Have you ever felt like you were left behind halfway into the year? Heck, you don’t even have to wait till June, you probably have felt like your goals were non-existent just a few weeks after your well-intentioned New Year’s Resolution goal setting plans. We understand! You had such big plans for the upcoming year and somehow life got in the way and time just didn’t seem to be on your side. Don’t worry you’re not the only one that feels this way. In fact, the majority of the people that actually made the time for goal setting, end up falling off of the bandwagon just a few weeks or even days into their journey. So, how should you set goals in a way that sticks?
Easy Yet Effective Ways to Goal Setting & Sticking With It
Goal Setting Ahead of Time
Just like with any task, goal setting should be done ahead of time. You should feel like you have enough time to ponder on some things that you jotted down and really zoom into things that you really want to focus on this coming year. This may sound like a lot of work, but planning ahead actually helps you, in the long run, to make better decisions for the rest of your year because they will revolve around the goals that you wrote down.
So how do you categorize everything so it looks organized and readable when tackling your goal setting projects? The best way to do just that is to categorize your goals under a specific list. A few great goal setting categories to start with are Personal, Fitness, and Educational goals. This will help you to focus on specific areas and not feel like you’re all over the place. Set up very specific and sub-categories underneath your main goals as well. For instance, under personal you can include daily journaling, book reading, or joining a support group of your choosing and setting specific times on when you will participate. This is taking your goal setting strategies to a whole new level.
Make It Simple & Realistic
Most of the time we overextend ourselves and get too ambitious which causes us to fail miserably. This is why simplifying your goals and making them realistic is important in the long run. It’s good to push yourself beyond what you think you can do, but we’re talking about overextending in such a way that every time you look at the list of your goals it gives you anxiety. It would be nice to accomplish certain things like losing 40 pounds in a month, but let’s get real, unless you’re starving yourself, it just isn’t realistic. Keep your goal setting plan SMART.
Simple. Manageable. Actionable. Realistic. Tangible. Something like losing 5 pounds in a month is more realistic. As your body naturally fluctuates 1-3 pounds every day, it’s more realistic to lose a consistent 5 pounds in a month so your daily fluctuation actually shows the 5-pound loss.
This brings us to timelines. Timelines are important to keep you accountable. If you don’t set timelines then it will be less likely that you will ever accomplish those goals you want to accomplish. This is also where a realistic aspect comes into play. Break down your year into 3 and 6-month increments. List the timelines next to each goal that you’re working on. This will also help you to prioritize your year and the steps that you take each month towards accomplishing those goals.
Another great way to hit those important timelines is to have monthly reminders. Putting a small dry erase board on your fridge or in a location that you pass by several times a day can really help you see it visually and apply them. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelmingly long list but just a couple of items that you need to hit that month so that they stay top of mind. If you are near your computer or you have your phone on you more often than not set up the reminders at the same time you are writing down your goals as a gentle nudge to stay on track.
Weekly To-Do List
Most of us Moms carry a small calendar or we keep everything organized on our phone (well, at least most of the time). Adding your goals to your calendar will also be another great way to hit those small but important steps. When we step back and look at our yearly goals, it can seem very overwhelming because we see a large picture. However, by continuing to break it down into smaller, bite-sized actionable steps, it becomes much more realistic to accomplish.
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Most of us fail to realize that it is not something you can do overnight but it’s a compilation of those small things that you do in order to reach that big goal. This is why if making weekly to-do lists is not part of your routine, then it may be something that you want to start implementing sooner rather than later – especially if you are notorious for letting your goals fall by the wayside.
Review Your Goals After 6 Months
Reviewing your goal setting list 6 months into a year can really do two things for you. It’s is either going to push you to work harder or really surprise you at how much you ended up accomplishing 6 months into your year. This is why writing your goals down on paper is so important lest you forget.
Check Off Your Milestones
As you work hard towards your goals, do yourself a favor and start checking things off of your list. There is something amazing about a finished task that will push you to work harder and really give you the motivation that you need to keep going. Just like your daily to-do list, you should treat your goal list the same. Check it off as you accomplish specific milestones and hit certain timelines in your original goal setting.
Celebrate Small Achievements
Although it would be nice to have the ability to wave a magic wand and have everything accomplished, we must put in the hard work. There is something about working hard, accomplishing these things, and checking them off of your list that is incredibly gratifying. The feeling of accomplishment is amazing, don’t deny yourself this simple pleasure!
Reflect Back on Your Year
Closer to the end of the year, look over your goals and reflect on your journey. Write down your thoughts on what you accomplished and what you didn’t. Sometimes we don’t get everything accomplished and that’s ok. You can reflect on this year’s accomplishments and figure out what you can do better to be more productive next year. Every year is a new year to turn the page but also make adjustments in such a way that would bring you even better results than the year prior.
The time you take to reflect may be more powerful than the goals you originally set. You get to take a moment to learn about yourself, your habits, your strengths, and your weaknesses. Reflect on you and really take it to heart to apply your strengths to the next year’s goal setting strategies and where you can get help with your goal setting weaknesses so that they don’t continue to hold you back.
People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.
Goal setting doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with small steps and build on that. Every year you can add to this habit. There is something about seeing your goals on paper that will give you a clearer pathway to where you want to go. Your decisions will be easier to make because you will know what your plans are and what doesn’t fit that plan and your big picture. Make goal-setting a part of your yearly habit and watch how much you will accomplish and watch how you bless those around you because you crushed those goals!