Do you find yourself asking, “How can I actually achieve my goals?” Do you start each new week, month or even year by writing a beautiful list of new goals and then rewrite the list at the beginning of the next week, month or year because you haven’t achieved any of them? And do you believe that you haven’t achieved these goals because you haven’t tried hard enough? Or because you just aren’t skilled or smart enough to do what you set out to do?
Let me stop you right there. Firstly, you not achieving your goals most likely has absolutely nothing to do with your skills, or with how smart you are. Secondly, because I know your mind is going there too, not achieving your goals also has nothing to do with your value. The fact that you haven’t achieved your goals does not mean that you aren’t enough. Remember that, OK?
So, what does you not achieving your goals mean? It could mean that you aren’t setting the right goals, or that you aren’t setting your goals in the right way. Most likely, also means that your mindset isn’t right.
In this blog post, I explain eight ways in which you can set better goals and set out to achieve them.
1. Write down your goal.
Take the time to write down your goal.
Firstly, by writing down your goal, you are committing to it. If you can’t even take the time to write down your goal, I can assure you that you won’t commit to your actual goal.
Secondly, if you take the time to formulate your goal, you might realize that you haven’t thought it through. Allow yourself some time to set a SMART goal, as described in point 2 below.
Thirdly, if you write your goal down you have seen it with your own eyes. This helps you visualize it. More on manifestation and visualization in points 5 and 6 below.
2. Set SMART goals
You’ve probably heard of setting SMART goals. If you haven’t, you weren’t listening very well during one of your Life Orientation lessons in high school. Unfortunately, this concept is often skimmed over in the textbook and that’s the last we hear of it.
However, as poorly as your LO teacher might have covered this theme (or, more likely, how poorly you paid attention!), the idea of a SMART goal is pretty smart.
A SMART goal is a goal that ticks five checkboxes. These five criteria are included in the SMART acronym. According to this acronym, a goal should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and able to be achieved in a certain Time period.
I’d like to give you a quick example here:
I want to grow my business
One of my goals for this year is to grow my business. But if that was the only thing I wrote down, I probably wouldn’t achieve this goal!
Why? Well, it’s not SMART!
Firstly, I haven’t been specific in terms of HOW I want to grow my business. Do I want to make more money? Obviously. Do I want to do that by offering more products to my customers? Or do I want to sell more of the products I already offer to my clients? Let’s say that I want to grow my business by selling twice as many Everything Planners as I sold last year. That makes my goal more specific.
Secondly, this goal isn’t measurable. I won’t know if I achieved it, because I haven’t set the way in which I will measure my success. By deciding that I want to sell twice as many planners as in the last year, I have a number to measure whether I achieved my goal.
So, instead of the above example goal, I could set the following goal for my business: In this year, I want to grow my business by selling X number of Everything Planners, which is twice as many as I sold last year.
This goal is specific and measurable. It is also realistic and attainable, because I learnt a lot about sales and Facebook ads in the last year, and I know that applying that knowledge will help me achieve this goal.
Lastly, this “updated” goal is time-specific, because I have one year to achieve it.
3. Have an action plan for achieving your goal
Don’t just write down your goal. Write down what you need to DO to achieve your goal.
First, write it all down in a list in no particular order. For example, to achieve my goal from point number two, I need to:
- Design the 2022 planner
- Grow (or at least maintain) my social media following
- Grow my email list
- Create a timeline of when I will open pre-orders, when I will start printing, and when sales will close
- Create a budget for my business to ensure that I maintain my profit margin from last year
Secondly, break each item down into small tasks. For example, the task of growing my email list includes:
- creating monthly printable freebies
- investing time in learning Pinterest marketing
- creating Pinterest graphics
- creating an email schedule for my mailing list
Thirdly, assign each small task to a day in the time frame in which you want to achieve your goal.
Now you just need to do those tasks, and achieving your goal is inevitable!
Is setting a goal starting to sound like too much work? I promise you, sitting down to formulate and write down your goal and action plan will make it much more likely that you achieve it. And once again, if you aren’t willing to do this work, what makes you think that you’ll do the actual work to achieve your goal?
Do look out for procrastination planning though. If you find yourself spending days or even weeks trying to formulate the perfect goal and action planning, it’s likely that you’re too scared to actually start. Catch yourself, and get to it.
4. Don’t wait until the beginning of a new week, month or year to start working on your goal
This is the perfect example of procrastination. The old “I’ll just wait until the first of May to start working towards my goal, then I’ll be ready.” But will you? No, you won’t be any more ready on the first of May than you are right now.
If you find yourself procrastinating in this way, you need to check your mindset and your confidence. Chances are, you’re scared to start working toward your goal because you’re already scared that you won’t achieve it. That’s no way to live, girl!
Just start. It’s going to be hard, but all the best things are!
5. Manifest your goals by writing them down as an affirmation or meditating
According to www.spiritualhowto.com, “Spiritual Manifestation is the theory that through regular meditation and positive, constructive thought, you can make your dreams and desires become reality.” It’s an exceptionally interesting concept, and if you’d like to learn more about this, this podcast episode from the Goaldigger Podcast is a must-listen.
Basically, by thinking certain thoughts, your brain will begin to look for evidence to support these thoughts. So if you think of your goal often, as a definite statement, your brain will begin to believe it. Once your brain believes it, it continues to look for evidence that it is true. This drives you towards action that allows you to achieve your goal.
Take the example from point number 2 above. My goal as a definite statement would be: “I will grow my business in 2021 by selling twice as many Everything Planners as I sold in 2020.”
I can manifest this goal by writing it down as a daily affirmation (the Notes section in the Everything Planner is ideal for writing affirmations).
I can also meditate and think this statement over and over while sitting in a peaceful environment.
6. Use visual aids like vision boards or sticky notes above your desk
Whether you’re a vision board girl, or a sticky note writer, or an affirmation writer: make your goal visible to you. Place it in a spot in your home where you will see it every day, like above your laptop or on your bathroom mirror.
Seeing your goal written out in words (you can use images too!) will motivate you to work towards achieving it.
7. Create a not-to-do list
This idea is from Sam Laura Brown, and you can listen to a podcast episode on not-to-do lists here.
A not-to-do list is literally a list of things you won’t do in the time in which you want to achieve your goal.
While you are working towards your goal, you might continuously feel afraid of failing and not achieving it. To avoid the shame of this failure, you will probably find yourself being distracted by tons of other ideas and things you think you simply have to do.
For example, I might allow myself to be distracted from my goal by thinking, “Oh, maybe I should create a YouTube video to tell people how to use the Everything Planner.”
Or: “Hm, maybe I need a Twitter account to market my product.”
Or: “Hey, I should make five different types of planners to suit all the different types of planning personalities.”
By identifying ideas which I might have that I know are a distraction tactic and putting them onto my not-to-do list, I no longer need to consider them. I can always re-look at them after this year, but for this year my goal is set.
An example of a not-to-do list for me would be:
- I will not create a Twitter account this year
- I will not create YouTube videos this year
- I will not design more than one planner this year
8. Identify self-sabotage
To prevent the feeling of shame if you fail to achieve your goal, you might subconsciously self-sabotage to protect yourself.
The scenario of distracting myself with lots of new ideas in the point above is a perfect example of self-sabotage. By taking on more and more ideas and projects, I could end up being spread too thin and not achieving my goal. But then I’ll be able to use the excuse, “Oh but I had so many other projects, it’s not my fault that I didn’t achieve my goal.” And maybe the feeling of shame won’t be so bad.
You need to be aware of your brain tricking you like this. If you can identify self-sabotage, you can bypass it. Even better, try to predict it before it happens.
Another example would be if you have the goal to get fit this month (which is a very non-SMART goal, by the way). If you’ve tried to get fit month after month previously, you should know how you self-sabotage.
Maybe it’s by scheduling your workout for 5am, knowing full well that you never get out of bed before 7am. By doing this, you’re creating an excuse for yourself: “If only I had gotten up early every morning, I would have achieved my goal of getting fit.”
Predict your self-sabotage and eliminate it. Don’t let yourself get in your own way!
Working towards our goals takes hard work and courage. But by taking the time to formulate our goals well, and consistently working towards them, we can achieve anything!
I challenge you to start smashing your goals today. What’s holding you back?
To summarize, these are the eight things you can do to help you achieve your goals:Write your goal down
- Set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-specific
- Have an action plan where you break your goal into small, achievable tasks
- Start working towards your goal right now. Don’t wait until the beginning of a new week, month or year to start working on your goal
- Manifest your goals by writing them down as an affirmation or repeating them to yourself while meditating
- Use visual aids like vision boards or sticky notes on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself of your goal
- Create a not-to-do list with things that might distract you as you work towards your goal
- Predict and identify self-sabotage to give yourself the best chance to succeed