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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

8 Simple and Effective Ways to Start Reaching Goals Today

8 Simple and Effective Ways to Start Reaching Goals Today

Do you ever feel like you reach for the stars and never seem to get the results you want? You aim high and hope for the best, but reaching goals never seems to happen, and you’re not sure what you’re doing wrong.

Goals are tough to achieve. Sometimes your goals are too vague, too broad, or just unrealistic. However, here’s the good news: you’re already ahead of most people just by setting goals. Now you need to tweak your approach, and you’ll make reaching goals easier.

Here are eight ways to get you going on the right path.

1. Set the Right Types of Goals

Ever heard of a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG)[1]? It’s a term coined by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, to describe a goal that’s strategic and emotion-driven. Collins advocates setting these types of goals because the traditional SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-driven) lack the emotional connection necessary for accomplishing big life goals.

A better approach, according to Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ, a leadership training and research company, is to form “HARD” goals[2]:

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  • Heartfelt: Having an emotional attachment to your goal.
  • Animated: Motivated by a vision, picture, or movie in your mind.
  • Required: Goals need to feel so urgent and necessary that you have no other choice but to start acting on them immediately.
  • Difficult: Drag you out of your comfort zone, activating your senses and attention.

2. Map out Your Plan

It’s not enough to have a goal. You need an action plan to accomplish it, too. This is where many people fail.

They set goals but don’t follow-up and create a plan with the important steps to get started. When this happens, big goals seem overwhelming, and you’re more likely to give up.

Create a road map to reach your goal. Plan one or two actions you can take each week, and focus on doing small things every day. For example, if your goal is to start a new business this year, this week you can choose a URL and do some research on building a WordPress website. The key is to break your goal down into smaller steps that are more achievable.

3. Visualize and Reflect

Social scientist Frank Niles, Ph.D., explains:

When we visualize an act, the brain generates an impulse that tells our neurons to “perform” the movement. This creates a new neural pathway—clusters of cells in our brain that work together to create memories or learned behaviors—that primes our body to act in a way consistent to what we imagined.[3]

When reaching goals, use creative visualization.

    Visualize yourself reaching your goals, including the process and work it will take to get there (this is important)[4]. Try to feel what it will be like once you reach those big accomplishments. This will form a lasting picture in your mind that will sustain your motivation over the long run.

    4. Write Yourself a Letter

    I love this tip from John Carlton, the legendary copywriter. He says, “My trick to setting goals is very simple: I sit down and write myself a letter, dated exactly one year ahead.”[5]

    Carlton says you should write yourself a detailed letter describing your life one year from now. It’s a powerful technique and is another way to use visualization to map out your desired outcome in your mind. It’s also great fun to read it a year later to see if you’ve achieved what you had hoped.

    5. Take Action Every Day

    It doesn’t matter how much you learn if you don’t take action. Don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis. The best way to learn is by doing and to embrace failureit’s the stepping stone to success for all successful people and their long-term goals.

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    Everyday actions don’t have to be big. You simply need to take one small step in the right direction.

    If your goal is to eat healthier, pick up an apple instead of a cookie. If your goal is to start yoga, find a five-minute video that won’t overwhelm you with new poses. Any step you take is a good one.

    6. Tell Others

    Having to stay accountable to someone is a great motivator when you want to start reaching goals. Find someone to act as an accountability partner, and spend time explaining which goals or healthy habits you’re trying to work on. It could be your spouse, a friend, or a neighbor. You just need someone who will check in on how you’re doing with your goal.
    As a bonus, you’ll likely get valuable feedback from them along the way, even if you fail to reach a goal or milestone while goal setting. 

    7. Plan for Setbacks

    Being a good goal-setter is kind of like boxing; you need to learn to roll with the punches because you know you’re going to get hit. The best way to minimize the impact of setbacks is to plan for them. Have a contingency plan for when things go wrong, and be prepared to react and learn from those setbacks.

    Keep in mind that, while you may have created a timeline, you may need to tweak it later. Life is full of unforeseen complications. If you run into one, adjust your timeline without feeling negative about the change. It’ll only help you move forward in the end.

    8. Evaluate Your Progress Every Week

    Ask yourself: what did I do this week to get closer to my goal? What worked? What didn’t?

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    Consider using a journal to reflect on the progress you made (or didn’t). Check this journal each time you feel unsure of how to proceed.

    Don’t forget to celebrate your success, too. Allow yourself to bask in the success of a great week, and then get right back at it and check the next thing off your list. That’s how you’ll reach your ultimate goals.

    Find ways to celebrate your successes in this article.

    Final Thoughts

    It’s great to dream big, but that also means you need to plan big. The bigger your goal, the more organization and motivation it will require. If you’re prepared to put in the effort of making a step-by-step plan and following it to the best of your ability, set your sights high and get started.

    More Tips on Reaching Goals

    Featured photo credit: Kinga Cichewicz via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    More by this author

    Scott Christ

    Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

    17 Things People With Emotional Strength Don’t Do 10 Ways to Improve Your Mood When You Are Feeling Down 10 Simple Ways To Live a Longer and Happier Life 9 Simple Ways to Stop Overeating 8 Simple and Effective Ways to Start Reaching Goals Today

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2021

    30 Goals To Set For Yourself Before Turning Into 40s

    30 Goals To Set For Yourself Before Turning Into 40s

    Some people believe that once they’ve passed the age of 30, they’re too old to do something new and exciting; that it’s time for them to settle down.

    If you have found your dream job, and are clear about your purpose of life, then go ahead and live your best life! However, it’s never too late to dream a new dream and set some new goals.

    The vast majority of the people focus on their careers and how much they need to earn, but there are certain things you should do to create unforgettable memories and make yourself proud of what you managed to accomplish.

    Whereas there are countless ideas which vary on your attitude and lifestyle, the following list is full of things anyone should try.

    1. Visit a new continent.

    New continent means a whole new experience, different culture and tons of interesting people to meet. Everyone should visit another continent at least once in a lifetime, it’s a priceless experience.

    2. Travel to at least 20 countries.

    Each new country you visit is an original life lesson and unique memories. The more countries you travel to, the better you can compare them and draw conclusions from people’s behavior, culture, and rituals. By spending time in different environments, we can learn a lot about ourselves.

    3. Make at least one friend in every country you visit.

    Traveling somewhere without making a new friend there is a huge loss. By interacting with local people, you may have a chance to learn about the secret facts of that very location and explore some mysterious places. What’s more, creating a bond with the locals creates an opportunity to revisit the country cheaper by being hosted by the people you’ve met.

    4. Take a spontaneous trip.

    Without planning every single detail, pack all the necessary stuff and set off into the unknown. You don’t even have to leave your country, the key is to make it impromptu, face what life throws at you and see how you can deal with that. Once the trip is over, you’ll learn some incredible lessons that you wouldn’t have by booking an all-inclusive vacation.

    Catching a last-minute flight to a random destination might be a starting point for a serious adventure.

    5. Learn a new language.

    Do you know what’s the Bill Gates’ most regretted thing is? It’s not learning a second language. During your travel, it’s a great opportunity to practice your language skills with locals. While you are at home, you can learn the basics using books, attending a course or through online programs. And then, once you have a chance to speak with native speakers, this will be the moment when you learn the most. During just a few months of attending a German high school, I learned far more than spending two years of practice with books (though it was a good preparation).

    6. Go Bungee Jumping.

    This idea may seem crazy to you, but it’s just a warm up comparing to the next one. Bungee jumping is an insane way to face your fears and do something against common sense. As for me, it’s a valuable lesson which emphasizes the fact that even the scariest things turn out to be tolerable once you go through them.

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    7. Skydive.

    As I promised, this one is hardcore. Experience the unstoppable power of gravitation and see the world from a different perspective. Though I didn’t skydive yet, doing it at least once is definitely on my bucket list.

    8. Face your worst fear.

    Whatever you fear, most probably it’s a mental issue and not a real danger. There’re countless phobias people suffer from. I don’t know what’s yours, but I dare you to test your limits and see how far you can go.

    9. Stand on top of a mountain.

    And get there going on a foot. The view from the top is invaluable and unique. You literally feel the power of nature and see how small we actually are comparing to the natural forces.

    10. Boost your financial stability.

    Before you turning into 40, becoming financially independent is almost mandatory. To avoid getting lost in debt and make the money work for you and not vice versa, you should devote some time to learning finances. This 14-day plan is a great way to start.

    11. Create your personal emergency fund.

    Saving money regularly is a life-saving habit once you are in financial troubles. Most experts suggest your emergency fund should allow yourself to cover at least 3 months of living expenses. While you are busy making your dreams come true and doing crazy things, be aware that accidents do happen, so having a financial security is definitely helpful while you’ll be figuring out the alternative plan to solve your problems.

    12. Create an online business on the side.

    Nowadays, there are endless ways to make some extra money online. A legit method almost anyone can try out is monetizing your skills through creating an online course or ebook. It’s a great way to cover additional expenses and learn a bit of entrepreneurship from real life experience. Maybe you’ll even be able to leave your 9–5 and create your dream lifestyle making money from any place in the world like digital nomads do.

    To learn more, check out these 24 easy ways to make money on the internet.

    13. Develop a habit of daily exercising.

    The older you are, the more likely you are to lead a sedentary lifestyle which is a horrible tendency. To avoid it, focus on creating healthy habits. There’s no excuse for not finding at least 20 minutes a day to train. You can try out bodyweight workouts or go for a quick run.

    Your body will be incredibly grateful and serve you well for longer.

    Although he has one of the most exacting jobs you can imagine, Barrack Obama works out for 45-minute every day. It’s a habit everyone should borrow.

    14. Start eating healthy.

    Diet-related problems are a huge concern in today’s world. More than one-third U.S. adults are obese. Mostly, because of unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Taking care of your eating patterns is mandatory if you keep your health. The more you put it off, there more likely you are to never get started.

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    In a nutshell, choose unprocessed, whole products and avoid junk food with huge amounts of sugar, salt, and fat.

    15. Get in the best shape of your life.

    There are some living miracles like C.T. Fletcher who achieved the best shape during his 50s. However, now is always the perfect moment to do that. Educate yourself about nutrition, maybe invest in a personal coach and commit to fully transform your body. There are countless 1-year transformations on Youtube which serve as a great source of inspiration.

    Once you are in your life’s best shape, go on a photo session so you can proudly show your grandchildren how shredded you once were.

    16. Become a disciplined person.

    Self-discipline is an enormously useful skill when it comes to making your dreams become a reality. Without discipline, you can’t stick to your commitments and work toward your goals. Becoming a person with rules will have a positive impact on your future self.

    The fact is, you can either control yourself or let yourself control you. If you dream of a meaningful life, you’ll definitely aim for the first option.

    This free self-discipline book is a good resource to begin with.

    17. Become a morning person.

    The majority of the most successful people swear by the power of being an early riser. Whether it’s CEOs, world’s best athletes or other outstanding individuals, most of them have a morning routine which highly contributes to their success.

    Morning ritual empowers your day and gives you an advantage over the rest of the world which still sleeps while you work to become a better self.

    18. Read at leat 100 books.

    Whatever your problem is, there is at least one decent book offering a solution. Books hide incredible value and knowledge. The sad fact is, however, more and more people prefer TV shows or video games.

    Once I became a regular reader, I realized how much you miss out if you refuse to read. The impact books have made (and still make) on my life is gigantic.

    Start to finish reading at least one book a month, and you will have completed 12 book a year!

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    If you don’t know which books to choose, check out this post.

    19. Write a book.

    81% of the population feels they could write a book, but only the minority takes action and starts writing. The truth is, once you begin to write, you are a writer. Finishing a book is challenging but the sense of satisfaction afterward is definitely worth it.

    Pick a topic and devote 30 minutes a day to writing. In a year or even sooner, you’ll not only drastically improve your language skills but also finish your first book.

    Nowadays, when self-publishing becomes more and more popular, you can release your work avoiding the middlemen and maybe even discover that your calling turns out to be a writer. You don’t know until you try…

    20. Write a letter to your future self.

    Make sure to include your dreams, expectations and plans. Decide how much time needs to go by until you open your letter. Once you do it, it will be the moment of truth and a chance to see whether you became who you wanted to be.

    If you prefer modern technology, you can write an email to your future self using free services like futureme.org.

    21. Go offline for a whole month.

    Imagine no Facebook, Internet, Reddit or Lifehack for the whole month. This 30-day challenge tests your ability to entertain yourself in the world ruled by technology, avoiding the Internet and computers completely. To make it even more spicy, cut off the television.

    It’s a great opportunity to spend more time with your friends and family, focus on your passions and read more books.

    22. Take a picture every day for a whole year.

    I doubt there are many mementos better than this. Once the year is over, you create a time-lapse which shows portrait by portrait how you changed during the 365 days.

    Watching it 20 years later will probably make you cry.

    23. Make a list of things that truly make you happy.

    And make sure to do these activities as often as possible. You can have all the money in the world and a career that society considers the most successful, yet you can feel miserable. It’s because the real happiness comes from experiences, self-realization, and contribution. While you discover the world checking off the things from this list, try to find out which environment makes you the happiest person in the world.

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    Whenever you face a hard moment, take out your happiness-list and start doing one of the things from it. As a result, the bad emotion fades away much quicker.

    24. Complete the integrity challenge.

    Integrity challenge is an idea from I borrowed from Joel Runyon. Oftentimes our actions don’t represent our thoughts and commitments. This weird phenomenon is most visible when a new year begins and most of the people fail to stick to their resolutions. The way it works is simple. Choose one thing, ideally an uncomfortable task like daily jogging for 30 minutes, determine the timeframe (e.g. 90 days) and then just do your thing every single day without failing even once until you arrive at the finish line.

    This test points out your weaknesses and questions your willpower. However, once you accomplish it successfully, it gives you a huge motivation boost to pursue more complex goals which every 20-something should aim at.

    25. Help a homeless person to get back to a normal life.

    Our life isn’t only about ourselves but also about the people around us. There are many folks who really need help but are ignored by the majority of the society. Imagine supporting a homeless person with the goal in mind to make them a self-sufficient member of the community again.

    If you feel miserable, be aware that giving back is one of the fastest methods to make yourself incredibly happy.

    26. Donate to a local foundation.

    The amount of your donation doesn’t matter, the fact of doing it does. Imagine if everyone (who’s financially independent) donated a dollar a month to a foundation of choice. It seems small but once you add up all the donations, the sum can make a huge difference in other people’s lives.

    27. Stop looking for other people’s approval.

    This is an especially useful yet rare skill. We definitely care way too much about how others perceive us which in result lowers your self-esteem and confidence as well as makes you overthink the simple choices. Abandoning the validation completely is tough, but it’s worth working toward it.

    Once you accept the inevitable disapproval, you can become your true and authentic self. To get started, have a look at this post.

    28. Learn to say no.

    Saying no at the right moment is a habit which guarantees you a better life. However, the tendency in most people is quite the opposite. They say yes way too much and end up with unnecessary commitments and responsibilities which don’t add any value to their lives.

    Now is when you should finally grasp that. There are plenty of things you don’t need to say yes to all the time.

    29. Make a DIY furniture.

    Do it yourself” movement grows in popularity and some of the ideas people come up with are seriously unbelievable. Creating your own piece of furniture boosts your creativity, tests your manual skills and saves you money. The satisfaction after putting your favorite books on a hand-made shelf beats every commercial furniture.

    30. Spend a night under the stars.

    As for me, watching the sky in the night is the best way to get the existential buzz. It’s a beautiful scenario to contemplate about your life, plans, and the future. Pitch a tent in the nature, make a bonfire, invite your loved ones and fire your imagination with the stars.

    Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

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