Everyone needs goals in life. Goals can help us improve our way of life, relationships, and finances. Setting goals is easy enough, but the real challenge is staying motivated to reach them. How can you reach your goals?
The first step in reaching your goals is to overcome fear of failure. It’s okay to not hit the mark every time. If you start out thinking you’ll never make it, guess what? You’re right. Henry Ford said “whether you believe you can, or you believe you can’t, you’re right either way.” What does this mean? Believe you can reach your goals. Fear of failure can sometimes prevent us from reaching for a dream. Negative thoughts or past “failures” may overwhelm us to the point of delayed start. If you must think about past attempts, look at them from the perspective of what did you learn? What value can you get from the experience? Did you learn something that you can now put into practice for success?
The second stage is to identify what goal you want to set. What do you want? Why do you want it? How will it impact your life? What action do you need to take to get what you want? These are questions you can ask yourself to get started. For instance, if you want to learn another language, stop smoking, travel more, etc., answer the questions for yourself. Write them down and refer to them often. Especially when you feel your desire failing because it’s become harder, taking longer than you’d hoped, or your getting discouraged.
Now that you have a list of things you want, analyze your list and ask yourself additional questions like: Which goal seems the most exciting? Which one is the most challenging? Which one will make me proudest of myself if I achieve it? The best goals for you are the ones that mean the most to you! What could you do in the next couple of days that would help you reach a small, micro-step toward your goal? If you can, think of as many steps as you can to get to your desired goal. AND now …
Start planning! A simple plan helps you stay focused. Remember those questions you asked yourself. Why do you want it? How do you want to feel as you accomplish your goals? It helps to write everything down on paper. Start by listing your goal. Then set a reasonable deadline by which time you hope to have accomplished your goal. Oh, yes, you need a deadline to keep yourself accountable. If you can think of potential opportunities that might slow your progress, plan ways to overcome them before they happen. Finally, make a commitment to yourself by signing and dating the paper. I know this may feel silly, but trust me … it’s a promise to yourself. Would you break a promise to your best friend? No, I didn’t think so. Why then would you break a promise to your future self?
After doing this, get busy! Plans without action will keep you right where you are. Do something every day that will bring you one step closer, no matter how small. Celebrate your successes! Adapt and overcome but keep moving forward. Even the best of plans will need modified as you go on your path to your dream. After all, if you are driving a long distance, you must stop to get gas, but where may be based on what’s available.
And finally, close your eyes and imagine yourself EVERY day with your goal achieved! Doesn’t that feel wonderful?