New year, new goal-themed blog post to clog up your feed! Seriously, I read a lot last year and have learnt a thing or two on how to actually achieve your goals. Forget about them being S.M.A.R.T. (okay, this helps too, but it’s not enough to achieve your goals).
Every year I write some resolutions and some bucket-list items. With Covid preventing any travel (i won’t keep my hopes up), I’ve turned to writing 18 goals for myself. And using the items on the list below, I’m feeling really good about my chances of achieving them. That’s right, all 18 goals, even though in previous years I can’t seem to achieve the standard ‘be healthier’ resolution. Therefore, see below to learn about how to actually achieve your goals.
1. Create realistic goals
I have total belief that you can achieve anything you set your mind to… but also, don’t make it totally unattainable, just in case. For example, travelling the world during Covid poses substantial health risks. Consider how circumstances like this may impact your goals, and adjust accordingly.
Last year I wanted to learn to surf, but considering I’m not hanging out with a group of strangers anytime soon (and not paying a fortune for private lessons), it’s not on my goals list this year. If it happens, then that’s just an awesome bonus, but until then I’ve culled that pressure to achieve something which external situations make hard.
Make it something challenging enough but not completely out of reach. This could be searching for an online internship, setting aside time each week to learn a new language, and becoming consistent with dance/zoom classes.
2. W.I.N. to creating habits
I, fortunately, heard of Jim Kwik’s book ‘Limitless‘ last year. It taught me a lot of information and actionable tips to implement into my daily life and studies. One such thing is the W.I.N. acronym to creating habits. Put briefly (you’ll have to read the book for all the amazing content!), make sure you really WANT this particular goal. Make sure it INNATELY fits into your schedule – the simpler the goal/habit, the easier it will be to achieve. Finally, set a prompt to engage in this habit/goal. The prompt means to get to work NOW. It may be a reminder on your phone to meditate, or switching your phone to airplane mode to wind down at night.
3. Actually enjoy your goals
Similar to the point above, it will be easier to integrate working on your goals if it’s even slightly related to something you have a passion for. Eating healthy and starting crossfit may not be your passion, but maybe becoming healthier and stronger for your yoga poses is. Only you know what you innately want to do more of and if you can see the journey and end in sight.
My health goals this year are directly related to a strong desire to have healthy joints and recovery for my dance classes. If having optimal health results in more time working on a passion, then sign me up!
Another big tip learnt from Jim Kwik is that you can manage your state. That is, your state of motivation or enjoyment or any thought or feeling. You can do this by remembering your ‘Why’. The actual journey of getting great grades may not be the most enjoyable, but if you can remember why you want this each time you sit down to study, you’ll feel that much more motivated to put in the work.
4. Create a ‘How To’ document to achieving your goals
If writing a list of goals isn’t enough, you can also create a few additional pages with some simple steps you can take in order to achieve each individual goal. I’ve written both my ‘Why’ I want to achieve this and some basic ‘How’ pointers. The ‘Why’ section will remind you of how you felt and why you wanted to do this in the first place. Having multiple goals can be overwhelming. The ‘How’ is a reminder of the simple steps you can take to work on achieving your goals.
5. Don’t add to your days, find space within
As in, don’t try and squeeze in your 10 goals all throughout the week. Maybe 1 week you prioritise 3 things, then following a review, you may want to prioritise another 3 goals the next week. Find space where you normally have time e.g. if you normally listen to music on public transport to work and your goal is to read more, spend part of that journey (if not all) reading. If you’re like me, then a decent portion of your week is spent on Netflix and YouTube. This also offers an opportunity to use some of these moments to work on your goals. Reflecting the other points above, if you have some joy or motivation to achieve your realistic goals, it will be easier to make these small lifestyle changes.
6. Do a weekly check-in
One of my goals is to check in with myself and my goals each week. Choose a day each week to do this. Sundays are a good choice as you can plan for the following week. It gives you a moment to stop and reflect with fresh eyes on what’s working, what isn’t, and to plan for success the following week. Just like the point above states prioritising different goals each week, this is the time to choose which goals to work on.
7. Get real with yourself
Finally, know your strengths and weaknesses, and aim to work on your weaknesses in order to achieve your goals e.g. do you have triggers that make you want to buy tonnes of uber eats even though your goal is to get healthy (been there, done that). What can you do to control this?
And also remember, the new year is exciting. However, there’s a big chance motivation will fade, and this is where self-discipline comes in. Hopefully, implementing the 7 tips can help you smash your goals this year!