During a time of year in which many of us are in full and focused pursuit of some type of goal, it is important to remember that patience and persistence is key. But in a world full of distractions that has conditioned us all to instant gratification– how can one expect to stay the course?
The key to success must start from within.
OWN YOUR “WHY”
The “IT” factor comes down to one simple question – “WHY?” Before you can commit to the “WHAT”, you must identify and commit to “YOUR WHY”.
Dive into YOUR reason why YOU want to reach this goal. To look or feel better? To impress others? To earn more money? For your family? All perfectly good reasons, but the RIGHT answer is different for everyone. To achieve your goals, you must have an internal drive and the personal desire to change. If deep down you are content with staying the same, you will.
Do not expect to be successful in pursuing a goal that is not truly your own. For example, “YOUR WHY” cannot begin with, “my doctor recommended” or “my sister said I should”. YOUR WHY must start with what matters to YOU and why YOU want achieve it.
Many of the steps taken on the path to achieving your goals happens when no one is around; so it is very important to remember why YOU started.
COMMIT TO THE “WHAT”
Remember SMART goals? (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Bound) SMART goals are critical to forward progress. They provide accountability and benchmarks to your success. Success is a major source of motivation. As you consistently achieve short term goals, you are more likely to continue to work toward the ultimate, long term GOAL.
For example, tackling a weight loss goal of 50 lbs. might seem intimidating. Start with a short-term goal of committing to go to the gym three days a week for a month. By setting SMART goals, you can commit to making changes with the confidence that you will succeed.
PLAN THE “HOW”
Now that you have set your SMART goal, formulate a plan on how to get there. Since most of us are not afforded the opportunity to focus solely on one thing at a time, you must identify (or in some cases sacrifice) time in your daily schedule during which you will actively work in pursuit of your goals.
For example, if your goal involves losing weight or improving your health, you will need to carve out time to exercise. Just as your schedule changes week to week, day to day, and sometimes, hour by hour – you must rearrange your schedule while keeping your goal a priority. This will help you set up a structured plan to keep you on track even when “life” happens.
Now that you have identified WHY you have set a goal, WHAT specific goals you want to reach, and HOW you plan to reach the goal, there is only one more thing you need – a support system.
BUILD YOUR TEAM
While change can be good, it is also hard. It is challenging to step outside your comfort zone. Identifying and creating a support system is the final key to success. Your “team” doesn’t have to be large – it can simply be one or two people that are in your corner or on a similar quest. Find your teammates among your friends, family members, or co-workers.
However, sometimes the people closest to you can be the biggest source of sabotage. For example, if you and your closest friends regularly congregate in restaurants and bars to “eat, drink, and be merry,” it is important for you to realize the impact this habit could make on your goals – especially if you are looking to lose weight, cut back on alcohol consumption, or quit smoking. Identify the risk factors associated with your social interactions and be prepared to make changes there as well.
That doesn’t mean that you must abandon all your closest friends, but in the spirit of reaching YOUR goals, you should be open to the idea of making a few new friends with similar goals and interests. If you are having trouble connecting to others that share your level of focus, seek out a mentor that has achieved the success you are working towards. You might even consider hiring a personal trainer, a nutritionist, or a life coach that has a proven track record of coaching others to success.
With your team in place, a firm commitment, and a daily action plan on the schedule – you have built a strong foundation that can help you reach your fullest potential on the path to achieving YOUR GOALS.