The Key to Achieving Your Goals
“New year, new me” is a phrase we hear way too often at the start of a new year. It’s a fresh new leaf, turning a new page, the air is filled with optimism and opportunity. And then by January 31st, we’re just over it.
Why is it that some people manage to stick to their resolutions and achieve their goals, whereas others give up shortly after they start?
The simple answer is this:
For a goal to turn into reality, you have to work towards it every day, and to do that - you have to turn that daily action into a habit. It has to be so much ingrained into your daily routine that you don’t even think about it, you just do it.
This article will provide you with the best tips for developing productive habits that bring you closer to your goals. It will include ways to motivate yourself to follow through with your actions. The end result will be a great way to get into the habit of achieving new goals and living a more successful lifestyle.
tip #1: Know your ‘why’
It is a proven fact that most people who are motivated to do something tend to follow through with their actions. You may even think that this is just common sense, but the truth is that there are many people out there who lack the motivation to accomplish anything at all.
People that fail to see results because they lack motivation to actually take action are not alone. They are in fact the majority, according to research conducted by University of Pennsylvania psychologists.
The research found that people who lack the motivation to follow through with their goals and aspirations are actually more likely to give up before they have succeeded at all. The reason is that they are unwilling to put in the extra time and effort that is required to achieve results. So success is often not so much about talent, and skill it’s about consistency and following through.
Or in other words: “Hustle beats talent when talent doesn't hustle.” What is the solution? Know why you’re setting this particular goal for yourself in the first place. What will its achievement give you? Is it money, a sense of accomplishment, more freedom…? Whatever it is, write it down and put it somewhere where you can look at it every single day, so you never lose focus and forget your motivation.
tip #2: Start small
You’ve probably heard it before that "Habit is second nature." What this means is that once you establish a good habit, it will become almost impossible for you to stop doing it or even slow down your performance of it. This is true whether you are an expert musician, a world-class athlete, or someone who wants to lose weight or start their own business.
In the case of developing good habits, one proven way to do this is by establishing small goals and then working your way up to the larger goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds, one way to go about this would be to decide to lose 1 pound per week. After three months of following this plan, you would have lost 12 pounds. From there, you could decide to change your goal to lose 2 pounds per week. And after another three months, you would have lost 24 pounds. And so on.
The point is that by setting small, easily attainable goals, you will find it much easier to achieve the results that you want. And more importantly - to sustain them. On the other hand, if you set extremely difficult goals, you will find it nearly impossible to achieve them. The reason is that it is much more difficult to overcome a negative habit than it is to establish a positive one. This is why it is important to know how to break bad habits as well as how to develop good ones.
tip 3# Develop discipline
The first step to success is often the hardest step of all. In this case, the hardest step is actually developing the habit of getting things done.
It is no wonder that people who are unmotivated are also the people who are least likely to succeed. It takes a lot of energy and motivation to be successful. And, most people don't have that extra "oomph" that is required to make a move and actually achieve something.
However, once people develop the habit of getting things done, they will find that it becomes easier and easier to stay motivated. This is because they will have developed a "mental muscle" that will keep them going even when the "physical muscle" that is required to get things done is lacking.
They say motivation usually gets you started, but it’s a discipline that takes you to the finish line. How that discipline would look like is entirely up to you. Perhaps you are someone who needs an accountability partner - in which case find a buddy, who will check in on you and your goals daily. Or join a group or community. If you’re someone who’s more introverted, there are websites like Focusmate where you virtually work alongside someone. Another option would be an app like Done that helps you track your daily habit completion and reminds you if you’re not on track.
Last, but not least: Don’t sweat it.
If you fall off the wagon, you can always get back on. Give yourself grace and don’t wait for Monday or for January to start again. Every day is a new opportunity to start fresh. Good luck!