At the beginning of each year, I am super busy with writing personalized plans for people who want to start the year off fresh with goals they want to achieve. They are feeling excited and positive for the changes ahead.
It is wonderful that we all have dreams, goals, and visions that give us a true sense of purpose in life, but often progress slows or stops completely as the year goes on and these goals aren’t met.
Basing goals around things like New Year’s resolutions often end up being nothing more than a wish or a fantasy. The intention is there—that burning desire and sense of optimism to look better, to feel better, to learn more, save money, become more zen, or whatever the goal is.
This is why so many gym memberships are sold and self-help books are bought near the end of each year. So, why do so many of us start off goals with vigor but then drop off like flies as the year goes on?
- Lack of Preparation – For us to meet our goals, we need a well thought out plan that is broken down into achievable steps.
- Lack of Application – In order for these steps to be carried out on a long term basis, they must be integrated into our lifestyle.
The Power of Your Daily Choices
Focusing on the small steps that need to be taken on a consistent basis is the key to success. In a nutshell, it is the small decisions made daily that have an accumulative and profound effect on our lives over time. Being aware of the steps we need to take (the planning part) and proactively making the choice to act on that plan (the application part) will bring us closer to our goals.
The only way to real and long-lasting success is to integrate these planned out steps into our lives and make it part of our lifestyle.
We look at people who have “made it”–the people who are millionaires, multiple-time world champions, totally zen and at peace, or have the perfect body, relationship, or whatever it may be. It is easy to misconstrue that this happened overnight or that they are genetic freaks or they just “got lucky.”
But more than likely, these people spent years working hard to achieve these levels of awesomeness. Each day these hard-working, driven people get up an hour earlier to go to the gym, or each day they allocate quality time with their children or spouse.
They also make the time for some mindful meditation. That is why they have succeeded. They are aware of the steps that need to be taken to reach their goals and they active make choices day in, day out to bring them closer to those goals.
Regardless of what our goals are, whether it is to be a multi millionaire or just to be healthy and feel good again, hitting those goals all follows the same basic principles, planning, and application. Here are some step by step strategies to help you get there.
Strategies to Meet Your Goals
What is it that you want?
Work backward and lay out your long-term goals. Where do you want to be in five years? Where do you want to be in one year?
- Break down your one-year goal plan into months. By breaking down your goals, it becomes easier to see the smaller actions that need to be taken to achieve bigger goals. This makes things not so overwhelming and therefore more achievable.
- Break down your goals week by week. For example, if your goal is to lose twenty pounds, then your week by week strategy may be to lose one or two pounds a week.
- Break down your goals to day-by-day. This is actually where it all happens and where this concept comes into play through you actively making choices and decisions on a daily basis. If your goal is to lose twenty pounds, then are you going to opt for mac and cheese for dinner or fish and salad? If you choose the fish and salad every day, then you most likely will achieve your weekly goal of losing one or pounds, right?
- Grab a diary or journal. Write it all down and have something available to refer back to and to track.
- Put reminder and motivational notes around your house or workplace where you can see them all the time. A student of mine sent me a photo that she has on her desk. This is a great motivational tool!
Let’s use weight loss as our example for this strategy and for example, your goal for 2019 is to lose 20 pounds and to feel great.
- By breaking your goal down into months means that you aim to lose 8 pounds every month.
- By breaking your goal down into weeks means that you aim to lose 2 pounds every week. You aim to visit the gym 3 times per week, meditate once a week, have a massage once a week and walk with friends once a week and limit yourself to only one dinner out a week.
- By breaking your goals down day-by-day means that you make the decision to go to the gym or go for a walk that day or to skip that ice cream and opt for frozen banana slices instead.
- By writing these activities/actions down in your diary first and then checking it off at the end of the day is a great way of keeping you focused.
Everyone can achieve their dreams with focused intention on a daily basis.
Awareness and Application
Having awareness of the choices we make is super important which is why planning and knowing exactly what steps to take or what choices to make is essential. Now that we know what our goals are and all the steps to get there, we can create a lifestyle that makes these small daily choices easier.
As previously mentioned, it is the small decisions made daily that have an accumulative and profound effect over time. If weight loss is your goal, then arrange a day to go brisk walking with your girlfriends and stick to it every week.
If these steps aren’t part of our lives then the decisions to bring us closer to our goals may be harder or difficult to remember. It is important to note that the small decisions made daily that we don’t make also have an effect.
These, in fact, will take us further away from our goals whether we realize it or not. Because you didn’t set a day once a week to go walking with your friends and make it part of your life, you only ended up walking about 1/3 of the time throughout the year.
Take Consistent Steps
I believe all our dreams can come to fruition if we actively make it happen through conscious choices that bring us closer to our goals at every moment. Don’t let your excitement about setting a goal wear off.
Plan everything out and break your goals down week by week to small achievable steps that you can carry out daily. Create a lifestyle that makes it easier to apply these steps and make your choices easier.
The idea that our small, daily choices matter (and can add up to so much) is so simple yet such an amazing formula to attain the life you want. If it’s all about making small choices, then every one of us has the power to enact profound change and accomplish incredible things.