Are you 100% satisfied with where you are in your life? Things couldn’t be more perfect?
Or, if you are like the vast majority of us, are there things – a LOT of things – that could be better…or at least improved upon?
Assuming you do want change, and you are able to see those improvements in your life, what would your life look like a year from now? How about five years from now?
Got that successful “future you” and improved life situation pictured in your head? Good! Now, here’s the tricky part. How do you get there from here?
Remember all those New Year’s resolutions that came to naught? “I’m going to lose thirty pounds this year,” or “This is the year I am going to get my finances in order!”
But it didn’t quite happen.
If it were so darn easy to decide on a goal and make it a reality, this whole life thing would be a piece of cake – that somebody else baked for us.
Why Is It So Hard to Reach Your Goals?
Our brains are wired in such a way that we are innately attracted to the path of least resistance. We are more inclined towards the easy instead of the hard…and to the quick thing instead of the thing that takes a long time to complete.
And why not? It’s a lot easier on the legs to walk downhill instead of up…but in this metaphor, the prize (our goal) is never the downward, quick and easy path.
Everything worthwhile is uphill. Nothing that is good in life comes easy. And very little that comes easy is good. -John Maxwell
We have to be of the mindset that the best things in life – our individual lives – are worth striving for with sustained effort – over time.
Even with such a realization, obstacles persist, mostly between our ears, like…
- Fear. Fear of failure to be precise. Everybody grapples with fear. Remember…courage is action despite your fears. Everything you really want in life is on the other side of fear.
- Perfectionism. Maybe you never even get out the gate towards your goals because you think your plan will never be perfect enough. You “get ready… aim… aim… aim some more” and never fire. Guess what…your plan won’t ever be perfect, and that’s not an excuse not to try.
- Negative thinking. When it comes to flashes of negativity that appear in your mind from time to time, remember, you are really not your thoughts. You are a being who has thoughts. Let them pass, and don’t become attached to those negative thoughts. All they will do is create problems and regrets in your life.
- Feeling overwhelmed. It can look like an awfully long way from here to there. So instead of focusing on the whole goal, focus on the next step… then the next one. Keep in mind, the journey can be just as enjoyable and exciting as the destination.
OK, you’ve got a goal in mind, a desire a reach (over time) and you won’t let the above pitfalls stop you. Now what?
5 Simple Step to Reaching Your Goals
Here are the 5 simple steps to getting where you want to go. I call them simple in the sense that they are not rocket science. But, simple does not necessarily mean easy.
1. Start with stating your goal. Maybe your goal is to get your finances in order, quit your job and become financially independent…or become emotionally, physically and spiritually fit. Whatever it is, be specific!
For example, don’t just say “make more money” or “get in shape”. Come up with a specific goal: “Generate $5,000 more in the next 12 months” or “Lose 10 pounds over the next 45 days…” Being specific helps shape the how of the plan.
2. Brainstorm options and plans. What do you need to do to make step one a reality? List it all out. Spitball it…no answer is too absurd.
3. Prioritize. When you’re done brainstorming out a list, figure out what needs to get crossed off, and then prioritize what remains.
- Perhaps your goal is to get your finances in order, and “figure out where the money is going every month” rose to the top of the list. Now, you have your first task – to look at your bank ledger and see where the money’s going. Step two: Make a budget and see how to adjust your spending, and so on…
- If the goal is to become financially independent, maybe you’ve identified creating a side-hustle as the short-term goal. But before you can get proficient at the side-hustle you need to get up to speed and learn the nuts and bolts of the market your side-hustle serves. that means…
Find an online class will be your first task. Then, take the online course. Then, follow the recommendations of the online course. Just lay out the logical steps you need to take.
4. Plan to Fail. Despite the best of intentions and the greatest plan, things can and often do attempt to foil your plans. Let’s face it… since very few things in life go according to plan, you might as well prepare ahead of time to keep things on track.
One proven technique is used by the astronauts: leveraging constructive worry.
Let our advance worrying become our advance thinking and planning. – Winston Churchill
In a nutshell, constructive worry has you list out all the obstacles, pitfalls and potential disasters. Then, you develop counter-measures to help keep you on track.
For example, if you are training for a 10K run, you might anticipate having trouble getting past your snooze alarm for your morning training session. In anticipation, you set up your alarm across the room so you HAVE to get out of the bed to shut the noisy thing off.
In addition, you place your running shoes and clothes right next to the alarm. Studies have shown that when you make it easier to do the right thing, and harder to do the wrong thing, you will have greater success reaching your goals.
5. Daily actions
What you want (the goal you desire) and how you are going to get it (your plan) – are only going to get you so far. Your vision of where you see yourself in the future won’t amount to diddly without the other half of the equation…ACTION!
Action is essential. If action is absent, then there is no turning your dreams into a reality.
Without action, goals and dreams are just nice intentions.
Now, here’s the secret sauce to supercharging your actions that make your goals/dreams a reality: your daily routine.
You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of success is found in your daily routine. – John C. Maxwell
- Once you have decided what you want to change or improve in your life…
- You have a plan to start executing your quest…
- You’ve prioritized the tasks necessary to get to where you want to go…
… then you must INCORPORATE THOSE TASKS INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE. In other words, make working on your plan a daily event, the same way that eating is.
Stay On Tracking With the Daily Routine
We must intentionally (ruthlessly) choose every day or week to incorporate some small task that will help us keep moving forward toward our bigger goal.
One of the first things you should make a part of every day for the rest of your life is a daily planning session. The goal – to identify what it is that you are going to get done today.
The idea and promise of the daily planning session are to pick out the small, incremental steps that need to be completed to keep moving you forward.
Fret not if your day does not go according to plan. Sometimes it won’t. But as with life, do your best and adjust as you go and pick up where you left off the next day…at you daily planning session.
Never forget – life is a long game, consisting of thousands of small steps.
Achievement is the result of countless little commitments born out through daily action and bolstered by the vision of where it is that you want to be. Desirable future outcomes are forged today – the only day you ever have – not yesterday, or tomorrow – TODAY.
Do something every day to move closer to your goal. Commit to taking incremental steps. Make it a habit! As you do, guess what? You don’t have to think about it, decide to do it, exercise grit and willpower to keep going. Because it’s a habit that is a part of your daily routine, you’ll just do it.
One day, perhaps five years from now, you’ll look back at all the things you did to get you where you are. And with great satisfaction, you’ll realize…it all adds up over time.
What insights have you learned on reaching goals that would help others to know?
Editor’s Note: This article was provided by writer Collin Hinds.