working on them won’t feel so much like work.
6. Take the time to look back.
Sometimes we are so focused on moving forward that we don’t realize how far we have come. Take the time now and again to look back and compare where you are now in the process of achieving your goal compared to where you were when you started. This is a great motivating tool to use whenever you feel discouraged.
Yes, I did say “whenever you feel discouraged” and not if you feel discouraged. Feeling discouraged is natural. It is okay to feel discouraged sometimes.
The road to achieving our goals is not smooth. There will be bumps in the road that we encounter on our journey. The question is, will I sit on the side of the road and be upset at the roadblock I encountered (well, maybe for a few minutes) or will I work to get around it and solve the problem?
The only failure is giving up. Keep moving forward and you will get there.
7. Reward yourself along the way.
Giving ourselves little rewards along the way can help us keep motivated to continue. You don’t have to spend money, either. Perhaps a bubble bath, going for a walk, or making the time to read a book are rewards that keep you motivated. Think of what will work for you.
Rewarding yourself along the way helps keep you moving forward.
8. Celebrate the achievement of your goal.
When you achieve your goal, celebrate! You have worked hard to accomplish your goal. Enjoy your success.
9. Pick your next goal.
Sometimes when we achieve a goal, it feels anticlimactic. What do I do with my time now that I have achieved my goal? Enjoy the fruits of your goal. Not only have you achieved what you set out to do, but you have learned and grown in the process. Personal growth is very valuable in and of itself.
Now, while you have momentum, keep it going. Choose your next goal and begin working on it.
You may find it helpful to use a notebook or binder for keeping track of your goals.
In a notebook you can keep your list of goals and the lists of the smaller steps you need to do to achieve them. You can also write the dates of when you started and completed your goals and notes about what to remember for the next goal you tackle. You can also track what you learned in the process of achieving that goal so you can apply the knowledge to achieving your next goals.
Pulling it all together.
To achieve the quality goals you set for yourself, remember the key factors: know what is most important to you, determine your why, write down your goals, break your goals down into smaller steps, make time to work on your goals every day, make it fun, take the time to look back, reward yourself, celebrate your success, and keep up the momentum: create new goals to achieve.
Remember the story of the little seed? A little seed does not seem like much. It is small and inconsequential. Yet, it has immense potential. It won’t grow in a drawer. It needs to be sown and nurtured to grow.
What goal will you work to accomplish?