Falling short of your goals? You’re in good company. Most do, and the effect is cumulative— missed goals are de-motivators, and the reasons for missing them can quickly become reasons to give up the fight and flatline your progress.
To keep today’s resolutions from becoming tomorrow’s disappointments, follow these five proven enhancers to your goal setting journey.
Set better goals.
The reasons for missed goals fall into one of two categories: there’s a problem with your goal or a problem with your process. You can cut yourself a break by making sure your goals are reasonable, attainable, and within your control.
Break larger goals into smaller pieces.
Big goals give us a reason to wake up in the morning, so aim big, but the larger your goal, the more likely it will be that it requires a sequence of smaller goals to achieve. Let your big goal, your outcome goal, be your guiding light, but focus on those smaller process goals to get you there. Ask yourself, what are three to five things I could do today that would make my ultimate goal more possible? Start there.
“Someday” is a terrible incentivizer, and “right now” isn’t much better. For each of your goals, set a reasonable, finite timeline for it to be completed. If it’s a routine goal—a goal you will need to hit repeatedly, like jogging four days each week—set a schedule. This will ensure that you’re getting moving and staying in motion, without feeling like you need to build your goal empire in a single day. Persistence is what wins this race, not speed. Whether hour by hour, day by day, or inch by inch, a consistent commitment is what will get you from where you are to where you want to be.
Focus on Controllables.
Generally speaking, as our goals get larger, they become less controllable. When possible, choose goals that are entirely within your control, remembering that we can control the process (30 minutes of cardio 4 days per week), but can’t always control the outcome (lose 30 pounds by March). If you stick with a larger, outcome-based goal, keep your focus on what you can control, and bear in mind the uncontrollables when creating your timeline—make space for the occasional setback or bad hop.
Post your goals in a prominent place to hold yourself to account, and importantly, tell someone about your goals. A simple declaration of goals has been shown to have a significant impact on goal attainment, so tell a friend, teammate, coach, or family member, especially one who will support you on your journey.
Simply making it this far into this article is a sign of your conviction to your goals this current or upcoming year. Direct that conviction toward the pursuit of your goals, following the five achievement boosters outlined above, and you’ll be celebrating your efforts by the time you read our next article.