6 easy steps to help you achieve your goals
As Christmas disappears, the New Year beckons and most of us will be thinking about the goals we wish to achieve next year.
Like many of us, I am going with the old favourite – lose weight/get fit. So what can I do differently this year because, let’s be honest, I didn’t mange this in 2013. I spent this year, looking at my scales and adopting that lovely Spanish habit of “mañana, mañana”. First things first, I spent the last few weeks dusting off my coaching books and manuals. Yes, I am a Life Coach and great at helping others to achieve goals but have definitely gone for the not practising what I preach method this year. Does anyone else relate to that? How many of you have supported friends or family members to reach goals this year but sadly overlooked your own targets?
I know I am not alone so what can we do differently this year?
Write down your goals
If you have a goal in your head, this is just a wish or a desire. A wish does not give you the motivation to get up and do. Believe me, I have so many wishes. I wish I was slimmer, I wish I was fitter, I wish my garden looked like an advert for Home and Garden and not Beginners Guide to Gardening, etc. Having these wishes hasn’t helped me to achieve them and it won’t help you either.
Writing the goals down is the difference between saying “I would like to run 5k without collapsing” and “I will run 5k without collapsing”. It is a commitment.
Some people write their goals in large print and put them on the fridge door or bathroom mirror; others don’t like people knowing what their goals are so they write them on a document on their laptop or in a note on their phone.
It doesn’t matter where you write it, it just needs to be written down. Write them in the comments below if you like.
Be more specific
Writing “lose weight” or “be more active” is the same as my “mañana mañana” method. It won’t commit you to anything. So be specific.
“I will lose ….. lb/kg by December”
“I will lose weight by … eating low fat/low calorie/low carb/non-processed/raw/juices or whatever method you know works for you”
“I will do 30 mins exercise 5 days a week”
“I will take the stairs at all times”
“I will write at least one post a week for my blog”
Whatever it is that you aim to do, write it down and be specific.
Write down WHY you want to achieve the goals
Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to write one post a week? Why do you want to learn another language?
What difference will this make to you? Why is it important to you?
If you want to achieve them because your other half says you should, or because you think society says you should, then let’s be honest – it isn’t going to happen. Your goal has to be something YOU want to achieve and you should know why you want to achieve it. Maybe you want more energy to run around after your children or maybe you want to buy clothes in any shop without having to hover at the “plus size” section. Maybe you want your blog to take off and increase its readership. Maybe you want to learn another language as your company is expanding and there is the chance for promotion.
Think why you want to achieve the goals and write this down when you are writing your goals. It will help to encourage you on the days when it seems easier to pack it all in.
Have some fun goals
Don’t just write down the goals that you feel you have to achieve, think about the goals you would like to achieve. Two of my goals for 2014 are to make more time for coffee with friends and also to have a minimum of one pamper treatment for me each month. They are what I call “goals for the soul” – goals that will make me feel happier or better now. Yes, losing weight and getting fit will help me but having a coffee with friends bring instant results and a pamper treatment once a month will make me feel more “yummy mummy” rather than “crummy mummy”, even if only for the day.
Having some goals which give you an instant lift is so important. One goal I achieved in 2013 was to read more inspirational books. I have read a long long list of inspirational books this year including everything by Brene Brown, The Road Less Travelled by M Scott Peck, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and I am currently reading Change your Habits, Change your Life by Wayne Dyer. Some of these I have downloaded on Kindle, some are paperbacks and quite a few are audio books. I love listening to them when I am in the bath, winding down at bedtime and even when attacking my cooker or kitchen. Reading these books has helped me to re-evaluate what is important in life, it has given me a new focus and also helped me to make some decisions I had been putting off for some time.
We all face barriers to achieving our goals. Some of them we can prepare for in advance.
So if, for example, you know that when the kids have gone to bed and you have some quiet time, you hit the fridge or cupboards, then think now about how you can do something different. Perhaps you can take up a new hobby, do a jigsaw, knit, even learn a new language. Anything that will keep you occupied. By introducing a new activity, instead of just saying “don’t eat once the kids are in bed”, you add something to your life instead of just removing something.
Maybe you are a single parent and childcare stops you going to the gym, so look online at gym free exercise routines. You can find 30 day challenges, downloadable plans and there are several articles on exercising at home without equipment.
Maybe you are like many others and just decide what to eat for tea/dinner/supper at 4pm and just use what is in the fridge. So how about, writing a planned menu for the week. This will help when shopping and also it is one less thing to think about each day.
Write down all the barriers you can think of and also your plans on how to overcome these. One of my favourite plans was a friend who wrote a “to do” list of all the odd jobs that needed doing at home, the jobs we all put off (filing paperwork, cleaning tiles, sorting out the “drawer”, etc) and she put these on her fridge. Every time she went to “pick” or “hit the fridge”, she had to choose one of the items off her to do list instead.
She ended up slimmer, healthier and with a house that sparkled.
Don’t do it alone
Having someone to share goals with helps immensely. That is not someone who is aiming for the same goal as you but someone who will support you and hold you accountable to yourself. If you have a bad morning, how easy is it to say “oh well, I’ll start again tomorrow” instead of ” oh well, I have the rest of the day to improve”? Very easy. However, if you have someone to share goals with, then they become your “accountability-buddy” and they will be the person saying “you have the rest of the day to improve”. If you are like many of us, it is easy to let yourself down but not so easy to let others down. If you have a buddy telling you that you have the rest of the day to improve, then you are more likely to try to improve because you don’t want to fail them.
I can hear lots of people shouting “No no no, you have to do this for yourself, because you want to do it, not because someone else is telling you to do it” – and yes, I agree. But doing it for yourself does not mean doing it alone. Having support, in a way that benefits you, is how you will succeed. If this is an accountability buddy, then grab one. If the very thought of anyone else knowing your goals brings you out in a cold sweat then start a journal where you write/video how your day went and what you did/didn’t achieve; or just write a score out of 10 in your diary on how you felt you did.
And finally, remember………….