Setting a New Years Resolution is a habit for most people. Unfortunately, the habits that follow are what determines if those resolutions are ever met. I am a goal junkie. I have goals ranging from 20 years, to monthly, to hourly. Below are my Top 10 Tips to setting a goal and making it become a reality!
1. Don’t Make a NY Resolution!
Hear me out: What I mean by this, is don’t JUST make a New Year’s resolution. 12 months is a very long time for goal setting. If you want to get in shape in the next year, that leaves quite a bit of wiggle room to procrastinate, indulge in bad habits, and ultimately forget. Try to set more short term goals, such as 90 days. Having a 90 day goal is a great way to spur you into action as well as provide a checkpoint for you to evaluate your progress.
Share your goals with others! If no one else knows about your goals, then you don’t have much skin in the game. There’s not that much at stake if you fail or decide to quit. Telling someone you trust about your goals and asking them to help keep you accountable is critical- especially on the days when you’ve lost your motivation.
3. Have a Blue Print
When setting goals, it’s important to be specific. If your goal is too general, it will be difficult to track your progress, or to even know where to begin. Let’s say your goal is to get in better shape this coming year. Instead of leaving it at that, you could make it your goal to walk 3 times a week for the next 3 months. This makes the goal time sensitive and it gives you a plan to actually accomplish what you are working towards, therefore setting you on the path to success!
I am a big fan of stretching and pushing myself. However, it is crucial that you take your goals seriously and actually BELIEVE that you can attain them. If you don’t think you can accomplish them, you won’t. Set goals that push you to be better and work harder, while also being realistic. If you’re not a serious writer, you probably won’t get your first book published this year. But if you love writing and want to devote more time to it, you can set an hour a day to finish that novel you started 3 years ago.
Visualization is proven to be effective in accomplishing your goals. As the saying goes, ‘The stories you tell yourself are always true.” Your brain does not know the difference between the truth and a lie. Your thoughts will either drag you down or move you forward. When you visualize achieving your goal, and allow yourself to experience and enjoy that feeling, your brain believes that it has already accomplished it and will subconsciously guide your behaviors in the direction you want to go. You act the part before you become the part. Visualization is the first step in the process. Try visualizing once in the morning and once at night. You will be shocked by how it changes your attitudes and behaviors.
As mentioned above, your brain does not know the difference between a truth and a lie. However, YOU do. Saying affirmation to yourself is a powerful tool, but only if you don’t sabotage your own efforts. Let’s say you are a salesman, and your goal is to hit a certain promotion this month. You can repeat affirmations to yourself such as “I am the lead salesman of my company.” Now, let’s say you are actually the bottom salesman in your company and you struggle to allow this affirmation into your mind without immediately doubting and telling yourself it’s not true. If you really struggle with belief, then you can use a trick that I learned from Ray Higdon, a highly successful multi-million dollar earner in the network marketing industry. He suggests, that if you really struggle with belief to ask yourself a question relating to your goals. For example, instead of “I am the leading salesman in my company.” You can say “Why am I the leading salesman in my company?” Just for that moment, your brain is forced to ponder that question and be positively effected by it.
7. Decide What Controls You
Fear, doubt, anger, pain- these are all emotions. My mom used to always tell me, “Don’t let feelings drive the train.” You can decide which thoughts and emotions you are going to identify with. Just because they happen, does not mean they have to control you. Let your logical side drive the train- operate on what you know is true and right. Although it may be difficult to break lifelong patterns of negative or unhealthy thinking, you can work on only thinking on what is true and what moves you forward. Your thoughts will drive your actions, and then lastly, little by little, your feelings will follow.
8. WHAT vs. WHO
What you want to accomplish is not nearly as strong a motivator as who you want to be. Do you want to be someone who never gave up? Who pursued their dreams in the midst of obstacles? Who is an inspiration to others? WHO is much more powerful. Ray Higdon says that who he wants to become is his boss, not what he wants to accomplish. Ask yourself who you want to become on your journey to achieving your goals. Who can you look at in the mirror and be proud of at the end of the day? If you don’t achieve your goal in the desired time frame, will you still be proud of the lessons you learned and the person you became?
Positive thinking is key to avoiding discouragement and self doubt (the opposite of affirmations). Here’s a few tricks from ray Higdon on how to flip your thinking into being more positive: Add the word YET to the end of your negative thinking. Example: If you’re thinking “I’m not where I want to be.” Try changing it to “I’m not where I want to be YET.” Feel the difference? Another thing you can do is add an affirmation onto the end of your negative thought. “I’m not where I want to be.” Or, “I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m getting closer everyday.”
10. Embrace the Journey
Working toward our goals can be exhausting when we only gain energy from achieving them. Learning to embrace and appreciate the journey to your goal will allow you to enjoy life along the way and get the most out of the entire experience. As I mentioned earlier, WHO you are becoming is more important than WHAT you are accomplishing. Maybe getting into shape is harder than you thought, or making the money you want is taking longer than you had hoped. You may have set backs, but if you can become a better person in the process. isn’t that worth every obstacle and every low point? Character is created through trials. Enjoy the journey and allow it to add even more value to the destination.