Set goals you will stick to

Goals are dreams with deadlines. Diana Scharf Hunt

Goals are essential in keeping you motivated and on-track to achieving your dreams. It’s key to know how to set realistic, measureable and achievable goals, otherwise you will find you lack motivation to keep trying to achieve them.

Tips for setting goals you will stick to:

Be specific
Make the goal simple and attainable. E.g. Quit smoking. Lose weight. Get a job.
The goal must be within your control. For example: Get a $20k pay-rise, Get a promotion – are things you can work towards, but they’re outcomes you can’t control. You may only get a $10k pay-rise, or you may not get the promotion you were after – and these outcomes could  have a negative effect on you. Avoid over achieving and setting too many goals. It’s better to have one key focus to work towards, too many makes it easier to drop the ball.

Break it down
Break your big goal into smaller goals which will keep you on track. As you achieve each smaller goal, reward yourself with something appropriate. If this is done correctly, you will be rewarding yourself regularly for your achievements.

Example – losing weight
Give yourself a reward every 5kg drop – from a new hairstyle or professional photo shoot to buying a new car when you achieve the bigger goals. (I always write my “prize” next to my mini goal, so I remember what I’m working towards.) Try to make the mini-goals stay in line with your overall goal – so don’t go on a chocolate binge or do anything that will hinder achieving your overall goal or set you back. I always try to select things that don’t involve food when losing weight and I keep a diary so I can closely monitor it.

Example – buying a house
Give yourself a SMALL reward once you’ve saved $10k towards your deposit. Again, don’t go crazy and go and spend the $10k you just saved. Instead do something nice for yourself, buy yourself something small, organise to visit friends away, go camping with friends, make a cake, do something cheap but pleasurable to celebrate.

Measure it regularly
Don’t forget about your goals – keep measuring them regularly. Keep checking your bank balance, keep weighing yourself, keep going the extra mile at work. The more self-motivated you are the easier it will be to achieve your goals.
Measuring a goal actually illustrates the changes you are making and keeps you on track. Don’t be scared of setbacks or failures, as this also gives you an opportunity to improve.

Choose your influences
Many people tell you that they’ve already broken their New Year Resolutions, or why bother. I prioritise my resolutions and take them seriously. Two years ago I lost the weight I wanted to lose. Last year I relocated to the place I wanted to after landing a job that paid the right amount for me. Surround yourself by positive, successful people who offer advice and encouragement and try to avoid the negative and discouraging people who try to take you off track. You are in control of your goals. It’s what you’re doing for yourself – make it happen!

Set a timeframe
Even with your mini-goals, set time frames that you must achieve your goals. This will keep you on track and pushing things along in the right direction. Having a timeframe to do things prevents procrastination and enables you to move forward and even achieve goals before the time you set. The best time to start with any goal is now – so get to it!

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