What are your long-term goals right now?
Some people are always chasing goals – and making great progress towards them.
Others are so overwhelmed by the process of setting goals that they can’t even start.
Regardless of where you fall on the goal-setting spectrum, it’s important to identify goals that you’re working toward and have a clear plan in place to achieve those goals.
In this post, I’ll help you understand how to set and reach your goals. We’ll cover:
- How to set realistic goals – and stay motivated to reach them
- Four simple steps to help you set yourself up for goal-getting success
- Tips to crush your goals, even when they feel totally unrealistic
How to Set Realistic Goals and Stay Motivated to Reach Them
Most people run into two big challenges when thinking about their long-term goals.
The first challenge? Setting realistic goals. How do you set realistic goals? Figuring out how to set goals can be more challenging than you think. After all, the whole point of a goal is to push yourself to achieve something new – but how do you know where your limits are?
And once you’ve actually identified your goal, you’ve got another challenge to overcome.
How do you reach your goals without losing interest? How do you stay motivated and keep pushing forward?
How Living Mindfully Helps with Productivity and Goal-Setting
Mindfulness can be a great tool to boost your productivity and help you set and reach your goals.
Setting goals isn’t easy. And figuring out how to achieve your goals? That isn’t always simple, either. The whole process can get overwhelming fast, and when that happens, it can be tough to focus and make a plan.
That’s where mindfulness comes in. By being more present, grounded, and conscious of what’s happening in each moment, in other words, more mindful, it becomes easier to set meaningful goals.
It’s easier to stay focused on the things that matter, making you more productive. And through mindfulness, it also becomes easier to identify actions that will help you achieve those goals without feeling totally overwhelmed.
Set Yourself Up for Goal Getting Success in 4 Easy Steps
Ready to set some goals? The goal-setting process can feel a little intimidating, but don’t worry – you can have a ton of fun with it, too. Grab your favorite pen and a notebook and spend some time setting yourself up for success.
Make Your Goals SMART
First and foremost, you need to choose a goal that gets you excited. Your goal should fire you up and inspire you to take action. If it doesn’t, you may want to reconsider.
Once you’ve got a general goal in mind, it’s time to make it SMART:
If your goal isn’t specific or measurable, how will you actually know once you’ve reached it?
If it’s not attainable, you’re setting yourself up for failure chasing unrealistic ambitions.
If your goal isn’t relevant to your life and your overall direction, why are you pursuing it?
And if it isn’t time-bound, it’s easy to find yourself looking at the same goals years down the road, wondering when you’ll actually achieve them.
Sign up on the form below to get the free SMART goals worksheet to set YOUR own SMART goals!
Put Pen to Paper: Write Down Your Goal!
Got a goal in mind? Great!
Now, it’s time to write your goal down. Grab your favorite pen and a brand new notebook (or open a new Google Doc) and write out exactly what you hope to accomplish. Don’t skimp on the details. Instead, be as specific as possible.
Studies have shown that those who write down their goals are far more likely to achieve them, so don’t skip this step!
Create an Action Plan: Flesh Out What You’re Going To Do and When!
Once you’ve written down your goals, it’s time to make a plan to achieve them.
Your goals won’t happen on their own. You’ve got to do the work to crush your goals and take your life to the next level. And the easiest way to do that? Make a plan.
To make your action plan, ask yourself, “What do I need to do to reach my goal?”
Then, write down that list – ideally, in sequential order. What is your first step? What happens after that? The smaller and more specific the steps, the better.
It’s also smart to identify a few friends, mentors, or others you can ask when you need help. If you get stuck, or you need guidance, who can you ask? Knowing where to turn when you do hit a stumbling block can make it much easier for you to overcome it.
Stay Focused: Overcome Setbacks and Challenges
Setbacks and challenges are a natural part of personal growth. If you’re trying to achieve a new and ambitious goal, chances are you’re going to run into some roadblocks along the way.
That’s why it’s so important to have friends, mentors, and others who know what you’re trying to achieve. They can hold you accountable and encourage you when times get tough, making you much more likely to achieve your goals.
Writing down your goals can also help you overcome setbacks and challenges. By revisiting your goals often and reminding yourself why you’re trying to achieve them, you’ll be more motivated to overcome any challenge that stands between you and your goal.
Mindfulness can be another great way to frame setbacks and challenges. By focusing on the present, it becomes easier to put things into perspective. Falling short of a goal can feel like the end of the world – when it’s really just a minor hiccup.
How to Reach a Goal that Seems Impossible
Have you ever tried to figure out how to reach a goal that felt totally impossible?
You aren’t alone.
Many of us have set goals for ourselves that feel absolutely unattainable. We bite off more than we can chew and then we commit to seeing it through. Or trying, anyway.
If you’re struggling to reach a goal that seems impossible, stop and take a breath. Then, step back and look at your goal in the context of your plan. Have you broken your action items down into small enough pieces? Can you realistically achieve the things you’ve set out for yourself within your timeline?
If not, there’s nothing wrong with adjusting your plans and giving yourself more realistic expectations.
How to Stay Motivated and Committed For The Long Haul
One of the biggest challenges we face when setting goals? Finding ways to stay focused and motivated.
As soon as things get tough, it’s easy to let your mind wander and start to consider other goals. It’s way too easy to tell yourself, “Well, maybe I should try this instead…” at the first sign of struggle.
But you shouldn’t give up so fast! Instead, it’s important to find ways to stay motivated and committed for the long haul. A few of my favorite strategies include:
- Find a friend or a family member to check in with you often on your goal. By having someone hold you accountable, it makes it difficult to simply walk away from a goal before you’ve achieved it.
- Keep your goals on your mind. Make your goal the password to your email account. Write them down on sticky notes and put them on your mirror. Make it impossible to forget them!
- Celebrate your success. If your goal is to lose 30 lbs, don’t wait until you’ve lost it all to celebrate! Set some milestones up for yourself, and celebrate the fact that you’re making positive progress. This will inspire and motivate you to keep going.
You can achieve your goals if you stay focused and committed to them!
How to Reach Your Goal When Your Support System Isn’t So Supportive
There’s no beating around the bush: it can be tough to crush your goals when you don’t have a solid support system. There’s a reason football teams have cheerleaders on the sidelines. It’s much easier to make it happen when you know you’ve got someone cheering you on.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t reach your goals! Instead, you should use your support system – or lack thereof – to fuel the fire that drives you. They don’t want to support you? That’s fine. Prove them wrong and show them you didn’t need their support in the first place.
Alternately, seek out your own support system. Join a networking group, find an accountability partner through an online forum, or otherwise connect with people who share your passions.
The Bottom Line: It’s Easy to Set Goals… but Not So Easy to See Them Through!
Reaching our goals isn’t an easy task. It takes a lot of determination, perseverance, and hard work. By setting realistic goals and writing them down, surrounding yourself with support, and finding ways to overcome any obstacles that cross your path, nothing will hold you back from realizing your dreams!
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