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3 Surefire Ways to Follow Through on Your Goals

3 Surefire Ways to Follow Through on Your Goals

We all have big goals we’d like to achieve that we know will enhance our experience and enjoyment of life. Whether you want to learn another language, reach your physical peak, or fulfill your lifetime dream of becoming a diving instructor, goals will help you get there.

Deciding on a goal is easy. Following through, on the other hand, is not. Here are three surefire ways you can give yourself a helping hand and follow through on your goals.

1. Go Public

Very few things are quite as motivating as public accountability. Once we’ve announced to friends, family, co-workers, and the general public that we’re working towards a certain goal, we’re far more likely to actually complete that goal.

Why? Public accountability works for two main reasons.

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First of all, we don’t want to look bad. We care what our nearest and dearest think of us and we don’t want to seem flaky. If we publicly announce a goal and don’t complete it, we have to face up to everyone who asks “Hey, how did that marathon go last summer?” As much as we might be able to justify prioritising our long lie-ins over long runs to ourselves, trying to explain that to someone else is going to be pretty embarrassing.

The second reason that public accountability works is more positive. Just as we know we’re going to have to ‘fess up if we don’t complete our goal, we also know that we’ll have a lot of support from people around us when we do complete our goal. This in itself can help motivate us to push through the more challenging times.

So if you’re working towards a goal and want a simple yet effective way of sticking to it, get on Facebook, send a group email, text everyone on your contacts list, and watch your motivation levels soar.

2. Set milestones

One of the biggest barriers that stands between you and your goals is becoming overwhelmed. Goals always contain a series of action steps, which have varying degrees of difficulty. When we look at the goal as a whole, we might feel discouraged by how far we are from the completion point.

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Breaking the goal down into several milestones, however, helps keep us motivated. Instead of focusing on how far we have to go until we complete the big goal, we can shift our focus to the smaller, more manageable milestones.

Not only do milestones give us cause for celebration on the way to completing our goal, they also help us stay on track with completing our big goal by a certain date. Setting a deadline is one of the key hallmarks of achievable goals: if you don’t have a deadline, other commitments *will* get in the way.

3. Incentivise success

You can incentivise yourself to complete your goal in two ways:

  • Rewarding completion
  • Penalising non-completion

In practice, rewarding completion of a goal or milestone might look like treating yourself to something when you reach that particular target. At the same time, you can commit to a certain penalty, such as donating $100 to charity, if you don’t complete a certain milestone or goal.

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These incentives are most effective when you agree to the details in advance. If you wait until you either reach or don’t reach your milestone or goal to decide on the specifics, this method won’t be as much help.

We are masters at self-justification, so if we don’t agree to rewarding ourselves in a certain way at a certain time when we reach a certain goal, then we’re more likely to cheat, or forgo the reward altogether (and rewards are important). Equally, if we don’t complete our milestone or goal and haven’t agreed a penalty in advance, it’s going to be a lot easier for us to reason our way out of sticking to the penalty.

Decide which rewards and penalties you’re going to commit to in advance, and you’ll be far more likely to stick to them.

Which method is right for me?

Any one of these three methods will help you reach goals and targets. You know yourself better than anyone so you’re in the best position to decide which of the methods above will be most helpful to you individually.

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If you’re really serious about achieving your big goals, however, you’ll give yourself the best chance of getting there by implementing all three at once.

What are your surefire ways for following through on your goals?

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Hannah Braime

Hannah is a coach who believes the world is a richer place when we have the courage to be fully self-expressed.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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