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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How To Complete Goals Quickly And Effectively

How To Complete Goals Quickly And Effectively

They say that half the battle of completing goals is setting the goals themselves. But the other half of this battle is finding the motivation to work towards that goal despite the circumstances.

And not many people are very good in the second half of that battle.

In most cases, people end up giving up or failing, and it’s sad to see that after people put effort into achieving their goals. So, for the people who are struggling, my suggestion is to consider some of the strategies listed below to help with completing goals.

Furthermore, understand why you continue to struggle to complete goals in the first place.

Why Do People Struggle With Completing Goals?

While there are many reasons for not completing goals, it can be narrowed down to a lack of two core things: motivation and patience.

Motivation is your desire to complete things. If you don’t have the motivation, then you’ll get trapped by excuses – excuses as simple as “oh, I don’t feel like doing that today.”

Patience, on the other hand, is to help you out long-term. The goals that you are working towards aren’t usually things that can be achieved in a single day or a week. You have to have the patience that what you’re doing is helping you reach your target. If not, you’ll do something rash and lead to failure.

Patience is something that only you can work on. There’s not really any kind of formal strategy as patience is more of a self-controlled aspect of ourselves.[1]

For example, forcing yourself to wait and figuring out what is making you impatient in the first place are strategies to being more patient.

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Motivation though is something where there is a plethora of advice and strategies as motivation stems from different sources. There are many ways for you to achieve your goals, and there is no specific path that you can take.

Strategies for Completing Goals Properly

With this in mind, here are some strategies that you can keep in mind to make completing goals easier and more achievable. There is no one golden standard for how to set goals and complete them, but that leaves room for you to experiment.

Try out these strategies for at least a few months to see where it takes you. From there, begin making adjustments to better tailor your goal-achieving process.

1. Set SMARTER Goals

If there has to be a gold standard for goals, I’d say it’s the SMART goal system. When people talk about goals, the first method that springs to mind is this system. However, people have expanded on that system and have created the SMARTER goal system.

SMARTER is the same thing as SMART. You are still setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals. But the ER stands for evaluated and re-adjusted.

In other words, after you work on a goal, you go back to evaluate it and then make adjustments to it to reflect that evaluation.

For example, say you’re looking to lose weight and have set a goal to lose about ten pounds in a month. It’s risky, but for some people it can be manageable if you work on your diet and work out plenty. The ER would kick in two weeks into this and allow you to look at your overall progress.

What is going well for you? What needs improvement?

This step in the system can help you in a big way. If you’re in the position you want to be in, you’ll build up more motivation and confidence.

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If you’re not, you’ll move to the R and re-evaluate your goal. Maybe you were a little too ambitious and need to be more patient. Why not lower the bar slightly to help you build up motivation?

SMARTER goals are better because there is that check system in place. SMART goals can have that too, but that method focuses more on the characteristics of the goal rather than checking up on it afterward.

2. Remove Bad Habits

The main purpose of goals is for you to remove bad habits, but it’s worth reiterating as bad habits aren’t only focused on one area of your life. There are many overarching bad habits, such as coming up with excuses.

Ultimately, these block your progress and stifle motivation, and they can get frustrating to deal with. But this comes back to exercising patience. This process takes time to work on.

My suggestion is to take the time to identify your bad habits. What habits do you have that you think are bad for you? Write them out and come up with a plan to remove them from your life.

Better yet, replace these bad habits with many good habits. To do this, consider what this bad habit provides you. Every habit covers a need, whether that’s emotional support, a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment, and so on.

Figure out what that bad habit provides and find something similar – but better – that can satisfy the same needs.

3. Build Self-Discipline

Another strategy is to begin building self-discipline. When you have discipline, you don’t have to worry as much about finding the motivation to do things. Even during the early stages, there is a state of mind that you can enter where you won’t have to think about doing a certain task.

You’ll do things automatically without thinking.

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A good example of this at work is your morning routine. Every morning, you have a series of tasks you do to prepare yourself during the morning. If you want a more fulfilling morning – provided you’re not happy with your routine right now – you can incorporate other activities. Soon enough, those will become part of your routine as well.

4. Limit Distractions

On top of mitigating bad habits, you also want to focus on having fewer distractions in your life. Some ways that you can limit distractions are to better organize your working space.

Another option to consider is having activities that you can do prior to work or during it to help you get into a flow state. Things like meditation or listening to white noise or soft ambient music can help in those regards.

5. Have Better Management of Your Time

On a similar note to distractions, perhaps you are someone who gets distracted by other tasks. You only have 24 hours in a day, and a portion of that is dedicated to eating and sleeping.

Your time is valuable and you want to be sure that you are spending your time wisely. Keep in mind this doesn’t always mean working all the time. Make sure you strike a balance with your other needs like social and health needs too.

You want to be certain that whatever it is that you are doing at the moment is worth your time. What benefits are you getting from doing a certain activity? What benefits are you getting from talking or being around a specific person?

Remember this benefit doesn’t have to be extraordinary every time, but you want to be mindful so you’re not spending time with those dragging you down or making it too difficult to concentrate. The same applies to activities too.

6. Do the MIT First

MIT. Most important task.

There are many iterations of this, but it’s all the same principle. The first chance you get, you want to be tackling the largest task first. This has a lot to do with how motivation works.

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People think that handling smaller tasks first makes it easier to build motivation for bigger tasks. I can see the logic behind this. However, remember that these small tasks still drain your energy.

If you spend all day completing the small tasks that inch you forward towards your goal, chances are you won’t have much energy – and motivation – for the big task at the end.[2]

In most situations, you’re probably going to have the most energy in the morning and so, it makes sense to use that energy on something that demands a lot of it.[3] Later on in the day, you can “power down” by doing all the other tasks that don’t demand a lot of mental or physical strength.

7. Accept Failure

The final strategy that will help you is to accept failure. As much as it’s key to be optimistic, remember that you’re not always going to hit your targets. There will be days where you won’t get everything done or experience a setback.

Don’t worry so much about that and take it as a lesson to improve for next time. Going back to when I mentioned SMARTER goals, you want to apply that in all things in life.

When you experience a delay or you want to note your progress, go and evaluate and make adjustments if needed.

Final Thoughts

Completing goals is challenging and requires a lot from us. You need to work hard, and you need to keep that momentum going.

At the very beginning, it’s easy for us to resist change and slip back to our old ways. That’s okay. Remember that motivation comes from when you’re starting something and continuing it.

Like a boulder rolling down a cliff, if you are practicing these particular tactics, you’ll find it easier to have the motivation and the energy to be completing goals in no time. And there will be nothing that’ll get in your way.

More Tips for Completing Goals

Featured photo credit: Mille Sanders via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on April 14, 2021

What Are SMART Goals (and How to Use Them to Be Successful)

What Are SMART Goals (and How to Use Them to Be Successful)

As a track and field runner in school, every year I would sit down with my coach and set a series of goals for the season. Once we had set my goals for the year, we would create a training plan so I could achieve those targets. This helped me answer the main question here: “What are SMART goals?”

Before I got a coach, I used to run aimlessly with no plan, no target races. More often than not, I would end up injured and find my season ending after achieving very little.

Once I got a coach, though, I started winning races that mattered and began enjoying my sport. This annual process taught me from a very early age that goals are important if I want to achieve the things that are important to me.

So what exactly are SMART goals? This article will talk about why goals matter, how to use SMART goals effectively with your time and resources, and how these goals give you a clear, specific plan that works time and time again.

Why Do People Fail to Reach Their Goals?

Setting SMART goals and achieving them

is not easy, and many people fail. A study by Scranton University found that only 8% of those who set New Year goals actually achieve them, meaning 92% who set new year goals fail[1].

The problem is that many people see goals, such as New Year resolutions, as hopes and wishes. They hope they will lose some weight, they wish to start their own business, or they hope to get a better job. The problem with “hoping” and “wishing” for something is that there is no plan, no purpose, and no time frame set for achieving the goals.

Once these hopes and wishes come face-to-face with the realities of daily life, they soon dissolve into lost hopes and wishful thinking.

Therefore, in order to really achieve something, you need a concrete goal: a SMART goal.

What Are SMART Goals?

The foundation of all successfully accomplished goals is the SMART goal.

Originally conceived by George T. Doran in a 1981 paper[2], this formula has been used in various forms ever since.

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. It has been used by corporations and individuals to achieve their goals and objectives and is a formula that, on the whole, works well.

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Use SMART goals to help you achieve more.

    The strength of SMART goals is that they set a clear path to achieving goals, and they have a clear time frame in which to achieve them. Let’s look at the SMART criteria in a little more detail:

    Specific

    For a goal to be achievable, it needs to have a very clear outcome. What you are asking is, “What exactly do I want to achieve?” The clearer the goal, the more likely it is you will achieve it.

    For example, if you just say “I want to lose weight,” then technically you could achieve your goal just by not eating dinner for one day—you would lose weight that way, even if it were temporary.

    You need to have a more specific goal: “I want to lose twenty-pounds by the end of July this year.”

    Measurable

    To achieve anything, it’s important to have measurable goals. T

    ake the example above: “I want to lose twenty-pounds by the end of July this year.”

    It’s measurable, as all you need do is weigh yourself on 1 January, then deduct twenty-pounds from that and set that weight as the target for 31 July. Then, each week you weigh yourself to measure progress.

    Attainable

    Being attainable means that SMART goals are realistic and that you have what you need in order to achieve them.

    In our example of losing weight, 20 pounds in six months is certainly doable. Your resources could include a gym membership, some at-home weights, or simply motivation to get outside and run everyday.

    If motivation is an area where you struggle, you can check out Lifehack’s Ultimate Worksheet for Instant Motivation Boost.

    Relevant

    For any goal to be achieved, you need to set relevant goals for your unique life.

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    If losing weight is doable with the lifestyle you have, and if you believe it will lead to a happier, healthier life, then it is certainly relevant to you. It’s even more relevant if your doctor has pointed out that you need to lose weight to prevent health issues.

    Time-based

    Finally, you need a timeline. All your goals need to have an end date because it creates a sense of urgency and gives you a deadline.

    In our example of losing twenty-pounds, a timeline of six months would be specific, measurable, relevant, and would have a timeline. Furthermore, as you have what you need to achieve that goal, it is attainable—all elements of the formula for SMART goals are included.

    How to Reach a SMART Goal

    The problem I have always found with the SMART goal formula is it does not take into account the human factor. We need motivation and a reason for achieving these goals.

    If you decide to lose twenty-pounds, for example, you are going to spend many months feeling hungry, and unless you possess superhuman mental strength, you are going to give in to the food temptations.

    All SMART goals can be distilled down to three words:

    • What do you want to achieve?
    • Why do you want to achieve it?
    • How are you going to achieve it?

    When you simplify your goal in this way, achieving it becomes much easier.

    1. Visualize What You Want

    One way to make your goals achievable is to visualize the end result. When you write out your mission statement, you should be imagining what it will be like once you have achieved the goal.

    In our weight loss example, you would close your eyes and imagine walking down from your hotel room in Ibiza in July with your towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, and swimwear on. You would imagine walking past all the other sunbathers and the feeling you have, the pride in the way you look and feel.

    Try to invoke as many of the five senses as you possibly can[3].

    2. Identify Your “Why”

    If you take losing twenty-pounds as an example, once you have made the decision that you want to do this, the next question to ask yourself is, “Why?” The more personal your why, the better.

    Your why could be, “Because I want to look and feel fantastic by the pool in Ibiza this summer.” That is a strong why.

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    If your why is, “Because my doctor told me to lose some weight,” that is not a good why because it’s your doctor’s, not yours.

    One way to identify your “why” is to write your mission statement.

    To help with setting achievable SMART goals, when working with my clients, I always ask them to complete the following mission statement:

    I will [STATE GOAL CLEARLY] by [DATE YOU WANT TO COMPLETE THE GOAL] because [YOUR WHY].

    If you want to write a SMART goal for the weight loss example, your mission statement would be written: “I will lose twenty-pounds by the end of July this year because I want to look and feel fantastic by the pool in Ibiza.”

    Never write a mission statement that is full of vague words. The words you use should be simple, direct, and clear.

    3. Figure out Your “How”

    Before you can begin achieving your goal, you need to create a list of steps you can take to make it happen.

    Write down everything you can think of that will help achieve your goal. It doesn’t matter what order you write these tasks down; what matters is that you write down as many action steps you can think of.

    I always aim for around one hundred small steps. This makes it much easier to assign tasks for each day that not only moves you forward on your goal, but also keeps you focused every day on achieving it.

    Once you have your list, you can create a to-do list for the goal and allocate the steps to different days so you create momentum towards a successful outcome.

    You can learn more about how to use SMART goals to achieve success and lasting change in this video:

    Bonus: Make a PACT

    There is one more part needed to really make sure you achieve the SMART goals you set for yourself, and that is something I call PACT. PACT is another acronym meaning Patience, Action, Consistency, and Time. You need all four of these to achieve goals.

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    Patience

    Without patience, you will give up. To achieve anything worthwhile requires patience. Success does not happen overnight. Be patient and enjoy the process of stepping a little closer towards achieving your goal each day.

    Action

    If you do not take action on any goal, then even SMART goals won’t be achieved. You need to make sure you remind yourself of your goal and why you want to achieve it each day. Read your mission statement, make an action plan, and then take the necessary action to make sure you move a step closer each day.

    Consistency

    The action you take each day towards achieving your goal needs to be consistent. You can’t follow your diet program for a week and then have three weeks off. Jim Rohn said it perfectly when he said:

    “Success is a few simple disciplines practised every day.”

    Time

    Of course, you need to allow enough time between where you are today and where you want to be in the future. Be realistic about time, and don’t get disheartened if you miss your deadline. Readjust your timeline if necessary.

    The Bottom Line

    The key to success is to put everything together. When you connect all of these elements, you create an environment where achieving SMART goals becomes much more attainable.

    Whether it’s personal or business goals, when you have a strong personal “why” for your goal, your motivation to keep going stays strong.

    Start with your “why,” and then get started on the action steps that will take you all the way to the end.

    More Tips on Reaching Your Goals

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

    Reference

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