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This post was originally posted in January 2017, but updated in January 2018.
We’re a couple of weeks into January and the excitement of change, new beginnings, and goal crushing is still in the air. Can you feel it?
I recently shared why I haven’t picked a New Year’s Resolution in over 3 years, and choose a word to focus on during the year instead. For me, it’s less about short term goals and more about creating a better version of ourselves for the long haul.
It’s not too late to choose a word, and if you need help check out these tips!
If you’re like me, then you love setting new goals but struggle with creating a plan of attack and taking consistent action to achieve goals. There’s never a shortage of ideas bouncing around my head, but without a clear path on how to implement them, I struggle. Can you relate?
5 Tips to Help You Achieve Your Goals
A few months ago I decided enough was enough. I was determined to find a better system to achieve my goals. Every day I learn something new, and am excited about this journey of self-discovery and implementing new practices to help me stay on track.
If you’re looking for tips to keep you on track with your word of the year, here are 5 Steps to help you achieve your goals!
Step 1: Find Clarity
It’s difficult to create a plan for your goals without knowing what you’re aiming towards and why. The first step to reaching your goals is to be clear about WHY you want to reach these goals in the first place.
If you can determine why you want to change, you’ll find a deeper understanding and greater motivation to help push you forward. This will also keep you focused and more willing to overcome obstacles.
When it comes to picking a word of the year, I recommend choosing a word that identifies with how you want to “feel”, or what you want more of in your life.
For example, I’ve noticed a dramatic shift in my energy over the past couple of years. Most days start okay but before long I find myself stressed, filled with anxiety, frustrated, annoyed, and overly critical.
In a nutshell, my life is chaotic and I crave more peace.
As soon as I find myself feeling any of the words mentioned above I can quickly acknowledge them, and focus on shifting my energy. I don’t know about you, but I want to feel at ease not only at the end of the day but throughout it as well. This is why I chose “calm” as my 2017 word of the year. I know if I can bring more calm into my life, I’ll experience more joy in everything I do as a result.
Next, think about what’s holding you back.
There’s generally a root cause for why we’re preventing ourselves from being a specific way, or from reaching specific goals. Is it fear of failure, lack of confidence, someone else’s expectations, or feeling you don’t deserve it?
If you’re having trouble finding clarity, spend some time being present with yourself. You can do this by sitting quietly for at least 5-10 minutes, doing breathing exercises, taking a walk, or meditating.
Another way to combat the chaos in your life is to clear the clutter. You’d be amazed at how clutter can affect you on a subconscious level. Clear the clutter and you’ll feel more freedom and space to manifest more of what you want in your life.
Once you discover why you want to change, and what’s holding you back, you’re one step closer to reaching your goal!
Step 2: Create a Plan
My biggest problem with crushing my goals in the past? I didn’t have a plan. Whoops.
I’d jot down my goals and since I’d reach some of them I figured I was headed in the right direction. Looking back, I see that my personal goals kept getting moved down on the priority list, and I started to feel resentment as a result.
I knew what I needed to do, but had trouble actually doing it. This is why having a plan is crucial when it comes to achieving your goals.
In the past I would make a short term goal and then plug away, putting everything else on hold until it was accomplished. Before I knew it, there I was smack dab in the middle of this new, exciting project while my personal life, relationships, and health took a backseat. Sure I’d reach my goal, but everything else in my life would suffer.
Eric, on the other hand, will set crazy huge goals (which is awesome!) but will give himself a super quick deadline, making it nearly impossible to attain his goals and leave him feeling deflated.
It wasn’t until recently that we finally decided neither one of our approaches were working, and it was time for a new system.
As soon as I was aware that we needed a new plan and was ready to make a change, resources seemed to pop up left and right. It was as though the Universe heard my request for help, and started to gently push me in the right direction.
The main takeaway here is to take your big goals and break them down into baby steps. You probably already know this, but are you doing it? Yeah, neither were we.
How much time are you going to dedicate to this goal? Is it going to be 10, 20, or 30 minutes a day, or is it specific days of the week? Or maybe you’ll start with 10 minutes a day the first week, and increase it to 20 minutes a day the next week, 30 minutes a day the week after that, etc.
Now that you know what to accomplish every week, think about what you want to accomplish every month, followed by every quarter. This way you have something to reflect back on and help you stay on track. You can do this in a planner, journal, or word document.
Whatever you decide make sure it’s manageable. You can always increase or improve your steps later, but there’s no shame in starting small. You’re not setting these goals for someone else so you don’t need to impress anyone.
This is about YOU so set yourself up for success with baby steps.
Step 3: Take Action
Having a plan is HUGE and a good chunk of what’s going to bring you success in the new year, but you’re not done yet. Now you need to take action and implement those baby steps.
If you’re struggling with finding time for your new baby steps let me say this: when it comes to your daily routine, do them first! I realize everyone’s schedule is different but if you can change your morning routine to implement your new baby steps you’ll notice a drastic shift in the rest of your day. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction knowing you made time for yourself, and are working towards your long-term goals.
At least that’s been the case for me.
I used to wake up, check my phone, see a ton of emails and comments that needed my attention, jump out of bed, start the coffee and then start plugging away at emails while I chugged my coffee. Most of my day was then spent “putting out fires” and dealing with all sorts of distractions that popped up rather than focusing on my goals or projects I wanted to work on. Id’ have my daily to-do list and would attack the easy tasks first or randomly go through it, but by the end of the day, I’d feel drained and stressed because I didn’t accomplish nearly as much as I wanted to and wishing there was more time in the day.
I knew how I wanted to start my day (meditation, exercise and actually enjoying my coffee), but I let technology and life’s distractions take over. This caused resentment, frustration, stress, anxiety and a sense a failure. I knew there was a better way, and that it would begin with my morning routine.
Now I make time for myself first in the morning, and it’s amazing how much it influences the rest of my day!
If you’re struggling with your morning routine or wish it was less chaotic, I encourage you to ignore your phone, inbox and social media. You’ll feel more connected to yourself (and your family) and feel less frazzled.
Take a few minutes, close your eyes and imagine how your perfect morning routine would go. I challenge you to try it for a few days and see how it affects the rest of your day. Eventually, you can create a habit from your new routine, and won’t need to think twice about it.
If you can’t make time in the morning determine your most productive time of the day and move your baby steps into that time frame, or make a habit of starting them as soon as you get home from work.
Stop putting everyone else first or making excuses for lack of time, and MAKE yourself a priority. You deserve it and everyone else will benefit as a result.
Step 4: Give Yourself Grace
No one’s perfect and as we continue to improve ourselves and tackle our goals, obstacles will find a way to creep in. Rather than be hard on yourself when you fall off track or have a rough day, be gentle and give yourself grace.
I recently watched a webinar with Gabrielle Bernstein who shared a mantra I love! If you’re ever doubting yourself or feeling down about what you did or didn’t do, repeat this mantra:
“I forgive myself, I accept myself, and I release who I used to be. I am new.”
Step 5: Support
One of the best ways to achieve goals is to have a support buddy, group, or community. This way you have someone to check in with and share ideas, challenges, and successes with.
I hope these steps help you achieve your goals in 2018! It’s important to make time for ourselves, especially amongst the chaos and countless distractions that surround us.
What are your favorite tips for staying on track to achieve goals? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!