Some people make achieving their goals look super simple, right? I mean, there are people who make a goal and seem to knock it out of the park, whereas you tell yourself you’re going to go for a swim at 6 am and hit snooze until it’s too late, am I right? Or are we just talking about what I’ve done a million times?
Maybe a bit of both.
So, the question is, how do we make achieving your goals inevitable. This is a big thing that we talk about in coaching, because there is nothing more demotivating than to set a goal only to fail yourself.
Side note – it’s not too late to join my 121 Day Challenge to help you power through that goal you want to crush. Sign up here.
Whatever your goal, here are my top 5 strategies for achieving them.
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1. Know the Path
There’s work hard, and there’s work smart. I’m so fed up of hearing influencers in the personal development or entrepreneurial space say that all it takes to achieve your dreams is hard work. I call bull on that concept. Why? Because we’re all coming from very different circumstances. You could barely be making ends meet, so finding time to work on your goal could be ten times more challenging than it would be for another person. You could be going through a traumatic time or a season in life that puts up more barriers for you. You could be from a less privileged background. There are a ton of reasons why ‘work hard’ is not all it’s going to take to achieve your goal.
Does that make it impossible? No. It just means that the timing, the path, and the circumstances might be substantially different for you. Work hard doesn’t always cut it.
So what does it take? That’s why you need to figure out the path. Finding your road map might be as easy as a Google search, or it might take some real digging in and interviewing people who have done what you want to do. If you want to run a 10k, go online and find a training plan. If you want to start your own business, read, listen to podcasts and talk to real life entrepreneurs. Find out how to get from point A to point B so that you understand the path both in terms of what it takes in action items, finances, mental strength, etc.
2. Break it Down
Now that you know the path, how can you break it down into bite-sized chunks? The way that I suggest breaking your goals down is to have weekly action items, 90-day action items, and the overarching goal. Weekly helps you focus on the here and now, what you’re doing today, tomorrow and this weekend. It helps you realize how you need to reprioritize your life in the immediate future and what needs to shift to make room for your goal.
90 days is a long enough period of time to make significant progress on a goal, while not feeling totally out of reach. The overarching goal can feel intimidating or overwhelming, but 90 days is a season that you can really focus on. Then by the end of that 90 days you can reset your goals and action items for the next season, until you ultimately achieved your goal.
3. Have Accountability
The true power to achieving your goal is in accountability. There is a slew of available research that proves the benefit of having an accountability partner, be it a coach, a mentor, a friend, etc. The results of the these studies range from an increased likelihood of achieving your goal anywhere from 50-95%, depending on factors such as the type of accountability partner, whether the meeting is scheduled, paid, etc.
At the end of the day, you need to find the form of accountability that works for you, your budget and your needs. NaNoWriMo, for example, is the annual National Novel Writing Month challenge that happens each November. While you can participate on your own and challenge yourself to write 80,000 words, many participants state the benefit of having a group or a ‘cabin’ in their April version, to help propel an author towards their goal.
Coaching is another great way to achieve your goals, and I don’t say this only because I am a coach, but because I have seen firsthand the results that my clients have achieved. Read some of their killer results here. There is something truly powerful about a commitment to yourself, combined with a financial and a calendar commitment.
4. Create Inevitable Conditions
Let’s get real about this one. What is it that you need to do FOR YOU to make sure that you’re going to follow through? Perhaps the last step of accountability is all that it’s going to take for you. Perhaps you need a little bit more. We’ve all heard about the whole set out your gym clothes the night before (or even sleep in them for some people), but know yourself – will that get you to the gym? For me, it rarely did. It helped, but it rarely was the defining factor.
Currently I’m on a fitness streak so great that I’ve never been this consistent before. Why is that? Well, I now go to barre 3-4 times a week and it’s all because you have to sign up for sessions online and if you don’t cancel within a certain window, you are charged $16. Sixteen bucks is a big deal y’all. That’s the equivalent of four days of Starbucks for me. Case in point last week, the only time on a certain day that I could schedule for barre was a six am class. Trust me, the baby woke up in the night and my son had a nightmare, so I did NOT want to go. I wanted to sleep in so badly, but the $16 cancellation fee was ringing in my ears so I got my butt up and out. And you know what? I’m so glad I went. It was a cool morning, I drove while the glorious red sun was rising, and I felt set up for the day.
Another example is that I wanted to finish a particular book that I was studying. Finding time to read is hard with little ones around, so to make it inevitable, I made sure that I always kept the book handy. No, I didn’t have hour long stretches to read, but I grabbed five minutes here, ten minutes there.
What is your $16 cancellation fee? Is it scheduling something into your calendar? Is it meeting a friend to work on your projects together? Is it that you’re not allowed your “carrot” until you do that task? Making your goal inevitable won’t always be easy, but figure out what is possible and what will work for you and your personality.
5. Celebrate Little Wins
How often do we set goals only to cross them off and move on to the next thing? If we don’t celebrate the wins, no matter how big or small, how do we expect to make progress and stay motivated? This is why every coaching session that I do starts with asking what went well this week for you? It’s so easy for us to focus on the negative, to say where we fell, but what about where we rose to the challenge?
The key is also to focus on how to celebrate in a way that is meaningful to you? Maybe celebrating means that you treat yourself to a nice walk and a coffee. Maybe it means that you get to go on a girls night out. Maybe it means that you buy that special something when you’ve reached a big milestone. Maybe it means you get some well-deserved time off. Maybe it means that you shout it from the rooftop.
How do you like to celebrate, then set up those milestone rewards. I recently read The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and he talked about this being core to so many programs, and I’ll share the FitBit example. If you’re a FitBit owner, you know that you frequently get notifications when you reach a milestone. You’ve climbed the equivalent of the Eiffel Tower, you’ve walked the length of the Great Wall of China. It’s these small celebrations that trigger the dopamine in your brain to send you that surge of good feelings, which help to trigger further motivation. What is your milestone? How will you mark it?
Would love to hear how you’re rocking your 121 day challenge. Share your progress on social media by tagging me @girltrieslife and using #gtl121strong