Most of us have a love-hate relationship with goals. We love them because they are such a great idea and a wonderful way to motivate us to evaluate our progress and achieve what we set out to do, but we hate them because they more often than not go unattained and make us feel like failures. And that is totally backwards. Goals should inspire us and make us feel great about ourselves. After all, what good is a goal if it isn’t something you achieve?
So let’s talk about some simple steps that we can take to make sure we see the changes that the goals intended:
Narrow your focus. That’s right, start small. Pick two or three areas tops, that you want to work on. Too many people say to themselves, “I want to do this, and this, and this, and this…” and they end up doing nothing! Most of what you do throughout your day can be done without a lot of mental or emotional exertion, but change isn’t one of them. So focus down to a couple. This way you can get some victory in these areas. Here are some areas to think about: Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Spiritual, Financial, and Relational. What areas need some work? Now, what one thing should be the first item on the change list? The others will come later, but for now, you should focus on two or three total.
Keep the long term in mind, but set your sights on achieving your goals in the short term. Do you want to lose 75 pounds? Good. Long term, you will. But for now, think short term. Don’t think about losing 75 pound by the end of the year. Think about losing 3 pounds in the first two weeks. This does two things. First, it makes it urgent. Instead of blowing it and saying, “Oh well, I still have 10 months to lose the 75 pounds” (because eventually that becomes 2 months to lose 75 pounds), your goal is only two weeks out. This is better in terms of reaching your goal. Secondly, as you reach these shorter goals, it gives you regular victories instead of regular progress. Progress feels good, but achieving a goal is awesome!
Reward yourself when you achieve the goal. When you lose the 3 pounds in two weeks, treat yourself to a hot stone massage. Then get back to your goal for the next two weeks. This puts a little fun back into the process of self-control and self-discipline. You will look forward to the reward, and when the going gets tough, you will say, “two more weeks, two more pounds, then…” It can be that simple for you.
More on this subject in the next post…