I LOVE ringing in the New Year. It always feels like a fresh start, a clean slate, and the perfect opportunity to change directions and get on the right course. This is the time of year when I typically set a ton of goals for myself about what I’m going to accomplish throughout the year.
I’m a big dreamer, so my goals are always many and very lofty. Historically, in January and February, I’d be on fire, tackling to-do’s left and right. But come March, April, May, things would slow down, I would slack off, and by the end of the year, I’d look at my goals and wonder what the hell happened. Can you relate?
I had so much motivation and desire, so it took me awhile to figure out why I wasn’t accomplishing what I set out to. Then I had an A-ha! moment where it became clear what stands in the way of achieving our desires and how to maneuver around those obstacles and get shit done. I’m about to share that with you now. There are 4 reasons why we don’t reach our goals:
We don’t prioritize in writing.
Ideas are just ideas unless you feed them with your attention and action. We often have a mind full of good intentions, but if we aren’t writing them down and putting in order what is the most and least important, we don’t really have a clue about where to start or what to invest our energy in. The result is not investing our energy in anything, or wasting time and effort on crap that isn’t that important to us.
2. If it ain’t scheduled, it ain’t happenin’.
So, let’s say you have a master to-do list. Let’s even say you kicked reason #1 in the ass and you’ve prioritized your goals. The chances of marking everything off your list is slim if you haven’t put each task in a planner or calendar. If it isn’t scheduled, it’s incredibly difficult to hold ourselves accountable for making progress on our goals and we tend to forget what we wanted to do and when we wanted to have it done by.
3. We put off what we’re least excited about.
Ever notice how you don’t mind springing out of bed first thing in the morning for a cup of coffee but you can’t seem to keep that same bounce in your step when going to the gym? Our brains are always seeking pleasure and trying to avoid pain, so if any of your goals aren’t necessarily pleasant, you’re going to avoid them like the plague…and you’re going to put them off until the last minute or not do them at all.
4. We lose motivation when we don’t see instant results.
We are immediate gratification creatures. We want what we want and we want it NOW! When we start to feel like a project is taking us too long to finish, we get discouraged, lose confidence, and our motivation goes in the toilet. When it comes to really big, worthwhile goals, the key to success is usually consistency and hard work, which in many ways, contradicts our desire for immediate results. Our lack of motivation can get us to stop what we’re working before we even really get started.
So, the bad news is that failure to reach our goals is fairly common, but the good news is there are 4 things you can start doing RIGHT NOW to start getting shit done and finally accomplish your dreams.
Write out your WEEKLY priorities.
Identify the step-by-step tasks you need to work on to reach your overall goal. This will help you breakdown the big outcome into smaller, more realistic bits. Pick out the order in which the tasks need completed and schedule them at various times during your week. This helps you to always be mindful of what’s most important to you and keeps you accountable for making time in your week to get it done.
2. Front-load your day.
Because we are naturally inclined to avoid jobs that aren’t that exciting to us, it’s important to schedule those “not so great” jobs at the beginning of the day. Just get them over and done right from the start so you aren’t wasting energy on worrying about them all day. When you tackle a shitty job right out of the gate, you instantly feel a sense of accomplishment, which can propel you into the other items on your agenda.
3. Overestimate how long it will take to complete a goal.
People often underestimate how long it will take to finish a project or complete a job. Call it wishful thinking or inaccurate estimating, the truth is that this glitch in our minds leads us to get easily frustrated, discouraged, and simply give up because it’s too much work or it’s taking too damn long. But if you set your mind, right from the start, that it’s going to take longer than you expect, you’re more likely to feel like you finish quicker. You’re also more likely to stick with it until the job is done.
4. Celebrate (small) successes.
The trouble with goals is that when we reach them, we set new goals to work on, so it can feel like we never really get to the place we want to be. We just keep working and pushing forward to achieve and accomplish more. This isn’t all bad, but if we do this without celebrating the successes along the way, no matter how small they may seem, we will lose motivation and throw in the towel. By giving yourself even a little pat on the back for taking another step in the direction of your dreams, you’ll be honoring your hard work and dedication while sparking your motivation to keep at it.
I hope this insight inspires you to reach for the stars in 2016 by setting goals in alignment with your heart’s desires and that these tips will help you to be successful in achieving all of them.
You have the power to create a magical life-claim your power and put these four simple principles into practice!
If you found this helpful, please share with a friend so they too can have the life of their dreams!