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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 June 19, 2019

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

I’ve stood on the edge of my own personal cliffs many times. Each time I jumped, something different happened. There were risks that started off great, but eventually faded. There were risks that left me falling until I hit the ground. There were risks that started slow, but built into massive successes.

Every risk is different, but every risk is the same. You need to have some fundamentals ready before you jump, but not too many.

It wouldn’t be a risk if you knew everything that was about to happen, would it? Here’re 6 ways to be a successful risk taker.

1. Understand That Failure Is Going to Happen a Lot

It’s part of life. Everything we do has failure attached to it. All successful people have stories of massive failure attached to them. Thinking that your risk is going to be pain free and run as smooth as silk is insane.

Expect some pain and failure. Actually, expect a lot of it. Expect the sleepless nights with crazy thoughts of insecurity that leave you trembling under the covers. It’s going to happen, no matter how positive you are about the risk you are about to take.

When failure hits, the only options are to keep going or quit. If you expect falling into a meadow of flowers and frolicking unicorns, then you’re going to immediately quit once you realize that getting to that meadow requires you to go through a rock filled cave filled with hungry bats.

2. Trust the Muse

Writing a story isn’t a big risk. It’s really just a risk on my time. So when I start writing a story, I’m scared it will be time wasted. Of course, it never really is. Even if the story doesn’t turn out fabulous, I still practiced.

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When I’ve taken risks in my life, the successful ones always seemed to happen when I followed the muse. Steven Pressfield describes the muse,

“The Muse demands depth. Shallow does not work for her. If we’re seeking her help, we can’t stay in the kiddie end. When we work, we have to go hard and go deep.”

The muse is a goddess who wants our attention and wants us to work on our passion.

If you’re taking a risk in anything, it’s assumed that there is some passion built up behind that risk. That passion, deep inside you, is the muse. Trust it, focus on it, listen to it.

The most successful articles and stories I write are the ones I’ve focused all my attention on. There were no interruptions during their creative development. I didn’t check my phone or go watch my Twitter feed. I was fully engaged in my work.

Trust the muse, focus your attention on your risk, let the ideas and path develop themselves, and leave the distractions at the side of the road.

3. Remember to Be Authentic

Taking a risk and then turning into something you’re not, is only going to lead to disaster. Whether you are risking a new relationship or new opportunity, you must be yourself throughout the entire process.

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How many times have you acted like you loved something just because the men or woman you just started going out with loved it?

For example, I’m not an office worker. I have an incredibly hard time working in a confined timeline (ie. 9-5). That’s why I write. I can do it whenever the mood strikes, I don’t have somebody breathing down my neck, telling me that I’m five minutes late, or missed a comma somewhere. I don’t have to walk on eggshells wondering if what I’m writing will get me fired or make me lose a promotion. I can just be myself, period.

One girlfriend didn’t understand that. She believed solely in the 9-5 motto, specifically something in human resources because that was a very stable job. I was scared for my future, but I stuck with the relationship because of my own insecurities and acted like I would do it to make her happy.

Here’s a tip: NEVER take away from your happiness to make somebody else satisfied (note I didn’t say happy).

Making somebody else happy will make you happy. Doing something to satisfy somebody is murder on your soul.

4. Don’t Take Any Risks While You’re Not Clearheaded

I’d been considering the risk for a couple weeks. It all sounded good. I was 22 and I could be rich in a couple of years. That’s what they were selling me, anyways.

One night, while at a house party with some friends, I found myself at a computer. A couple of my friends were standing nearby and asked me what I was doing. I told them I was considering starting my own business and it was only going to cost me $1,500.

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Of course, when a bunch of drunk people are surrounded by more drunk people, things get enthusiastic. It sounded like the best business venture in the world to everybody, including me. So I signed up and gave them my credit card number.

A few painful months and close to $4,000 dollars lost later, I quit the business. I was young and fell into the pyramid scheme trap. It was an expensive drunk decision.

Drinking heavily and making decisions has a proven track record of failure. So when you have something important to decide, don’t let your emotions take over your brain.

5. Fully Understand What You’re Risking

It was the start of my baseball comeback. I got a tryout with a professional scout and killed it. After the tryout, he talked to my girlfriend and myself, making sure we understood I would be gone for up to 6 months at a time. That strain on the relationship could be tough.

We understood. I left to play ball, chose to stay in the city I played in, and a year later we broke up. Not because of baseball, see point 3 above. Taking big risks can have massive impacts on everything in your life from relationships to money. Know what you’re risking before you take the risk.

If you believe the risk will be worth it or you have the support you need from your family, then go ahead and make the leap.

You can get more guidance on how to take calculated risks from this article: How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve More and Become Successful

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6. Remember This Is Your One Shot Only

As far as we know officially, this is our one shot at life, so why not take some risks?

The top thing people are saddened by on their deathbeds are these regrets. They wish they did more, asked that girl in the coffee shop out, spoke out when they should have, or did what they were passionate about.

Don’t regret. Learn and experience. Live. Take the risks you believe in. Be yourself and make the world a better place.

Now go ahead, take that risk and be successful at it!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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