We all want something. None of us, regardless of our place in life can actually say there isn’t a thing we don’t want. We live in a society that no matter how much we have there is still more to obtain and we’re constantly wondering what our life would be like if we had those things. Television is constantly showing you what the good life looks like, what you’re missing out on, trying to sell you on a dream that is possibly outside of your reach right now. You are filled with these false beliefs that you can make millions over night, have a body of a Victoria secret model in 90 days, or be completely organized in just a month. You buy in to it, you spend your hard earned money chasing after a dream, but you fall short, you always fall short. You see other people succeeding, your neighbor was able to get back into her wedding dress, your sister saved for a down payment on a new home, but you failed.
You start to question yourself, what’s wrong with you, why can’t you ever succeed? Maybe you’ll never achieve anything in your life just like everyone; especially that voice in your head has always told you. You wait another year, telling yourself that you’ll try harder next year, that next year is going to be your year. You smear ‘New Year New You’ all over your social media accounts. You build up the momentum to get going again but you fall flat on your face before spring break even rolls around.
When setting your goal you need to sit down and map out exactly what it is going to look like for you.
You’re not alone, it may seem like it when everyone in your circle is moving forward and achieving their goals but most people are in the exact same place that you are. They too are gearing up to make all these changes in the New Year and they too will not reach their goal. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can reach your goals. You can be the type of person that says they are going to do something and actually do it. You can lose the weight that you want to lose, you can save the money that you want to save, you can take that trip, you can get that promotion, and you can have the social life that you see single women in New York City having. But you have to know the how; you have to understand what has resulted in you failing in the past and how you’re going to get over it. You have to keep reading and then take action to start living your best life.
Setting Kick Ass Goals
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on actually setting a goal. I think for the most part y’all know how to do that. I want to do blank by blank because of blank, basically. I don’t think now a days that people really go wrong with the goal setting part and there are tons of resources that are pretty awesome that walk you through being able to set a goal.
Of course, the important thing to remember is to make sure your goal is realistic, measurable, and has a time frame set. So, if you’re wanting to be more social that’s a very vague goal. How often do you want to socialize? When do you want to start? How do you know that you have reached your goal? If you’re someone that is introverted and only leaves your house to go to your grandmother’s birthday party every year is it realistic to say that you’re going to start going to happy hour twice a week and out dancing every weekend. Probably not, one you probably don’t have enough friends to do those things with since you never leave your house and two, you’re an introvert and that’s really not your scene to begin with.
By not having those three things, being realistic, measurable, and having a time frame, you’re already setting yourself up for failure with being able to reach your goal.
Planning for Success
So, here is where things will start falling apart. You set this great goal for yourself but you don’t know how to properly execute it. You buy some program or sign up for a class, you call friends and make plans but you never set out a course of action to keep yourself going.
When we are setting goals for ourselves we have to have something that is going to motivate us throughout the journey.
An action plan outlines the who, what, when, where, how, and why. When a person wants to build a building they don’t just say “hey, I’m going to build a building” then start digging a hole. They consult with an architect and a construction team and put together a plan. Everything is planned out to the smallest detail before a move is even made. By doing this, they are preparing for a successful process.
When setting your goal you need to sit down and map out exactly what it is going to look like for you. Your strategies to ensure that you are successful and a deadline for reaching each part of your goal should be in place before you even start. I know this can seem like a daunting task but being able to set yourself up with a plan makes it easier for you to reach your goal. The points that follow outline what needs to be included in your action plan and will drastically increase your chance of actually reaching your goal.
Flame to the Fire
As humans, it is very easy to externally motivate us. Do that and you’ll get this, works for us, but only if we want what is being offered. Have you ever come across the people in the mall trying to get you to spend the wheel to see if you win a prize, but none of the prizes even interest you? How likely are you to go fill out their form for a chance to spin when you really don’t care what the prize is? Now think about how often you go to donate blood for the free t-shirt, I mean to help save a life. You’d rather have someone stick a needle in your arm than give your information because of what you’re getting in exchange.
In order to be successful in reaching your goals you have to be able to plan for obstacles.
When we are setting goals for ourselves we have to have something that is going to motivate us throughout the journey. The mistake that most people make is that they set a big reward at the end, that they begin to care less and less about as time goes by. Yes, it would be nice to take that trip for reaching that goal but I can always do it next year or I can go somewhere else and be just as happy about it. The key is to set small monthly or quarterly goals that lead up to the bigger goal.
Think about if you go to the casino and you’re playing all day and you never win anything, are you going to keep playing? But, what if you started playing and an hour later you win $10, how is that going to make you feel? You’re not going to think about the fact that you spent $30 to win that $10 you’re just going to think about what you won. You’ll keep playing with the belief that you’re having good luck and can possibly win more money. The intermittent reward keeps us going.
So, take time to plan out smaller rewards for yourself. What are some things that you would like to do but you don’t do on a regular basis. Would you like to do a little weekend getaway with a friend? Or sign up for a cooking class, what would be something that you would actually want to work toward?
Shit Happens, Be Prepared
Nothing ever goes the way that we expect it to go, right? We make plans, have everything laid out and then one small thing knocks everything off track. I remember a few years ago planning to take my then 3 kids to Disney World, being the perfectionist that I am everything inside of me wanted to plan out every little detail. Yet, I knew I would be setting myself up for failure. There were so many unknowns that I just couldn’t plan for that trying to stick to a schedule would have resulted in a mental hospitalization for me. So, I did nothing, I made sure we had enough tickets and time to go to each park and a day to drive down to the beach and that’s it. Knowing that there would be obstacles told me how I needed to prepare for the trip.
You have to have someone to hold you accountable.
In order to be successful in reaching your goals you have to be able to plan for obstacles. Say your goal is to have more financial stable, so you reduce your Starbucks trips to only twice a week and use Drive Up at Target so you don’t go into the store. You turn off your cable and stream your favorite shows and you limit nights out with friends to once a month. You’re doing well saving money and paying off debt but then your engine goes out on your car, what now? You throw all the money you saved into getting a new car, increase your car payments and insurance and stop paying on your debt. You goal of being more financially stable goes out the window.
Now if you had planned for that obstacle things could have ended up a lot better and you could still be on track to reach your goal. When looking at obtaining financial stability the first thing you always do is establish an emergency fund. Experts, not me, say to have at least $1,000 in an emergency fund and savings of at least 3-6 months of your salary. I know that’s hard but without at least the emergency fund you’re not prepared to even start reaching your goal. I’m not going to go deep into planning for financial obstacles as it can get complex, but think about the difference it would have made if your engine blew and you already had at least half of what it would have cost to repair it.
When we plan for obstacles, we prepare ourselves to face them without falling off track.
You Can’t Do it Alone
Ok, so this is the most important step to being successful in reaching your goal. You have to have someone to hold you accountable. This cannot, I repeat, cannot be a friend or family member or you will not reach your goal. I know you’re probably thinking well who the hell am I supposed to use to hold me accountable? I’m going to get there but first, let’s look at why I don’t want this to be a person that is close to you.
Now think about it, how many times have you and your friend decided y’all were going to lose weight in the New Year? Raise your hand, I know it’s you. Now, how often did both of you stick with it? At some point during that weight loss journey one or both of you started ghosting; that scheduled time at the gym got thrown off by a parent’s birthday celebration, then a graduation or a baby shower. The meal prepping didn’t happen because your finances weren’t right and you were stuck eating what was there instead of sticking to a healthier eating style. When both people are struggling with being able to maintain it makes it almost impossible for either one of you to reach your goal.
Now think about that time you asked mom to check in on you and your progress. Mom does well with calling you right, she’ll call every day, multiple times a day if you need her to, but she’s too lenient. Your mom is your biggest enabler and/or trigger to your bad habits. When you have a hard day, week, or month sticking to your plan, mom is going to tell you that it’s ok, you’ll do better next time, or you’re just fine the way you are. Yes, it’s nice to hear those things but all it does is tell that little part of your brain that is trying to hold on to the bad habit that it has a supporter, giving it the fuel it needs to defeat you.
So, who do you use for accountability? That’s where I come in. You may be thinking, I don’t need therapy I’m just trying to reach this goal, but the main reason people don’t reach their goal is a psychological one. If you don’t have the money or time to devote to therapy I offer low rate check in sessions through either video or secure messaging to provide you with someone that will hold you to your goal. In these sessions, I’ll explore your wins and your losses along with the changes you can make to be successful. I don’t just help you with developing your plan, I help you with being able to stick to it and reclaim your life.
If you are wanting to set more obtainable goals for yourself that you can actually achieve contact me today and we can get started on getting you to that dream you have floating around in your head.