Everybody has goals. But why are so few people good at achieving them? Popular theory says it all comes down to mindset. It’s said that if you change your mind your actions will follow. The idea is that through grit and determination you can set your sights on something, and from that point on tirelessly and unreservedly march toward that goal. This is undoubtedly true in some cases. But I’m not one of those cases. And I suspect, neither are you.
How Can I Improve My Attitude and Reach My Goals
Change is hard and most of us don’t feel like doing it. Our lives are already full of activities and responsibilities and the motivation doesn’t always exist to take on something new. Here are some steps that will help you reach your goals.
1.) Change your actions.
You aren’t ever going to feel like waking up at 5am to hit the gym. You just need to do it. And not only that, you need to keep doing it. You might need to do it 50 times before you finally come to love it. At 5am your mindset is focused on one thing- more sleep. That is, until you get used to that early morning adrenaline rush of getting a great workout. But that doesn’t happen overnight. It may not happen in a month. But if you keep at it, sooner or later a new habit will form and you’ll start to see progress.
2.) Set small goals to build speed.
Waking up at 5am for the next 50 days is not a realistic goal for most of us. Our social lives and prior obligations get in the way. Most of us can’t wake up that early if we’re going to bed at midnight. Two days a week at 6am may be much more realistic. A realistic goal is one you can do for an extended period of time, not just a couple weeks.
3.) Treat your body like a gold mine.
Now I know I started my tips with the example goal of getting in shape, but this is a universal tip. Eating right helps you feel better, look better, and be more optimistic in life. That chocolate ice cream may satiate you in the short term, but long term you’ll be more lethargic, less motivated, and more likely to have another chocolate ice cream. To contrast eating healthy will give you more energy and make you feel better about life in general.
4.) Exercise and feel good about your body.
This is another universal tip. No matter what your goal, getting more exercise will help. It may seem like you’re too overwhelmed to fit in a workout, but usually the opposite is true. If you work out you’ll feel less stressed and less overwhelmed. There are many ways to keep yourself motivated, one of which is to find something you love. Some people love going to the gym. Some people love running. Others may rock climb, cycle, skate, dance, or any number of activities. Once you find something that works for you, stick with it.
5.) Find a partner, mentor or friend who you can help encourage and who can help encourage you. You’re not in this alone.
Any goal you set is going to hinge on sticking with it long term. Working with a partner gives you motivation, social pressure, and hopefully complementary skill sets to help you succeed. It’s important to pick a partner who has similar goals and won’t back out on you. If your new jogging routine is dependent on going with someone else, it’s particularly discouraging when they stop going. Also, if you’re embarking on a business endeavor, think carefully before partnering. When money and livelihoods are involved, it makes any hiccups you may encounter much more problematic.
6.) Write your goals down every single day.
There’s a big difference between having a goal in your head and writing it down. Creating a list of all your goals is a way to help solidify them in your mind, making them more likely to happen. There are multiple methods for this. Some people write them on post-it notes and put them on their bathroom mirror. That way they see them every morning and evening. Others might post them in a private journal or blog. Regardless of where you write it, the very act of writing down your goal helps align the rest of your life’s priorities around it.
7.) Have the courage to make your goals public, even when people think you’re crazy.
I have one friend who posted on Facebook that she was running a half marathon. Each step of her training she continued updating her profile, along with friends who were working out with her. Ultimately she succeeded and completed it. Putting things in front of the eyes of others helps spur you on. Friends and family will begin to ask about it. You’ll also feel the competitive pressure from those who aren’t as supportive of you, which is another motivator. Taking a public stance on your goal is one of the biggest steps to reaching it.
8.) Set a deadline for your goal.
I recently met someone who had set out to build a web application. I’m ever a fan of people who start new projects. Over five years later it was still in progress. At some point you need to finish your project and give it a chance to succeed or not. Some people are perfectionists. Some are too afraid of failure to complete their projects. And some are just slower workers. Setting a fixed date for when you should achieve your goal can really keep you on track, or at least keep you realistic with what you can achieve.
9.) Don’t be afraid to look stupid, make mistakes and fail. We all do it.
We all have early childhood fears of being laughed at or mocked for falling down on the playground. At some point in our lives we need to let go of this. Sure you want to do your best to succeed, but don’t let the fear of failure be the reason you hold back. Getting over one’s fear of failure isn’t always easy. The key is to realize that you are just as good a person whether you make it or not. In fact you’ll soon find that you’re better off for trying. The best way to get over one’s fear of failure is to get out there and try something outside your comfort zone. Sooner or later you’ll fall short, and figure out that it’s not that bad. Then you’ll find yourself thinking of ways you could improve, rather than being wounded from the despair of losing.
10.) Learn to think like a winner. Feed your mind with books that support your growth.
Winning isn’t easy, but it’s something we can all do. How do you win? By following the above steps. In particular, setting smaller easier to attain goals is key. Once you begin to achieve those set larger goals. A series of baby steps that you win at can be better than one enormous goal that you just can’t reach. Of course, some people love setting goals far beyond their reach, and if that’s you, then go for it. But for me, baby steps have been the trick to making long term progress. I’ll take a bunch of little wins any day.
So when it’s all said and done, the proper mindset is to not wait until you have the proper mindset. Just put one foot in front of the other until it becomes natural. In so doing, you may just find yourself reaching heights that once seemed unattainable. In all cases, you’ll find yourself growing, learning, expanding one’s horizons, and enjoying the journey.