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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How To Set Goals Effectively And Grow Continuously

How To Set Goals Effectively And Grow Continuously

One of the most vital productivity tools at your disposal is being able to set goals. Without goals, it’s difficult for you to be going in any direction. Not to mention, a lack of goals doesn’t put you in control of your life.

You may already know all of that, however, what you may not know is that not all goals are created equal. Setting goals is incredibly easy, but many people still struggle with setting goals effectively.

People are quick to think big, create vision boards, or use other goal-setting methods. However, a few weeks or months later, those people are not even close to their goals; some may have even given up.

I don’t want you to fall into that pitfall now or ever again. So, to help with that, I want to share with you some simple steps on how to set goals effectively and achieve them.

Why Do People Struggle With Goals?

To understand why I’m giving you these methods, you need to understand why you are stuck with goals in the first place. The list of why people struggle with goals is extensive.

In most situations, why people struggle with goals is to do with a lot of what’s going on inside you.[1]

Some specific examples are:

  • You harbor doubt in the goal or your abilities that the goal demands from you.
  • Your goals are too impotent – as in they’re not important enough.
  • There’s little risk of major setbacks if you give up or stop.
  • Maybe you view your goals as a final result rather than the start of something new. You’re not enjoying the process and lose motivation after some time.

The thing is that these issues can be remedied if you know how to set goals effectively.

How Do I Set Goals Effectively?

If you’re tired of setting goals and never achieving them or losing momentum, here are some steps on how to set goals effectively, make them realistic, and achieve them.

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Step 1 – Develop and Write Down Your Core Values

Also known as personal values, understanding what you value is important to goal setting. What you value the most is what structures your habits, processes, and the goals that you set.

When you’re not aligned with your core values, chances are you’re not motivated to achieve them at any capacity, even if those goals are inherently good for you like losing weight or being a better partner. If you don’t have core values in those areas, then chances are your willingness to improve isn’t going to be much.

And that’s okay. Because that often means you are more focused on other things that are more important to you. You won’t know what that is until you put together your core values.

There are many examples of core values. Some of these are:[2]

  • Authority
  • Competency
  • Determination
  • Leadership
  • Love
  • And many more

You can do this in two ways: either write your goals and find core values after or find core values you associate with and set goals around those.

Step 2 – Remove Weak Goals That Are ‘Good Enough’

What this refers to are the goals that make you feel good but aren’t driving you to pursue them.

One example is how most people use vision boards. People are quick to putting together a large vision board and filling it with all kinds of goals. While there is a feel-good feeling, a lot of it is filler and things that would be nice to have but aren’t actual needs. I’m referring to the massive houses and the “expensive cars”-type of goals.

These are good goals to have as it suggests making more money and working hard and smart financially. That said, they’re big distractions from the goals that play a bigger role in your life. Maybe you’re having relationship issues and one of your core values is to fix it and make amends however you can.

The more goals you have means the more opportunities there are for distractions. As much as goals are important, it’s key that you have a narrow focus on the goals that you set and a narrower one on goals that you are working on.

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One way to help you focus on goals is after you’ve written down your list, create another list. One list ought to have the five most important goals for you at this moment. The second list has any other goals that you may have or come to mind.

The list of five or fewer goals is your “must-do” list, while the other is the “avoid all of them” list. Instill in your mind to only focus on the most important goals.

Step 3 – Enjoy the Process

I mentioned earlier that goals aren’t the end, they are the beginning and it’s true. This particular step is crucial to completing goals as it provides the motivation you need to push forward.

When you are focused on the joy of the process, you also begin to believe more in yourself and your abilities. In a sense, your goals become fun which comes with various perks.[3]

While there are other big motivators to completing goals, the goal should be fun and something that you want to achieve. If it’s fun, you’ll find it easier to tackle problems.

For example, say you’ve experienced a setback and lost some of your momentum. Many people usually become fearful and worried. They begin to lose belief in their abilities.

All that changes when you are enjoying yourself. You see this as a new opportunity to look at something you enjoy from a different perspective.

In the end, a setback can introduce a new perspective to something you love doing. It creates a new appreciation for your goal and the habits you are building.

Step 4 – Have an Action Plan

Preparing yourself to enjoy the process is good. However, it pays to have more direction than simply writing down a goal. Writing down goals works wonders, but mapping out your goals is important too.

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The biggest thing is that an action plan allows you to break down your goals into smaller pieces. Often, people feel overwhelmed when looking at a big goal. Furthermore, people are more motivated if it’s a smaller task.

For example, what sounds easier to do: losing 25 pounds in three months or working out at the gym for three hours per week?

Most would go for the second option as it builds up habits. Best of all, you can put it into your action plan and schedule it into your routine.

In the end, an action plan can be made however you like, but it has to outline actions you can do every day. If you put down daily actions, it puts into perspective that goals are habits you work on regularly.

Step 5 – Have an Environment to Make Working Easier

Once you have everything in place, the next thing is to ensure that you have an environment that is conducive to you working on your goals. In some cases, you may need some productivity or organizational tools in your office, or maybe you need to find another location that works better for you.

Determine what needs to be done and take steps towards making it happen. Your environment needs to be geared towards the work that you want to be doing. This means having the proper tools there, posting positive reminders, and mitigating distractions as much as possible.

Step 6 – If You’re Stuck, Ask for Help

You are reading this article because you’re struggling with goals in some way and need help. And that’s okay. When you are stuck or you feel uncertain about something, it creates doubt and chips away at you.

Instead of caving in, you should make an effort to look for help. Refuse to give up and instead, turn to articles like this and others. Reach out to people and ask questions or guidance.

Many people refuse to do something like this as it could be a point of pride for them. That said, every person that has achieved something has been able to do so thanks in part to someone else in their life.

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If you want to achieve something, make a note that if you’re stuck, ask for help. Knowing how to set goals effectively also means knowing when to ask others for help.

Step 7 – Assess Progress Often

An action plan and your goals work only as effectively the more you check on yourself. If you’re not looking at your progress, it can feel like a long time before you obtain your goal.

Motivation and inspiration drive us to accomplish goals and by looking at your progress, you can see how far you’ve come. Furthermore, if progress isn’t to your liking, you can change up your action plan.

You can say that goals are one massive experiment on yourself. Don’t be afraid to make tweaks and see if any changes have been made.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to set goals effectively boils down to striking a balance between great goals and having the motivation to complete those goals. As such, you want to remove distractions both around you and your goal setting system.

A lot of people struggle with their goals, but this strategy of managing internal motivators and influencing your world around you will allow you to set and achieve better goals.

More Goals Setting Tips

Featured photo credit: Tim Graf via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

6 Ways to Finish Strong (When Your Momentum Is Low) 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up Does Less Discipline Equal More Freedom? The Endless Battle Between Good and Popular

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

6 Ways to Finish Strong (When Your Momentum Is Low)

6 Ways to Finish Strong (When Your Momentum Is Low)

There are times in your life when you will have to define a path to achieve your goals. These are moments to decide how you will push through to finish strong.

Will you give up or give it all that it takes? Will you bring all your energy and skills to bear or provide an excuse? The only person that possesses the power to choose your response is you.

It may sound impossible anytime you hear the phrase “finish strong.” This is because your natural tendency would be to settle for the status quo or accept fate, and when you are facing life’s biggest challenges, you may face the temptation to quit or compromise your standards.

The story of Tyrone Muggsy Bogues will inspire you. He lived in abject poverty while his father languished in prison. He was hit by a stray bullet at age five and grew up to be 1.6m tall[1].

All these challenges did not deter him from becoming the shortest player in the history of the National Basketball Association. Tyrone had 6858 points, 1369 steals, and 6726 assists all through his NBA. career. Just like Tyrone, you should not allow life challenges to stop you down from finishing strong.

Here are some fun facts to buttress why you need to push through the end:

  • Most of the points scored in football occur a few minutes before the game ends.
  • The last seconds in a race determines who wins as every runner wants to give the most effort.
  • You work harder when there are deadlines to meet.

Here’s more proof of why the finish is highly significant. People rate the quality of life higher when it ends better, not minding if it was short. This is often called the James Dean Effect[2].

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These five proven steps will enable you to finish strong if you already have goals you want to accomplish.

1. Write Your Goals Down

A study revealed that people who write their goals down have an eighty percent chance of finishing strong[3]. You can create a Goal Journal or adopt the S.M.A.R.T goal technique.

Don’t forget, your goals have to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

While it might look like an additional task to write down your goals instead of storing them in your memory, there are more sides to it.

Two things happen when you write something down:

You are documenting the goals on paper, which makes it easier to assess and audit in the future. Neurologists believe you will recollect visual cues more compared to non-visual cues.

Furthermore, you are encoding those goals as they travel to your brain’s hippocampus, where analysis takes place. From that point, sorting happens. Some goals are stored in your long-term memory while others are discarded. Writing facilitates the encoding process, so write down those goals!

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2. Break Your Goals Into Milestones

Breaking down goals into small bites will help you celebrate your small victories. You need that momentum to finish strong.

For instance, if you are writing a book, you can:

  • Write the book concept or blurb
  • Conduct keyword and content research
  • Create an outline
  • Write the content
  • Edit and proofread
  • Format and publish
  • Market the book

Establishing milestones provides you a clear format that will help you not burn out when working on your goals. Moreover, milestones are those actions you need to take to finish strong.

A study conducted by Gail Matthews shows that those who write their goals have a 33% chance of actualizing them compared to those who only have their goals in their brain[4].

3. Build Momentum

As I stated earlier, you need momentum to finish strong. You can gain momentum when you meet each of the milestones. In his book, Darren Hardy recommends consistency as a sure way to generate all the momentum[5].

How do you build momentum by being consistent? Hardy recommends five actionable steps:

Establish a Morning Regimen

According to Hardy, you may find it hard to take charge of your mid-day, but you can determine how you start the day and end it. Therefore, design your rise-and-shine routine. Do your Most-Important-Task (M.I.T.) in the morning.

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Morning routine to finish strong

    Create an Evening Schedule

    Hardy defines this period as when you cash out on your day. It is a moment to assess if you have accomplished all you wanted to that day. You can ask yourself these questions:

    • Which items do I need to carry over to the next day’s M.I.T. list?
    • What item on my to-do list is still relevant?
    • Which of the tasks do I need to cancel?

    Restructure Your Routine

    It can be boring doing the same thing over a long period. Therefore, inject some excitement into your plan. Visit the park, prepare new food, or take a short, online course. Shaking up your routine will naturally assist you in building momentum.

    Keep a Log of New Habits

    Track new behaviors and log the number of times you perform them. That way, you can compare your goals with the outcome.

    Avoid Negative Self-Talk

    What you say affects how you finish your goals. Positive self-talk is a time-tested method to set goals and follow through. Any time you doubt your ability to finish strong, respond with positive affirmations.

    Do not bow to negative pressure to give up. Control your thoughts, and do not permit external forces, such as fears and doubts, to control them. Here are ten positive affirmations to help you finish strong.

    5. Find a Mentor or an Accountability Partner

    You need all the support you can find to stay the course. A lot of successful individuals attribute their success to the influence of a mentor or an accountability partner.

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    The right mentor will offer you insight, advice, and connections to help you finish strong. A mentor’s role is to guide you on self-reflection and help you ask self-discovery questions.

    Here are ways to maximize mentorship:

    • Be curious: Ask questions that provoke deeper thoughts.
    • Be honest: Feel free to share your challenges and be open to feedback.
    • Be punctual: Be timely and stick to appointments.
    • Be specific: Establish what you want from the relationship.
    • Be respectful: Respect should be mutual. You should respect the boundaries set by your mentor, and your mentor should do the same.

    You can read more on How To Get The Best Out Of Mentorship.

    Bonus Tip: Engage the Self-Awareness Technique (S.A.T.) to Finish Strong

    It is not enough to be an enthusiastic starter; you must also be an optimistic finisher. What is self-awareness? Self-awareness is getting in touch with how you feel and think. It could also mean connecting to your core values and beliefs to live a life that aligns with them.

    Self-awareness can help you figure out your strengths so you can focus on them. It also helps you discover your weaknesses. The moment you accept what you can’t achieve, you will bring together all of your strengths to achieve what you can.

    An HBR report confirmed that when you have a clear picture of yourself, you can be more confident and unleash your creativity. You will also build long-lasting relationships and communicate better[6].

    Final Thoughts

    As you assess the aspects of your life, you need to finish strong, take time to study your past achievements, and apply the lessons to the last phase of your present pursuit.

    Always remember, you have all it takes to finish what you started.

    More Tips on Completing Your Goals

    Featured photo credit: Ethan Hoover via unsplash.com

    Reference

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