Today we’re tackling the big one: how to stick to goals.
We’ve spoken before about goal-setting, but I feel like the subject of how to stick to goals isn’t as talked about. Likely because it’s the more difficult bit. But today we’re going to walk through it, I’ve compiled all my tips and tricks to help you stay on track with your goals, whatever they may be.
“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” – Louisa May Alcott
Have clear goals
If you read my last blog on goal setting, you’ll know I’ve made a big point about how important it is to have clear goals. If you have loose, undefined goals it’s so much harder to hit them.
Say your goal is ‘get fit’, there are an infinite amount of things you could do to contribute to that goal and that overwhelming amount of choice will make the mountain seem so much steeper than it needs to be. By choosing a goal like ‘start running three times a week’, you’re choosing something measurable, that you can get done and look at objectively – you either did it or you didn’t. Making your goals as clear as you can is the fastest way to great results.
Have a plan
So, you have a goal. Now you need to know what steps you need to take every day in order to get there. The smaller you can break the task down, the better. Not only will this give you a good idea of the work needed to get your goal completed, but it makes it far more approachable.
Once you have a plan laid out, start scheduling your tasks. Take this Jim Rohn quote “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” By having your tasks scheduled in, you’ll be more likely to treat them like going to work or making dinner – they’re just a part of your day. Time gets away from us, otherwise.
If you leave your goals as ideas in a notepad (speaking from experience) they’ll stay there. It’s only when they get converted into habits that you’ll start to get them done.
Invest in yourself
I’m not saying you need to go and splurge on a new camera because you want to get into photography (more on this in the next point), but do invest in yourself. If you want to learn an instrument, you can learn at home, but investing in some classes may help you pick up the basics quicker and stick with it. Invest your time, your energy and invest money when you know for certain you’ll stick to it.
A good trick can be ‘earning’ upgrades. Say you want to get fit, set yourself a goal to work out three times a week for a month and reward yourself with a new workout outfit or a gym membership if you stick to it.
Work with what you have
But like I said above, don’t splurge on equipment or expensive courses before you’re sure you’re into something. We live in a world with so much information available to us. Take free online courses, watch YouTube tutorials, listen to podcasts, use library books, go to free workshops, learn from people around you if you can.
And never let a lack of equipment hold you back. Want to make YouTube videos? Don’t be put off because you don’t have a camera, learn how to get the best out of your phone camera (they’re shockingly good!). You’re always ready to begin.
Surround yourself with motivation
Ever heard the phrase “you’re the average of the five people closest to you”? Well I’d go even further to say you’re simply a reflection of your environment. Whether this is the people, physical space, mindsets or habits that you have, you’ll be greatly affected by them.
I’m a person that’s deeply affected by my physical space. If my room’s a mess, I’m a mess. But it also works the other way. If I surround myself with motivational people and physical reminders of what I’m aiming for then I’ll be easily motivated.
Something as simple as creating a dream board on my wall, putting my workout clothes on or changing my lockscreen to something motivational makes the world of a difference. So spend some time creating an environment that will support and remind you of what you’re working towards.
It’s also a lovely reminder on those days that are a little more tricky.
Have a saving grace
Have something to fall back on. When you wake up and really don’t want to go for a run, what are you going to use to motivate you? Music is my number one motivator. I have (far too many) playlists for every kind of situation – need to workout? Need to sit down and concentrate? Music gets me in the right mood.
Other ideas could be telling a person about your goals and asking them to hold you accountable, having a go-to motto or affirmation, having a video, podcast or audiobook of a motivational speaker (or anybody you find inspiring), having a prewritten message reminding yourself why you’re aiming for these goals. Find what works for you and use it.
Write yourself a letter
This might not be for everyone, but writing yourself a letter to your future self can be a huge motivator. Write it for a year’s time and promise your future self you’ll do everything you can on your goals to make them as great as possible.
But remember to do this with good intentions. Writing ‘you better be able to run 10k or you’re a failure’ is not what we’re talking about. Wish good things and keep in mind that you don’t know what the coming months are going to hold.
Remind yourself where you are right now and wish the best intentions for your future self. “Right now I’m running a 3k. I wonder where you are when you’re reading this, hopefully you’re still loving it. I promise to run as often as possible to make sure you’re still going.” Then seal it and don’t open it until your chosen date (pop a reminder in your phone). You’ll be shocked by how far you’ve come and motivated to stick with it.
Remember that action breeds motivation (not the other way round!)
This is so important. Repeat after me: action breeds motivation. It’s not the other way round. If you only act when you’re motivated, you’ll lack consistency and will find sticking to your goals a lot harder. Being motivated is fantastic, but it’s unreliable.
The easiest way to be consistently motivated is to be consistently acting. When you accomplish a good workout, you’ll feel so much better about working out tomorrow. You’re doing this for you and it’ll get easier every time you do it, I promise.
And that’s it! Those are my tips to stick to goals and succeed, whatever they may be.
Work hard, play hard.
Love, Ella-Rose x