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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

6 Ways to Make Progress Every Day (And Realize Your Goals)

6 Ways to Make Progress Every Day (And Realize Your Goals)

Are you at a critical stage in your life, and it seems you are not making headway with your life goals? Does it feel like you are complacent, and you are struggling to accomplish what you set out to do? You can make progress by establishing and diligently working towards those goals that align with your life’s mission.

A lot of dreams are not terminated because the dreamers gave up; they died due to a long period of inactivity. This is the more reason you need to develop a progress mindset while you pursue those relevant and meaningful goals.

A progress mindset will enable you to work on any inadequacy that can truncate the realization of your goals. With such a mindset, you are constantly evaluating yourself, improving your skills, and seeking ways to learn and grow through life.

Why Is It Essential to Develop a Progress Mindset?

Your mindset encompasses your beliefs—how you perceive your talents, skills, knowledge, and personality. Your belief system eventually influences your viewpoints about goals and success. A fixed mindset can hinder your progress, while a progressive mindset will enable you to achieve sound health, happiness, good relationships, and peace.

6 Ways to Make Progress and Realize Your Goals

Here are 6 practical ways that you can make progress and realize all your goals.

1. Figure Out Your WHYs

Nothing is static. You are either making progress or retrogressing. You need to establish why you want to move forward.

  • Career: Why do I want to be fulfilled in my career?
  • Marriage: Why do I want a happy home and loving children?
  • Health: Why do I want to be physically and mentally sound?
  • Finance: Why do I want to be out of debt?
  • Academics: Why do I want to ace my grades?
  • Relationship: Why do I want to communicate better?
  • Personal: Why do I want to be a better person?

For every aspect of your life, establish the reasons for changing levels.

Someone once said,

“When your why is strong and convincing, the how will emerge.”

Establishing your reasons will help you to be an active player in decisions that affect your life. You will also be able to establish if your motivation to progress is intrinsic or extrinsic as you make progress.

2. Establish Tangible Goals

Once you have established your reasons, the next step is to establish your life goals. Develop your aims for short-term, mid-term, as well as long-term goals. This process will enable you to track your progress and implement changes that improve your progress.

Keep Your Goals SMART

Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound in order to make progress. For instance, I want to improve my typing speed by 150 wpm within the next three months. I will spend two hours daily practicing on Mavis Beacon. I wrote in detail on how to set SMART goals that you will accomplish.

You can learn how to write SMART goals in the video below:

Write Your Goals on Paper

Sticking your goals on your wall or notepad will offer you a visual cue that can reinforce why, how, and when you want to make progress on your goals.

Update Your Goals as Required

Review your goals at intervals to ensure you can still achieve them.

3. Create Your Game Plan

It is not enough to know what you want from life; you need to design a roadmap to get to your destination.

Here’s what you can do:

Break Your SMART Goals Into Habits

Begin by highlighting the good habits you need to cultivate and the bad habits you need to eliminate. Here’s how to break bad habits that can truncate your progress.

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Master One Habit at a Time

Once you figure out the good habits to have in your life, then ensure you practice them daily. Scientists revealed that you would need 18 to 254 days to develop new habits and that a new habit will only become permanent after 66 days of practicing it.[1]

Once you have gained mastery over a habit, add more routines that will enable you to make progress in the direction of your goals.

4. Imbibe Positivity

A positive outlook means you are always optimistic about yourself, interactions, and events. It also determines your ability to expect favorable outcomes when working towards your life goals.

Positivity is a mental posture that sees accomplishments and opportunities instead of failures and defeat. It will keep you hopeful when you are facing daunting challenges.

A study on positive thinking revealed that visualizing positive images can reduce worry and anxiety.[2]

How do you maintain a positive outlook on life?

  • Look out for the best in every circumstance to be more progress-minded.
  • Use positive affirmations. For instance, when you wake up, say, “I will work hard to complete all my milestones today.”
  • Associate with positive people that will support your progress. You need positive energy to consistently make progress in the direction of your goals.
  • Change your perspectives about failures and setbacks, and see them as significant components of making progress.

5. Practice Reflection as You Progress

A lot of things will occur once you are determined to advance. You will learn new lessons and implement changes. You will form new habits and eliminate bad ones.

It is reasonable to take time out and evaluate what worked and what did not. Ask yourself how you can improve and surmount new obstacles. You can log your answers in a diary or use a virtual journal to track your thoughts[3].

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Self-reflection guide. Adapted from Gibb's (1988) reflective cycle.

    Scientists have proved the significance of reflective practice on your productivity. A group of students at the Harvard Business School found out that call center agents who reflected for 15 minutes on what they’ve learned outperformed their colleagues by 23%.[4]

    Self-reflection will enable you to keep your goals in mind constantly, which will ultimately help you make progress.

    How do you make this happen?

    Set up a Weekly Appointment With Yourself

    During this period, define your goals and reflect on them. It will also help you verify if your goals are still achievable.

    Ask Reflective Questions

    Did I achieve all I planned? What salient lesson can I pick this week? What new things did I learn, and what actions do I need to make progress?

    6. Celebrate Your Achievements

    It is highly crucial to acknowledge every milestone you complete as you make progress in life. Celebrating your achievements will build your confidence and provide you with motivation to continue.

    One of the best ways to do this is by pampering yourself with rewards when you achieve a goal. These rewards could be things you enjoy, such as a special meal, a music collection, or a mini-vacation.

    These little rewards will continuously remind you of victory anytime you feel like giving up. Merely looking at your mini-vacation pictures will motivate you to keep working towards your next goals.

    Celebrating your achievements will enable you to build on existing momentum and will allow you to attract more successes.[5]

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    Bonus Tips

    Here are other things that you can do to help you make progress toward your goals.

    Invest in Self-Improvement

    Self-development enhances your self-worth and self-confidence. You can improve yourself by listening to podcasts or audiobooks on any subject of interest. You can also attend webinars, seminars, or workshops to enhance your skills and broaden your knowledge.

    Keep Moving

    Every success comes with obstacles. Not giving up on your goals despite setbacks will help you achieve anything you desire. For instance, if you write a book and don’t make a single sale, write another one.

    Don’t allow anything to discourage you from making progress. In case you missed a deadline, train yourself to meet the next one. A positive attitude will enable you to stay on course and infuse you with confidence.

    Final Words

    Goals offer you a sense of purpose and fulfillment when accomplished. When you make progress relentlessly in the direction of your goals, you build up the confidence to overcome obstacles, and every setback becomes a stepping stone to achieve your next target.

    Apply these six practical steps to make progress and achieve every goal you have set.

    More on How to Make Progress Toward Goals

    Featured photo credit: Khiet Tam via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster 10 Good Habits to Have in Life to Be More Successful How to Live a Full Life With No Regrets Productivity Can Be Improved By These 10 Actionable Steps What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

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    Last Updated on December 1, 2020

    How to Set Milestones to Progress Towards Your Goal

    How to Set Milestones to Progress Towards Your Goal

    When you define milestones for yourself, you build a ladder to your goals. The more rungs you add, the easier the climb.

    Taking those steps can be challenging. But for those who haven’t done it before, the tougher challenge actually comes first: carving out the steps.

    What do appropriate milestones look like, and how are they placed? Let’s start with a definition.

    What Are Milestones?

    According to Merriam-Webster, “milestone” has two definitions.[1] The first is literal: a rock used as a milepost. The second, “a significant point in development,” is what most people refer to when they talk about making progress toward a goal.

    “A significant point” is what you make of it—if you’re learning to cook, making eggs over easy without breaking the yolks may be significant to you. If you’re a professional chef, making eggs might not even count as a warm-up.

    How do you decide what’s significant?

    By looking at your larger goal.

    To the professional chef, the goal might be to master the full English breakfast so it can be added to the menu. The amateur may simply want to cook himself a quick meal before work.

    That’s what makes setting milestones so tricky—you need to understand your start and endpoints to know which markers to set in the middle. And on top of that, you have to plot them on a timeline, stay motivated, track your progress, and learn from your mistakes.

    How to Define Milestones for Yourself

    Defining milestones for yourself can be a tall order. Here are ways you can do it.

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    1. Define Your Endpoint

    What do you actually want to accomplish? Is it securing a job in your field? Boosting your grade point average above 3.0?

    Remember, goals come in many colors. They might be personal, financial, professional, social, emotional, or spiritual. There’s no “wrong” goal, just as long as you know your “why” and are committed to it.

    2. Start Where You Are

    To set milestones, it’s not enough to know where you want to end up—just as important is where you’re at now.

    Looking at yourself objectively is tough. Think about it, and ask others for a gut check. If you’re not sure how your basketball skills stack up to people who eventually go pro, ask a trusted coach or teammate for their opinion.

    3. Be ‘SMART’ About it

    Once you know where you stand and where you want to be, you’re ready to plot some waypoints for yourself. Define milestones just as you do your big-picture goals—with the “SMART” system.

    Milestones should be:

    Specific

    To be meaningful, milestones need to be carved out precisely.

    If you’re trying to get fit, what does that mean to you? Would you like to lose a certain amount of weight? Build muscle? Overhaul your diet?

    All of these might be milestones toward your goal.

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    Again, if you aren’t sure, ask a professional. When I decided to get healthy for my kids, I knew I wasn’t aiming to be an Olympian. For some “normal dude” coaching, I reached out to a friend at IVRY Fitness.[2]

    He helped me truly understand what specifically I needed to be my best self. I always tried to just jump on the Whole30 bandwagon or whatever was the hottest fitness goal at the time. He helped me understand that to achieve sustainability in your goals, they need to be targeted for you.

    Measurable

    To stay on track in my fitness regimen, my checkpoints had to be measurable. In some cases, this was a simple “yes or no”. One of my milestones, for example, was eating a real lunch every day.

    In other cases, my milestones were numeric in nature. For the cardiovascular component, I set a daily step goal for myself. To build strength, I needed to gradually increase the amount of weight I was lifting. Making each of these measurable helped me know whether or not I’d met the milestone.

    Achievable

    Not all measurable and specific milestones make sense. There’s no way I was going to bench press 400 pounds the week after I set my health goals, for example. Trying to do too much too quickly would have discouraged me, not to mention the risk of injury.

    For each milestone you’re considering, ask yourself: Is this a “stretch” milestone, an easy one, or a “goldilocks” one? Again, ask someone who knows you well if you’re not sure.

    Relevant

    Milestones have to make sense in the context of your larger goal to be worth setting. If you can’t explain how your milestone actually gets you closer to that goal, set a different one.

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    For example, mental health is an important part of fitness. But because I wasn’t depressed, there’s no reason I’d define a milestone for myself like “see a counselor once a week.”

    Time-Bounded

    When do you expect to reach your milestone? Is it an hour away? A whole year? Any time horizon is fine, so long as it’s factored into the milestone you set. Remember that milestones must be achievable.

    4. Take it One at a Time

    If setting a dozen milestones at once is too daunting, try setting a new milestone only after achieving the last one. If you’re learning to swim, for instance, you might decide which stroke you want to learn next depending on how difficult you found the last one.

    Doesn’t that make achieving your overall goal more difficult? Not necessarily. You just need to know the general arc. With the swimming example, your plan may be to learn a new stroke every other week. The specific strokes don’t matter until it’s time to practice them.

    5. Write it Down

    When you set a milestone, write it down. Not only does doing so help you further define the milestone — remember the SMART system—but it also makes you more likely to achieve it.

    Milestones really are goals nestled within larger goals, and research shows writing down goals makes you 42% more likely to reach them.[3]

    6. Be Flexible

    Try as you might, you won’t meet every milestone you set for yourself. Don’t punish yourself. Learn from your mistake, and set another—and hopefully more achievable—milestone.

    Do you need to scrap other milestones down the road because you failed to meet one? Not necessarily, but you may need to delay them.

    If you didn’t pass your driver’s test, you probably need to push back practicing merging onto the highway. To ace your test, you may need to first reach a new milestone of memorizing road signs.

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    7. Reward Yourself Along the Way

    Rewards aren’t just for reaching your big-picture goals. Motivate yourself to keep setting milestones by giving yourself small gifts along the way.

    Be careful, however, that they aren’t too small. Just as you wouldn’t give a friend or client a cheap gift, nor should you give yourself one.

    John Ruhlin, a gifting expert I know, recommends this rule:[4])

    Give yourself something you’d never normally buy but would love to own.

    Obviously, don’t go out and buy yourself a new car because you hit your step goal. But a high-end, personalized water bottle might be just the ticket.

    8. Give Yourself Breaks

    Another way people demotivate themselves is by working themselves into the ground just to reach that next milestone. They beat themselves up, for example, because the nice dinner they enjoyed on vacation blew their calorie budget.

    Life is bigger than any one milestone. If you have something to celebrate, indulge a little. If life deals you a setback, realize it may take some time to get back on track. What’s important is that you keep a positive attitude.

    9. Get an Accountability Partner

    If you’re struggling to set and stick to your milestones, don’t give up; get a partner. Make sure it’s someone who will be firm but fair with you, like a family member or a close friend.

    Don’t insist that the accountability partner progress through your milestones with you. Everyone has their own goals to achieve. Do, however, ask him or her to hold you accountable. Suggest some light consequences in case you aren’t progressing toward your goal like you’d hoped.

    Even if you can’t get an accountability partner, you can use one of your calendar apps to set daily goals that reminds you of each goal. At the end of the week, go through your calendar and track which goals you accomplished.

    Final Thoughts

    Some people already find goal setting difficult, so what more if they have to set milestones? To define milestones also means to progress toward your larger goals. Defining milestones on your own may not be easy at first, but you can start with these 9 tips until you get used to it.

    More Tips on Setting and Achieving Milestones

    Featured photo credit: Ante Hamersmit via unsplash.com

    Reference

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