A lot of people go through life working hard in whatever it is they do, but still feel that they are not getting anywhere because they do not have any direction or plan that they can work towards. We are living each day without any vision of the future or where we want to see ourselves one week, one month, one year or one decade down the road. By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and you’ll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind.
Setting goals will give you a vision and motivation to work towards something you desire to achieve or have been wanting to do for a while, but just can’t seem to get started. Setting a goal will allow you to stay focus and concentrate on what you need to do and what you need to avoid and help you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of your life.
Settings goals is easy, but following through and achieving that goal can take a lot of determination. Do not just write down a goal for fun or just because everyone else is making their own New Year’s resolution (every year the gyms are always packed for the first couple of weeks after New Years and then they just slowly die down). Write down a goal that is meaningful to you, something that you desire or want for yourself that can benefit any area of your life. Tell someone close to you about your goal so that they can hold you accountable if you slip and help put you back on the road to success. There is a lot of information out there about how to ‘properly’ set a goal, following different guidelines or formats, but I am not going to get into that because it is unnecessary. Just make sure your goal is measureable, attainable or realistic and set a date for when you want to achieve that goal. Try to keep things simple and don’t set too many goals for yourself, don’t have more than you can keep track of and focus your efforts into. Whether you have small goals, bigger goals or lifetime goals make sure you have a plan to achieve that goal by setting daily or weekly goals that you can achieve more frequently to move towards the end goal. It is better to set smaller attainable goals that lead towards a bigger goal because this sets up more opportunity for reward, motivation and direction to work towards the big goal. For example, if your goal is to be at an optimal weight for your height in one year (for example 130 pounds is an optimal weight for a 5’5 woman), then start with smaller goals to achieve that goal. Smaller goals to start with can be, for example, to only eat junk food or desert once a week, or to run a mile twice per week. Then you can keep building on those goals; only eat junk food or desert once a month, or to run 2 miles three times a week. Another example, maybe your overall goal is to spend more time with your kids, therefore you must set smaller measurable goals to achieve this, such as; to spend an hour a day with my kids playing, talking or whatever, to take them on a trip once a year, to have a family movie night once a week etc. Just make sure you always have a plan with a set date/time for when you want to achieve something and how you are going to do it and then just do it!
The first goal you set for yourself will always be the hardest because you have to change your life so drastically to get started, but once you are well into working on your goal or you have completed your goal you now have the knowledge, resources and the routine to keep moving forward and building on your goal. So for whatever reason you do not achieve your goal, do not get down on yourself or feel that you will never be able to because at least you took the time and accepted where you can improve yourself and made an attempt on doing something that will benefit you. And the next time you set out to achieve that goal again you can avoid the mistakes you made the first time you attempted it. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
And if you do successfully achieve your goal do not stop because then you will slowly fall back to where you started, but rather keep building on that goal. For example, if your goal was to lose 50 pounds and you complete that goal, but don’t set another goal after, whether it is to keep working out and eating healthy to maintain your current weight, lose more or run a marathon in a year, than you will find yourself to slowly start to fall back to where you started and putting the weight back on.
Don’t just go through life living day by day not knowing where you will be in the future, but challenge yourself. We are hard-wired to be lazy, to seek pleasure and move away from pain, but go beyond this and separate yourself from ‘average’ and focus your energy in working towards something meaningful that can improve your life. I mean really work at it and hold yourself accountable for when you start to fall of this path or loose motivation because when you do complete your goal it will give you confidence in yourself and what you can do in this life if set your mind to it. Everyone has something that they can improve in their lives. So I challenge you to really think about your life and your health and just look at where you want to improve yourself and set an attainable goal that will give you some direction in life and some more motivation to get up in the morning. Success is not about how much money you have or what kind of car you drive, success is about setting a goal for yourself and achieving it.