Every motivational speaker and leadership development expert will encourage you to set goals. These are critical to your overall growth. Setting goals becomes a habit that can really get you going. But what are the habits that will help you to complete those goals? Below are ten ideas to get you started:
10 habits that will help you reach your goals
Have a dream
It all starts with a detailed vision of what you want to accomplish with your life. Make sure to add color and dimension to your dream. What could your life really look like? Make sure that you include the whole picture of what you are doing, where you are living, what your lifestyle is like and who you with. Imagine it with all of the force that you can muster in your imagination.
Set many micro goals
But dreams are often so big that they seem way too big and the magnitude can overwhelm you. (If your dream does not overwhelm you, you are not dreaming big enough.) But don’t be overwhelmed day to day. Move the piano an inch at a time and create the journey to the dream day by day. What do you need to today to make your dream come true in the long run? Take time to really think about it before you go to bed or when you first get up. What are the one or two things that I must do today if I hope to ultimately succeed in my dreams. Then go do that one thing.
Create purpose for each goal
Goals by themselves are awesome but if they lack context in the big picture than you may be able to come up with an excuse to swear it off. Fitness is an easy one to illustrate. Give your goals purpose. I exercise and eat right because I want to be healthy at 100 and able to be active into my old age. That is the purpose of a daily workout and run. Now I may also have more short term goals, break a world record, complete a marathon, etc and those are also a goal with purpose. I don’t want to get a “did not finish” result that will be published in the paper so I don’t want to look silly. For most of us that is purpose enough. A negative purpose can also work. I don’t want to end up in a nursing home some day. From time to time I visit loved ones in the nursing home and that always motivates me to get out and move. The idea is that you establish a habit of filling your goals with unbelievable purpose.
Understand consequences and rewards for each goal
One of the strongest motivators that I have found is to understand fully the consequences of my choices. This applies great to my goals. Consequences of not giving my wife the attention that she wants: our marriage won’t be able to handle the difficult times that always come up. Rewards of giving my wife the attention that she wants: well I think you know. Every goal has a consequence or reward that we need to be aware of if we don’t want to fall short. If I eat lots of pie and don’t exercise I am more likely to get obese and other health concerns. Taking time to consider the consequences and rewards makes my goals stronger.
Wake up early
Obviously if everyone did this it would not be as effective. But I get at least a two hour head start on most of the people that I am working with. What that head start gets me is peace and relaxation. While they are stressing on how they are going to get a project done I have already crossed the finish line and am heading home to spend time with my family. Note: Getting up early is not always easy. You will hate life for the first five minutes or so. But that feeling passes quickly enough and you can get started with your daily preparation. For me this starts with a cup of coffee, thinking/ mediation/prayer time, reading and exercise. After a good workout I will eat a breakfast and then get ready for work. By the time that I show up at the office I am already going above the speed limit and no one can catch me. On those days where I have chosen to sleep in I don’t get going at full speed until almost 11:00 am and am already behind the power curve.
Make sure your goals are balanced
Most of you reading this blog are a complete and total person. Some of you read like crazy but never exercise and some of you exercise but never read. You are living lopsided and are not fully developed. Live deliberately and work to have goals that impact your social networks to include family, work associates and friends. Have goals that develop your fitness endurance, strength and flexibility. Find ways to exercise your brain and read, attend classes, listen to podcasts and do puzzles. Develop your spirit by whatever practice that your faith encourages. If you are without faith a faith group than meditate on inspirational videos and quotes.
Evaluate how you are doing
How did you do today? You feel successful but were you really just busy? How effective are your goals? Evaluate how your interactions with others went and how your personal training is going. Did I do what I set out to do this week? Did I aim too low or am I aiming just right on my goals? Did I fall short? Why? Is that a legit reason? Growing up I was a hard core Boy Scout so I will routinely evaluate my character against the scout laws. I find that reminding myself of those standards seems to keep me more on track toward being the man that I want to be than otherwise.
Getting others to share your life with is a strong habit to get into. Tell others your goals and what you want to accomplish. Ask for their help if possible. Parties are more fun with people that you already know and success is more fun when shared with others.
Share your goals publically
In this age of social media we can raise the bar easily and tell the world what we are aiming at. Routinely come back to it and be honest. What a great motivator! I will need to come back and tell folks that I failed. So I better not fail. You can tell your friends or family and others to ask you about your goals and how you are doing. I hate to admit failure and if I tell people what my goals are I will have to accomplish them or have the pain of making that confession.
Write them down
The goal is not real until you take the time to write it down. Until that time it is wishful thinking or simply a dream. Writing it down makes it real and also brings clarification to what you want to accomplish.