Setting goals is a great way to help you create a meaningful life and boost your motivation and confidence.
Here are 6 key steps to setting yourself up for success and crossing those long-awaited goals off your list:
A key component to the success of your goals is understanding your core values. Once you identify your values, you can set goals that specifically align with your unique guiding principles and beliefs. This will position you to find success in following through with the actions that will bring you to your goals. If you are unsure of your values or if your actions and goals are incongruent with your values, you will find that any endeavor will feel like a struggle and will ultimately be unsuccessful. To learn more about this, and to identify your core values and how they differ from goals, call us to book in with our therapist Brittany – she LOVES working with individuals to explore this aspect of their life.
Plan out all the components of your goal. If your goal is time sensitive, identify the goal’s end date and work backwards dividing the task into smaller, achievable micro goals. It is imperative that each stage is written down in detail, somewhere that you will see them daily. Be realistic and honest with yourself. If you ignore this step, the likelihood of reaching your goal diminishes greatly because you’ll be caught off guard when unexpected challenges arise. With careful planning, you’ll be able to think through each step and identify any potential challenges and plan accordingly. One way to ensure your plan is successful is to reach out to someone who has experience in the area of your goal, or to find a professional with relevant expertise.
This step might seem obvious, but can be overlooked. On the other hand, if you skip the first two steps and go straight to commitment, your overall dedication will be hard to maintain long-term. As mentioned in the first step, make sure you align your goals to your values. When our goals are intrinsically tied to our core values, it is much easier to follow through when motivation decreases. Another great word for commitment is devoted. Imagine as you set goals and design your plan to complete them, that you are devoted to this goal. Devotion means whole-hearted follow through; it means that you don’t give up when it gets tough. Try placing visual reminders and entrusting loved ones with your vision to help support you when times get tough.
This is finally the point when you can start working towards your goals! We’ve all experienced messaging that suggests it only takes 21 days to build a habit, but in reality, this important step can take up to a year – all depending on the habits and discipline necessary to bring your goals to life. It is important to realize that within the action stage, there may need to be times of recommitment to the goals and reorganizing the plan. The process is not linear, there will be success and failure as you work towards your goals. The action is where you put your grit and stamina to the test and see how your values and your perseverance bring your dreams into reality.
5. Reflect and Adjust
The journey towards your goal will most likely not go to plan. It’s not a question of whether you might experience setbacks, but rather a question of how you will move forward after a setback. Failure, challenges and struggles are all components of personal growth because change is never easy, even when it seems like it should be. Honest reflection is an important part of moving towards goals. Remember to realign yourself back to your core values and adjust your plan. If you have experienced failure, CONGRATULATIONS! You have successfully determined a course of action that did not work. The next question to ask yourself is how you are going to continue on. Explore the things that aren’t working for you and adjust them. This is also a great time to seek support from someone you trust or has experience in this area. There is a powerful saying that says ‘Be strict about your goals, but flexible in your approach.’
In the planning stage, we mentioned breaking your larger goal into micro-goals that are achievable. In doing this, as you work towards the big goal, you will be able to see success and accomplish the micro-goals you have set for yourself. When you reach a micro-goal, make sure to celebrate your success. Congratulate yourself and acknowledge the hard work and dedication that it took to get there. When you take the time to celebrate your success, you will be even more motivated to keep going because success feels good! Further, when you acknowledge the personal characteristics that it took to reach each goal, you also build a mindset of personal growth and trust in yourself that you can do hard things!