Almost everyone wants to know how to plan for success. Luckily, it is not actually as difficult as it might seem right now.
Most of us set ourselves new goals regularly. This is great! It gives us something to work towards.
Unfortunately though, most of these goals are more often than not, quite unrealistic.
They are usually too ambitious for your current situation or not achievable in the time frame that you have set for yourself.
Are you going to set yourself the same goals as last week or last month?
In the nicest way possible, what makes you think you are going to achieve it this time if you did not achieve your goal last time?
This does NOT mean that you can’t make the same goals for yourself as the ones you previously failed to complete.
It just means that you have to change your method of goal setting.
It is said that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit.
(Have you joined my 21-Day Self-Love Challenge yet?)
The following tips will help you to do exactly what you need to do to ensure you achieve your new goals and become successful in 2019.
One of the first steps to reaching your “goals”, is to stop thinking of them as “goals”, and start looking at them as a “new habit“.
Instead of telling people you are “working to tone up and lose a stone”, just say that you enjoy going to the gym on a regular basis.
Instead of hating yourself when you can’t seem to skip that morning cigarette, tell yourself that you can’t have that one, but you can have one after breakfast.
Later on, you can skip that one and push your “first cigarette” of the day to a later and later time.
Until eventually, you are left with only one cigarette of the day.
Much easier to give up.
#1 One thing at a time
You don’t have to go full steam ahead and try to change everything at once.
Remember that your aim is to FINISH the race, not WIN it.
Set yourself one or two new habits (remember we are saying that, instead of “goals” now!) and focus on them.
If you put too much on yourself, I can almost guarantee that you will fail with most of them!
If you really can’t decide which behaviour to change, or which “goal” to set, try to think of your priorities.
For example, quitting smoking can save your life – this is a much more important goal than de-clutter the whole house.
Unhealthy behaviours, or things such as this that you want to improve are all able to change over time. You have a longer time-frame to change these things, so don’t rush it or create a sense of urgency.
Focussing on one thing also means that you are at an advantage in being able to spend more time on that specific are of improvement.
The more time and effort you spend on one particular thing, the more able you are exceed at that one thing.
Master it and move on.
#2 Set yourself sub-goals
It is great to set yourself BIG goals, we all want to plan for success.
However, setting yourself smaller, more-achievable goals gives you the best chance of actually sticking to them.
Rather than being overly ambitious and overworking yourself.
If you have set yourself a goal to exercise more or go to the gym more, figure out the smaller goals that will help you reach that goal.
Think about what the steps are for getting into a regular gym routine.
- Get a gym membership – or plan which days of the week you will go
- Get your gym bag and clothes etc. prepared
- Create your gym routine
- Set a goal to go to the gym for your “Week 1”
- Moving forward, set a “Week 2” and “Week 3” etc.
This allows you to actually meet your initial goal – rather than “letting yourself down” and falling short.
If you get your gym stuff together but then decide you can’t be bothered to go to the gym, just go for a run or a fast walk.
Or, just go to the gym for 10-minutes and add on another 10 etc.
#3 Make SMART goals
When it comes to setting goals, stick to the SMART method.
That means making your goals:
What exactly is it that you want to achieve?
Do you want to stop smoking? Do you want to lose 1-stone in two months? Want to set yourself a goal to read 5 books this month?
Think about why this goal is important to you and whom you might need to involve to make it a success (friends, doctor support etc.)
How will you actually measure your progress towards your goal? How will you know when you have achieved it?
Make this one motivating and meaningful – make your measure of your success something that will make you proud!
Can you actually achieve this goal? Is it worth the effort and time you will put into it – do you even have that effort and time to do so in the first place?
Don’t make it too easy or it won’t be worth it, but don’t make it so hard that you will be upset if and when you don’t manage to achieve it because you set the bar too high.
Make sure YOU are the only person who can affect the outcome of this goal.
Yes, you might need someone else’s help to do it, but if that doesn’t work, you should still be able to find a way around it.
Just don’t put all your eggs into someone else’s spoon.
Don’t pick a goal like losing weight if you are already at a good weight.
Rather, pick a goal that is more relevant to you – relate it to where you are “lagging” (if anywhere) or to something that you really feel you want to improve or achieve.
Maybe, losing weight is not the best goal for you.
However, maybe toning up is the right goal for you.
If you don’t have a deadline, you are much less likely to achieve your goal.
Working to a deadline keeps you on your toes and makes you feel 10x happier when you finally reach your goal after all of your hard work.
You did it in the timeframe you gave yourself.
#4 Create a successful environment
The physical things and people around you have a direct influence on the way you progress and the way you live your life. Change your mindset and get away from anxiety and negative thinking.
Are you trying to quit smoking?
Don’t hang around smokers when you first start giving up. Throw your ash trays away and stay away from any temptation.
Always late everywhere?
Move the alarm away from you – that way, you have to physically get up to turn the alarm off. Set 3-4 alarms, 2 minutes apart.
If the alarms are 10 minutes apart, you have time to get comfortable again.
Only 1 or 2 minutes apart? You will get fed up after the first two and end up just getting up!
If you are already awake and you have an appointment in the middle of the day, start setting your watch and clocks 5 minutes early, or set multiple alarms.
Check out this super simple post on “10 Essential Habits of Highly Productive Women“.
Are you trying to exercise more but can never leave the house in time?
Set your alarm earlier. Have your gym clothes laid out the night before.
#5 Set up a Strong Support Structure
Don’t keep your new goals to yourself.
Share your experiences and new habits with friends, family and co-workers. Maybe join a support group, such as Facebook groups or even workout groups at your local gym, for example.
It is very widely believed that sharing your journey makes it easier and less intimidating
You have people to believe in you, to prove things to (if you are doing things for others) and even people who might want to share the actual resolution with you.
Get a Partner
If you can find someone to share your journey with, you will in a sense, have more accountability. You will have to report to someone else whenever you fail or slip-up – which, of course will make you less likely to fail.
However, you will also have someone else by your side that has the same goals and who is as committed to your own success as they are to their own. After all, you are both in it together.
Make sure that the person you choose to partner up with has the same level of motivation as you.
Otherwise, you might find yourself dragging around someone else, which will ultimately drag YOU down in the process.
#6 Don’t try to be perfect
Give yourself a break.
You might not achieve your goal on the first try, but you will succeed if you keep pushing for it.
It is completely normal to slip up and forget your goal (whether on purpose or by accident). It doesn’t matter if you eat a cake while on your diet, or if you have a few puffs of a cigarette.
You are human.
It took me about 8 attempts before I finally gave up smoking.
If you do slip-up, just start again tomorrow. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
However, do NOT make the same mistake again!
Figure out what it was that actually made you slip-up in the first place.
Then try to put the necessary steps in place to prevent this setback from happening again.
Although it is perfectly fine to have a temporary setback, you must ensure that you don’t get yourself into the same situation of temptation again.
- Was the goal too ambitious? Break it into smaller goals
- Did you set yourself a DAILY expectation? Start smaller with every 2-days
- Did you over-exert yourself? Slow down and re-jig your ideas of what you actually want to achieve.
- Are your goals SMART goals? (see below)
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#7 Reward yourself
Rewards are a good way to keep yourself motivated to keep on task.
You have something to look forward to.
Each time you achieve a smaller sub-goal, reward yourself with a gift, or a day off.
It is important to remember not to reward yourself with something that contradicts your goals.
If your goal is to lose weight, don’t treat yourself to a bar of chocolate.
If your goal is to stop smoking, don’t treat yourself to that “bedtime fag” you have been going without for the past few days.
Having something to look forward to makes it easier to stick with a habit when you’re feeling a lack of motivation (or when you’re simply too tired to get started).
#8 Make yourself accountable
If you have a goal to join the gym, pay an upfront fee for the gym subscription.
Then, if you don’t go to the gym, not only do you waste that months fee, but you will also be facing the prospect of having to go through the rigmarole of cancelling your subscription.
That seems like a LOT of work and waste, just for missing one simple gym session!
What about if you want to start eating healthy?
Simple, write a shopping list for a few days worth of meals. Buy the things on your shopping list. Once you see a couple of pieces of food going to waste, you will not want to waste the rest.
Motivate yourself by keeping yourself accountable.
#9 Document your Journey
Having a partner to work on your resolution with, and a supportive network around you can definitely help.
However, you might find that documenting your progress even further – using a visual method can gives you a stronger sense of achievement.
It is also something you can look at in the future and be proud of.
Ways to keep a progress tracker of your journey include:
- Journal or Bullet Journal
- Video stories
- Old-school paper graph checker (written)
What are YOUR most recently set goals (new habits)?
Why not share your own goals in the Comments section below?
I would love see what my readers are interested in changing this year!
Images by Matheus Ferrero and Marten Bjork