Remember those resolutions you made in the hangover haze of New Year’s champagne? If you haven’t forgotten what you vowed to accomplish, it’s not too late to kick-start your plan. You’ll feel better about yourself and begin the year on a good note.
Now’s the time to start using this 7-step plan to help you achieve your goals:
Since time is short, it’s essential to focus on only one thing. You don’t have the luxury of scattering your energies at this point. Learning how to focus will also set you up for a habit of success, too often people try to do too much and never finish what they set out to do. Over time, this teaches them that their efforts are doomed to failure. Yet, the real problem isn’t an inescapable fate but poor planning and execution. So, choose one, and only one, thing to work on.
2. Grab hold of your time
Make a grid of the 12 months in a year with that amount of squares. Then make a list of tasks involved in accomplishing your goal. How many of those tasks can you realistically accomplish given your work and personal commitments? If this step is tough for you or you’re famous for your inability to plan well, enlist an organized friend. Then, write on each month what you intend to accomplish.
3. Grasp Reality
It’s far better to get halfway there and build on that, than try to get it all done and not do it well. Don’t trick yourself into failure by taking on too much. If you are only halfway finished with your project by year’s end, that’s still a great leap forward. Success builds on success, no matter how small. In other words, you’re more likely to have long-term success if you accomplish your goal of losing 2 pounds a week, rather than aiming to lose 20 pounds in 3 months.
4. Sustain your success
Keep a journal of your daily progress. This will help to develop a deeper awareness of your commitment, making it harder to accidentally forget about your goal. It also gives you an objective record of your progress making it easier to plan based on facts and solid accomplishments. It also grounds you in reality, teaching you how much time is actually necessary to make progress. All of this will help you to develop the resilience to keep moving steadily forward towards your goal.
Set out reminders in places you’ll see everyday – the bathroom mirror, the dashboard of your car, your computer monitor, your refrigerator. This keeps your goal ever-present in your mind which helps to increase both motivation and commitment. It also makes it harder to forget about it. It’s very easy to lose momentum and this is a painless way to help yourself stay in gear.
6. Enlist help
Get others involved. Gather a group of friends who are supportive of your goal and ask for help, join a social group formed around your goal, or join an Internet group working on achieving the same goal. It’s amazing how much motivation and inspiration other people can bring to you, especially when you feel like giving up.
7. Dream on it
Visualize that your goal is already accomplished. Imagine yourself enjoying this achievement in as much detail as possible: sights, sounds, smells… Really seeing it as already accomplished helps you begin to believe that you could experience life from this point of accomplishment.
Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far you’ve escaped from the most common killer of dreams – the attempt to defer those dreams to a later date. Now is the only time we ever have and by committing to your goal in the here and now, it puts you far closer to making the mental shift necessary to have what you want.
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