Some examples might be: I'm going to eat healthier, loose weight, exercise more, do more with my family, finish a project, buy a home, finish school, organizing my home, and they can go on and on. I have struggled finishing a lot in my life but because of it I've learned a lot about how to finish, or how not to finish. My husband teases me all the time when I tell him about something that I want to do. He'll say..."Okay Hunny!" and you can tell that his smile is saying, "I'll believe it when I see it." Last year I set the goal to loose weight and I did finish my goal last year so here are some tips that I've learned along the way...
"I am not afraid, I was born to do this." - Joan of Arc
1.) Don't compromise a long term goal or dream because you think it is unachievable.
“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
2.) Set a goal that is a top priority for this year or for this time in your life.
Now this may seem contradictory to the first one but if the goals you are setting aren't top priority on your list, it's NOT going to happen! For instance if you are sick and fighting disease and you set a goal to exercise regularly, you might be too tired to be able to do that. That phase of your life will pass and then you can set that goal later but setting a goal that is not going to happen at a certain point in your life is disappointing and heartbreaking. Another example would be if you are trying to loose weight and you are pregnant. Even if you did achieve this it wouldn't be healthy for the baby. So be smart take on goals that you can do at that point in your life.
3.) Set Small Goals to help you reach long term goals and Work Hard.
"The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary."
You will not get it done all at once you will have to have patience and wait for it. Even though I am an adult now and I ask my impatient kids to wait, I too have impatience problems. My impatient thoughts are saying, "Geese Louise...aren't I there yet. Well I guess not, maybe I should stop or, eh, I'll just do something else." Here is the key, set shorter goals that can help you reach your long term goal. My long term goal was to loose 20 lbs, so my short term goal was to loose 2 lbs a week (If your more patient then I am you could do even less per week.) I worked out and ate healthy and it was hard to stick with it, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, so I kept with it and kept working so I could expect different results. I got results. It didn't all happen right away but slowly I changed. Every time you complete a small goal there is a sense of satisfaction, you don't have to wait forever till the end before you get some relief (that gets tiring.) Let's face it we are all impatient to some extent. When you've reached each small goal you just get closer and closer to your main goal...
4.) Commit and Educate yourself.
If this is a goal that you end up setting every year then it is obviously important to you and it would be something that can make your life more enjoyable in the long run regardless of the work necessary to achieve it. So commit yourself now. "I am going to do this!" In the end there is no one else or nothing else to blame if you don't achieve your goal, it's up to you.
I hate it when I really want something but don't really know how to get it. Sometimes I'm too stubborn to admit it. So first, admit that you may need some help with your goals. Two heads are better then one, right! I can imagine the more heads the better. You may need to learn about something and research it, you may need to go to school and get a degree. If to achieve your goal you need to buy something or your goal is to buy something you may need to learn about budgeting, you may need to figure out how you can make more money. You may need to learn about nutrition and about how to cook better meals...the list goes on an on. I had to figure out how many calories to eat and how much to burn in order to loose weight and it worked like a charm.
5.) Tell other people about your goal.
Have somebody else to talk to about your progress. Someone else that is committed to the same goal, is a nice benefit, you each can talk about the progress you are each making and help keep each other keep motivated. It's always nice to talk with someone who can relate to what you are going through and that can empathize or offer ideas or encouragement. Having someone else to report to always makes me work harder because I don't want to have to give them a bad report. Not only that but it makes it more fun to have someone to do it with, and it makes your commitment more real.
6.) Write it down and follow up on your progress once a day.
You will commit yourself even further once it's written down, you don't need to write it out with your own blood but a Sharpie might do. I used to have a written planner and I would write my goal in there and keep track of them and change them as I changed or as life changed and just kept moving them from week to week. I always plan out the week on Sunday and then I will include any steps I needed to do for that goal in that week and when I was going to do them. Now I keep my calender on my phone and I do the same thing on there and I have a One Note system for my To Do lists and my goals and it syncs up with my computer, laptop, and phone. It is really nice to have it wherever I am. If you don't plan out time to make it happen, especially if it is something that you have had trouble with making time for, it's not going to happen all on it's own on the fly. So write it down. At the end of the day check your planner and see if you've accomplished your goal or if you weren't able to what you need to change in order to make it work. It doesn't make you a bad person if you weren't able to do it it just means you have to do something different to make it work. You can't stay stagnant, life changes so you must also. Even if you aren't a planner/calender type person you can write down, i.e. "I am going to work out 30 minutes a day at 6:30am." Always check your progress. I used a food diary and weighed myself each day to check my progress. If you don't check up on yourself you'll let yourself slide. Write down progress and any changes to the goals.
You could also write out the goal and maybe a quote or something that inspires you and keep it somewhere that you will see it all the time. This can help remind you and it can help you to create a great new habit.
7.) Set yourself a deadline and think of a reward for yourself when you achieve the goal.
Decide when you want to finish each big goal and then also the small goals. If you also give yourself a reward for accomplishing your goal you will be a lot more likely to finish. Treat yourself to a trip up the mountain for skiing or a spa day or shopping day, or my husband would like a hunting day, whatever you really like. With my weight loss I would give myself one cheater day a week were I could go slightly over calories for one day if I stayed under the rest of the week.
8.) Visualize Yourself achieving the goal and use positive self talk.
"Act as if it were impossible to fail."
Some of the most successful people in life spend time visualising what they want and how they are going to do it. I am a dance teacher and I do this before I perform a dance and I have my students do it too. The movements become more of a part of me and the kids can perform better and with more confidence. It's like they've already done it the way they've hoped so why not again. Athlete's use this technique and it has been proven to be helpful in many other areas too. I do this before I decorate or organize something, I will picture what I want it to look like before I do it. When I was trying to loose weight I would visualize my body as I wanted it to be and it would help keep me focused on the possible future.
Whenever you would like to change or do something new or achieve something better you have to think it's possible and think that you are able to accomplish it and push out all thoughts of doubt and fear and replace them with hope and faith. Remember that you will fall and falter but that the more you do the more you learn the better you get at it. You can't expect perfection but you can expect to get there in time with hard work, patience, and help. Getting up each time you fail is the only way to finish.
9.) Complete your Goal.
10.) Celebrate!!!.....and then set a New Goal.
Once completed don't forget to reward yourself. And remember that it is all a part of life and there is always more to do, learn, and maintain. You are never really done, life's journey is full of opportunities and we can take advantage of them as we strive for our goals.
Before +20 lbs.
After -20 lbs
More posts to come on weight loss, mommy and me work outs, budgeting, and home organization.