Do you have any friends that just seem to have all of their shit together on social media?
You know…the ones graduating from law school, starting killer jobs, launching companies, buying homes, getting married, giving talks and gallivanting around the globe. They’re the ones I’ve been Facebook-stalking for the last 45 minutes while I put off writing this blog post. The ones that I’m simultaneously envious of and excited for when I see how well they seem to be moving into adulthood.
Life is busy, and if I somehow have time and energy left over after coming home from college, I’m much more likely to go for a run or watch Netflix than I am to sit down and spend an hour mapping out my life goals.
Time and again, I find myself falling into the trap of comparing myself to others. Frozen by inaction because I think to myself, “I will never be perfect,” or “nobody will accept me.” Who can relate?
So how do you and I tap into that inner motivating force that tells us to go out there and accomplish goals even when fear and rejection feel crippling?
As I’ve worked to set clearer goals, I put this system in place and want to share with you. It’s helped me immensely as I’ve looked for ways to improve my overall level of happiness in my day-to-day life.
5 Steps To Achieve your goals
Reduce the number of outside distractions in your life, and cut out as many decisions as you can to leave more time (and energy) for creative pursuits. This means cutting out activities that reduce your focus or affect your mood in specific ways. I stopped listening to the news in the morning because I found that it depressed me and continued to distract me throughout the day. I also made an effort to avoid television after work during the week, instead, I choose to read something or talk to someone (can be anybody a friend or a family member).
This requires the most effort out of all five steps, but it’s hands down the most important. Spend 30 minutes to an hour thinking about what you want to accomplish in the next 3-6 months (short-term goals). Then what you want to accomplish in the next year or more (long-term goals). Write these goals down and put them somewhere where you will see them every day. Sometimes it is easiest to start with what you want to accomplish in the long run, and then reverse engineering those goals to fit your needs.
Do something. Do anything. Stop thinking and act. I think we humans are programmed to procrastinate. If we fear being ridiculed for our work or have little to no experience, we’re much less likely to take action in an area. Still, the best way to improve is through practice, and practice takes action.
Make a pact with yourself to do something each day that will enhance or improve your life. Whether it’s taking action by making a step towards accomplishing one of your short-term goals.
Take one action or create one thing that takes you closer to accomplishing one of your goals.
Commit to reviewing your progress on at least a semi-regular basis, be it once a month or once a year. Take note of what worked well and what didn’t. Figure out what you can improve next time around. I do this once every six months so. This way I have the opportunity to make progress on my goals before I perform a thorough review.
After the review, I would realise that I have achieved some of the goals whereas there are some goals which still have to be achieved. This is normal, and you shouldn’t be disheartened if you set your sights too high at first. You may, in fact, realize that by setting optimistic stretch goals you’re more motivated to perform and do amazing things.
As you make progress on your goals and start to change the way you think about the strategies you implement, take the best practices you’ve developed and translate them to other parts of your life. Maybe you’ve made huge progress on your personal health goals, but you’re still looking to change your career path. Take the motivational techniques you’ve developed and translate them into a job search or the creation of a new business plan. Once you’ve developed these skills in one area, the same framework will support you in enhancing other aspects of your life.
This may seem simple, but you’d be surprised by just how many people never think all the way through what they want or how they’ll get it.
The steps I’ve outlined above may not be right for everyone, but the reasoning behind them is sound.