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5 Ways to Set Your Goals in Stone

5 Ways to Set Your Goals in Stone

photo by mendhak

    Most of us set goals for our lives. Whether the goal is to climb Everest or to buy a pair of shoes, setting goals can sometimes seem like second nature to us. Even so, setting a goal doesn’t automatically mean getting the result. Sometimes goals are gradually forgotten about and fade away into the back of our minds.

    Motivation is the biggest goal killer. When we first set a goal, whether it’s to earn double what we earn now or achieve world domination, there is usually a reason behind that goal. People don’t jump out of bed with a goal out of the blue. There is a source of inspiration, something that has sparked our imagination. We usually see something, or read about something that makes us want our lives to change. There is an initial spark and we’re hit with a flood of motivation, and can’t wait to get started on this goal.

    After a few weeks or even days, our enthusiasm dies down, and that spark of inspiration becomes a memory. We know what the goal is, but we no longer have that passion burning inside us and our momentum grinds to a stop.

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    To achieve goals that take time, we need to stay motivated, and we need to keep the inspiration flowing. The goals need to be constantly in our minds. Unavoidable and present wherever we are. If we’re constantly reminded of our goals, they never go away. This constant reminder means that goals are always on our mind, and easier to achieve.

    As with most things, it’s better to keep this process simple. These are five suggestions that I use. They’re easy to do and don’t take much time, but the effects are obvious once you do them.

    I’m going to start with what I find to be the most effective method, and the rest of the list will be in descending order (so you get the best stuff first).

    1. Create a “vision board” or “board of dreams”.

    I found this method over at selfgrowth.com, and it always keeps me motivated. The idea is to get a notice board, and let your artistic side out. Create a shrine to what you want to achieve. Don’t just write a list. Stick up things that remind you of what it is that you want. Photos, gifts, memorabilia, letters, notes, pages from books. Anything that provides you with a reminder of that original inspiration. If you’re goal is to become wealthy, think of all the things that remind you of that goal. Houses, cars, yachts, people. The list is endless. Be creative: print a picture of the American Express Centurion card and stick that up until you can replace it with one of your own (you might have to phone American Express and say you lost your card to replace the one on the board). This board will engulf everything about your goal and show you all the reasons you want to achieve it.

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    Once done, stick it where you will see it most. I have mine facing my desk. Whenever I glance up from my monitor I see the board. When I’m feeling uninspired and ready to quit, a few minutes looking at my board, appreciating all the things that I want to achieve gives me that bit of inspiration needed to continue working.

    1. Photos (everywhere)

    Visual stimulation can be much more powerful than words. Seeing the words “Aston Martin Vanquish” doesn’t compare to seeing an Aston Martin Vanquish. Images are a source of great inspiration. A quick look at advertisements will show that the ones providing visual stimulation work better than the ones with only words. Seeing a sunset isn’t the same as reading about it, no matter how good the writer. Get photos of what you want to achieve and stick them everywhere you can. Pictures of the people that inspire you doing what they do best are great. Decorate your home with them, put them on your desktop background, put them on your cell phone background, have photos on your desk of things that represent your aims. The picture isn’t as important as the emotional connection to your goal that comes with it.

    Steve Pavlina suggests using digital photo frames. Digital photo frames allow you to have a slide show of images. Seeing these images will reinforce your desires, and remind you what you’re working towards.

    1. Leave notes (everywhere)

    As well as the photos, have notes dotted around the place. Write notes that explain the photo you have chosen. A photo of a mansion with a pool with a note saying “I am going to buy this house” will further reinforce your goal. The more unavoidable and obvious your goals are, the easier it becomes to remember what you are working for. Notes can be left anywhere. I leave notes on my desk, by my bed, on the refrigerator door, in the bathroom (although they tend to get wet). Write on your spouse’s face when they’re asleep if you want to (okay, don’t. This isn’t a good idea…).

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    1. Your most used applications

    What applications do you use most? The majority of applications that are used everyday will have some way of keeping a note, whether it was meant for that purpose or not. I’m an avid user of iGoogle and my iGoogle homepage displays my goals every time I log in. Microsoft Outlook can do the same. Firefox can (there are handy notes add-ons!). Even Windows can. Google’s Desktop sidebar lets you save notes so that they’re ready for you when you log in. Whatever application you use the most, have it remind you of your goals.

    1. Tell people (but be selective)

    Tell others about your goals. Tell the people that inspire you and will throw encouragement your way. The inspiring people in our lives will add to our momentum. Have a conversation about your goals often, don’t just tell other people and never mention them again. Remind others and talk about their goals as well as yours (don’t phone someone at 4am every morning to tell them about your goals, that doesn’t work either…). If your goals are well known and a regular talking point, you’ll never lose that inspiration.

    Staying motivated past the original spark of inspiration is not easy. It can take discipline and a strong will to keep working towards a long term goal, but at the very least we can make things easier.

    Remind yourself of the original moment you set your goal. The reasons you want to achieve that goal. The potential results of your hard work should be seen around your home or workplace.

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    Don’t stick to a list. Be creative, put effort into this and it will have a bigger impact on your life. Make a day of it and let the day become part of your memories. A day dedicated to decorating your house with reminders will stick with you longer than 10 minutes spent writing a list.

    I’ve used all the methods above, and I find the vision board to be the most effective. Spending a few hours creating a collage of what I want to achieve helped the whole idea of the goal sink in, and I got to spend some time going through each aspect of the goal this way.

    Hopefully with the above methods, you will find your goals become part of who you are, and you’ll find the journey to achieving them much easier.

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    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

    How about a unique spin on things?

    These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

    1. Empty your mind.

    It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

    Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

    Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

    Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

    How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

    2. Keep certain days clear.

    Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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    This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

    3. Prioritize your work.

    Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

    Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

    Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    4. Chop up your time.

    Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

    5. Have a thinking position.

    Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

    What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

    6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

    To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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    Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

    7. Don’t try to do too much.

    OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

    8. Have a daily action plan.

    Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

    Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

    9. Do your most dreaded project first.

    Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

    10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

    The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

    11. Have a place devoted to work.

    If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

    But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

    Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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    Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

    12. Find your golden hour.

    You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

    Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

    Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

    Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

    13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

    It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

    By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

    Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

    14. Never stop.

    Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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    Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

    There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

    15. Be in tune with your body.

    Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

    16. Try different methods.

    Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

    It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

    Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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