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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

How to Get Yourself to Take Action Towards Your Goal

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How to Get Yourself to Take Action Towards Your Goal

We’ve all been there. We get motivated to accomplish a goal, and we feel like we’re making real progress for the first few days.

However, after a week or two we notice that our motivation fades and with that, so do our efforts. Our progress tails off and eventually, we may quit altogether.

This is something that we need to avoid if we want to accomplish our goals. We can’t fall into some of the common traps that the average person falls into.

So, in this article, I am going to cover how you can take action toward your goals and get yourself to where you truly want to be in your life.

1. Study Those Who Came Before You

A little motivation never hurt anybody right?

On top of that, studying the people who previously accomplished the goal that you’re looking to accomplish can save you a lot of headaches in the long-run.

From these practices, you can begin to determine what challenges the person faced when they started to take action towards their goals. Furthermore, you can also gather information about what strategies they used to overcome those challenges.

Though what worked for someone else may not work exactly the same way for you, it’s definitely a good starting point. From this point, you can then begin to create and tailor your strategy based on the path that you want to take.

Once you know what path you want to take, you can begin mentally preparing yourself to take action.

2. Mentally Prepare Yourself

There are a lot of traps we can fall into as we try to take action towards our goals. The first one is failing to mentally prepare ourselves for the journey.

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Doing this means that you need to be able to visualize the obstacles and challenges that are going to confront you when you begin taking action and making progress. It also means that you can visualize yourself accomplishing the goal at the end of the journey.

Think about it this way, who do you think is more likely to overcome a challenge, the person who just dives into a task without any preparation or the person who has taken some to carefully consider the challenges and obstacles that they may face?

Obviously, the person who has taken the time to consider these challenges is more likely to succeed. But why?

Well, the answer to that question is that this individual has mentally prepared themselves for the challenges that they were likely to face. That way, when they begin to take action towards their goal, they have two crucial advantages in their back pocket.

First, these individuals know that these challenges are likely going to present themselves and that they will need to overcome them to achieve their goals. This means that they won’t be surprised or get negative when the obstacle presents itself because they already mentally prepared for it. They can continue taking action without being phased by the obstacle.

Second, because they knew this challenge was something that they were going to have to face, they will have been able to make a plan to cope with and overcome the challenge. This goes a long way to helping someone continually take action towards their goals.

3. Make a Plan

After you’ve studied what other people have done before you, figured out what works and what does, decided what’s likely to work for you, and then finally mentally prepared yourself for the journey, it’s time to make a plan.

This is the plan that you will follow as you begin to take action towards your goals. It’s often best to write these plans out in areas that are easy for you to view and access. This keeps your plan at the forefront of your mind and reminds you to keep your priorities at the top of your priority list.

In this phase of your journey, you are going to create a step-by-step progression that you can follow. You’ll set the mini accomplishments throughout the journey as well as the milestones that you’ll achieve and surpass along the way.

You’ll also write down the challenges and obstacles that you mentally prepared yourself for in the previous steps and what your plan is to overcome them.

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This can get overwhelming when it’s all done at once, so break your plan down into sections. Start with a section outlining the steps you’re going to take action on to accomplish your goals, and include the milestone you’ll pass in this process. Then, create a separate section where you outline the barriers and challenges you’ll face and how to overcome them.

Overall, just make sure that the plan makes sense for you personally.

Once you’ve created a plan, your next step is to figure out how you can begin tracking your progress as you begin to take action.

If you want more help with this check out this article.[1]

4. Track Yourself and Your Progress

Once you’ve created your personalized plan that you can use to take action, you should try to find ways to track your progress.

How you do this doesn’t really matter. You could create a habit tracker where you track the habits that you need to implement to achieve your goal. You could create a map of your milestones that you check off as you accomplish each of them. You could also even download an app that could enable you to track your progress with ease.

Just do something that makes sense to you.

This allows you to figure out what’s working best for you and what isn’t working, and make adjustments accordingly. This is the crucial reason why we track our progress as we take action towards our goals.

Because it’s highly unlikely, regardless of how well you prepare, that the initial plan you create will get everything right. There will be things you didn’t think about and you will have to remain adaptable. Tracking your progress will enable you to do just that.

You’ll be able to take action and identify what habits allow you to make the most progress.

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They say 20% of the things we dedicate our time to bring about approximately 80% of our results. If that’s the case, tracking your progress like this will help you figure out what moves that needle you and then adjust your plan accordingly.

If you want additional tips on staying motivated check out this article.[2]

5. Make it Fun and Stay Motivated

This is one of the more fun parts of learning how to take action towards your goals. If you want to make real progress, you have to make achieving the goal fun. Find ways that make it appealing to you.

For example, a reward system is often a good way to make taking action fun, and it’s a great way for us to remain motivated. This could be a small and fun reward after accomplishing a particular habit, such as going for a walk after writing a few pages of that book you’ve been working on forever.

You can very easily apply this to your goals as you take action.

Make a particular habit that you’re implementing as you work towards a goal something that you regularly reward yourself for. If your goal is to jog, maybe reward yourself with some relaxation time post-run. If your goal is to eat healthier, maybe go out for a fun activity after a week of healthy eating.

Get creative and make it fun for you.

Doing this will help you stick with it through the tough times because there will be tough times. You’re going to be challenged on this journey, and that is the only thing that you can be sure of.

So, finding ways to stay motivated while you take action will go a long way to helping you continually take action towards your goals.

Bottom Line

So there you have it. Used effectively, these strategies will help you to take action towards some of your massive goals.

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To sum things up, you’re going to study what people before you have done to accomplish similar goals and learn about their journey. Then, you’re going to mentally prepare yourself for the journey that is going to lay ahead of you as well as the challenges and barriers that you’re likely going to have to face, confront, and overcome.

Following that, you will have to create the plan you will follow as you take action. The important part of this is to remember that your plan has to be uniquely tailored to you and what you want to accomplish.

Find a way that works for you to track your progress so that you can figure out what works and what doesn’t, and invest more of your time and energy into the things that are working for you as you take action.

Then finally, make it fun for yourself so that you stay motivated to continue working even through the tough times.

More Tips if You Want to Take Action

Featured photo credit: Brad Neathery via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Mark Lynch

Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

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Published on September 16, 2021

What Are Process Goals? (With Examples)

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What Are Process Goals? (With Examples)

Ready. Set. Go. For years, this was my three-step mindset when it came to goals. I would reach for the moon and hope to land among the stars without feeling the pain of the fall. This approach was all or nothing, and as a result, I experienced loads of burnout and almost zero productivity. In short, my task list was filled with high-level intentions, but I hadn’t taken the time to create a map to reach the destinations. I was lost in the planning stages because I didn’t understand process goals or have any examples to follow.

Since then, I’ve learned how to embrace the journey and break my outcome goals into smaller and more manageable process goals. This approach has improved my focus and reduced frustration because I’m now working towards a surefire strategy that will take me where I want to go––I’m creating a plan of action with achievable daily targets (a process goal).

What Is a Process Goal?

A process goal is not a destination, it’s the path you plan on taking to get there. For example, if you want to become better at writing, your process goal would be to post one blog article per week and learn from the feedback you receive. The destination is a monthly goal of 12 articles.

This distinction is important because it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that these types of goals are not all or nothing. Think about it. You’ve heard it said: it’s not about working hard but working smart.

Well, a process goal is an actionable target with what we call SMART criteria:

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  • Specific – The more detailed your goal, the better. For example, instead of “I want to be fit,” you would say, “I want to lose five pounds.” Make sure your goal is crystal clear.
  • Measurable – You need a way to measure progress and success, so it needs to be quantifiable. This is where you decide what “fit” actually means for you (more on this later).
  • Achievable – If your goal isn’t challenging, then it’s not going to be motivating. On the other hand, there must be a steeper mountain to climb if you want substantial results.
  • Realistic – “I want to run a marathon” is not practical for most people. Ensure you have the time, energy, and resources (e.g., training program) required to achieve your goal.
  • Time-Bound – Your goal needs an assigned deadline or it’s just a pipe dream. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, but what happens when the fantasy ends?

To summarize, these are the essential components of any process goal: specific, measurable, achievable within a certain time frame, and realistic.

What Is a Destination Goal?

A destination goal is a point in time when you plan to be at a particular destination. For example, if your goal is to get to represent your country at the 2025 Summer Olympics, you right need to focus on smaller increments to attain that success. On your way to that goal, you need to focus on smaller destinations. First, make the national team. Then, compete in a few events and so forth.

If you try to make it to the Olympics from the very start without any milestones along the way, it would be too daunting. On the other hand, if you focus on each milestone as a destination goal, it will all seem possible and achievable.

Process Goal Template

Let’s say you want to become a better cook. Here is one way of writing the process goal: “I will save $100 per week by cooking all my meals at home for 12 weeks.” This would be your destination (monthly), and the steps required to achieve this goal (weekly) would be:

  1. Spend one hour on Sunday planning my meals for the week.
  2. Shop for groceries after work on Monday and Tuesday nights.
  3. Cook all meals at home on Wednesdays through Sundays.
  4. Pack my lunch for work on Mondays and Tuesdays.
  5. Save $100 per week in cash by cooking at home.

This process goal will help you become a better cook by teaching you to save money through planning, shopping, cooking, packing your own lunch, and trying new recipes. It also includes a weekly reward (saving $100 in cash) that will help you stay motivated.

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Process goals encourage you to reach your ultimate goals. When you feel like you can accomplish smaller goals along the way, you gain sustainability and confidence to move forward.

In many ways, process goals are a lot like faith. Each accomplishment brings you closer to seeing the fullness of the life that you desire––it breaks through the fog and makes things clearer.

What Questions Helped Me Find My Process Goals?

After several years of setting lofty goals and becoming increasingly frustrated when I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, I decided to take a closer look at my approach.

Now, there are many ways you can do this, but here’s how I went about it. Last year, I asked myself the following questions:

  • What am I doing right now?
  • How can I get better at this?
  • Is this process goal leading me closer to my ultimate goals?

The choices I made from the answers to these questions became my process goals. They were the driving force that kept me motivated and moving forward when I wanted to give up and throw in the towel. Since then, I’ve been able to accomplish lifelong goals that I had given up on years ago. For example, I’ve been able to obtain a publishing contract, create more digital products for my business, and enjoy the moment.

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Before I broke down my goals into smaller ones, I was struggling to just get out of bed. The thought of my endless list kept me stagnant. Now, I look forward to each morning and taking on smaller projects to reach profitable outcomes.

What Are Some Process Goals You Can Try?

So, now that you understand the importance of process goals, let’s get you started with some examples that you can utilize this week:

  • Sign up for a new class.
  • Complete one portion of your project by Thursday.
  • Start walking around the block instead of running a mile.
  • Improve your writing by spending 30 minutes everyday journaling.
  • Practice your interview skills.
  • Read at least one book from the library this week.
  • Do ten push-ups each day before you leave for work.

You get the idea. These process goals don’t have to be complicated. If anything, you want to break down your plans to the point of them feeling easy or at least doable without needing a week’s vacation. By breaking your goals down into smaller pieces, you can accomplish a lot more in a shorter period. You’ll also feel more confident that you’re able to accomplish something within the moment.

It isn’t easy to continue towards your goal if achievement feels too far away. You need to celebrate the small things and embrace the process.

What Do You Need for Process Goals?

Think about how much time and money you’ve spent on new clothes, books, technology, etc. Many of us want to keep up with the latest trends and purchase the best gadgets from Apple or Microsoft. But all of these extra investments come at a steep price.

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To find your process goals, you may have to face some difficult emotions or situations bravely and confront them head-on. You might need to forgo the new outfit or the latest Mac book to meet your overall objectives.[1] Remember, process goals not only protect you from feeling overwhelmed, but they also keep you from being distracted.

Final Thoughts

You may feel overwhelmed at first when trying to set a process goal. Sometimes, just thinking about change triggers stress hormones, which only leads to more worries and anxious feelings. However, if you keep yourself focused and take small steps in the right direction, you’ll soon realize that goals don’t have to be complicated.

You can achieve your process goals one day at a time, and you can start today by breaking down your larger goal into smaller steps. It doesn’t matter if the process takes a week or six months, what matters most is that you’re moving forward and doing something to make yourself better.

Now, go on out there and achieve one of your process goals!

Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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Reference

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