As I write this it's the middle of March, and I have to admit that I haven't accomplished all the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year. However, I've accomplished FAR MORE than I would have if I had not set any goals. A few years ago, by the time March rolled around, I usually just felt like a total failure and gave up, but I've finally gotten out of that cycle and learned how to accomplish a lot of my goals. I want to share with you what's worked for me to accomplish goals even though I've failed a thousand times in the past.
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First, I'm starting with a clean slate next month. You DO NOT need to wait until January (or even next Monday) to start making positive changes in your life and setting goals for yourself. That's one reason I love that Crystal from Money Saving Mom is not waiting until January to offer her amazing goal setting course. She's offering it right now, because now is the perfect time to set goals for yourself. Head right over here if you want to check out the course. I took it myself and it was so helpful to me. Crystal is definitely a pro at achieving her goals!
While I'm certainly far from perfect, these days I actually accomplish many of the goals that I set for myself! Five years ago, I didn't think that was possible. Here's what I did that made it possible to achieve my goals:
I set fewer goals at a time. Setting too many goals is a recipe for disaster. If you're anything like me, there's a huge laundry list of things you hope to achieve plus a whole bunch of bad habits you need to break and good habits you need to implement. The thing is you can't change everything at once. Don't expect yourself to wake up on January 1 and change 20 things overnight. It's far better to set 2-3 goals that you will actually achieve, than to set 20 goals and achieve none of them. This means that there are things that you will have to intentionally not focus on right now. That's okay. If you are really struggling to accomplish anything, I highly recommend setting JUST ONE goal! Setting and accomplishing just one goal will begin to have a positive snowball effect, and you'll eventually get to all those other things. You'll strengthen your goal achieving muscle which will help you tremendously with all your other goals.
I set goals for a shorter time frame. I used to think I needed to sit down toward the end of December and set goals that I wanted to work on throughout the entire next year. Another recipe for disaster! I set myself up for failure before I even started. Once I started setting goals for a one week or one month time frame, I could actually accomplish them.
I set goals all throughout the year (not just January). Anytime is a good time to set goals – not just the first of the year. These days, I set very few big goals (2-3 at most) for the year (and re-evaluate and adjust if needed throughout the year). Instead, I set most goals on a monthly basis. Sometimes, I even set goals on a random Thursday instead of waiting until Monday!
I don't expect myself to be perfect. This was huge for me. I used to think I had to be absolutely perfect to consider a goal accomplished. As soon as I messed up once, I had completely failed and the goal was completely ruined. You can see how that would make it difficult to accomplish anything. However, doing something 340 days a year is way better than none at all. For example, when I issued the clean sink challenge this past June, I missed 2 days, but I still considered it a success. In fact, one of the days I missed was day 2! In the past I would have just given up on day 2 because I considered it a failure already, and I would have missed out on 27 more successful days!
I don't beat myself up if I fall short. Occasionally, I do completely bomb a goal. I just move on and keep going instead of beating myself up and declaring myself a total failure.
I share my goals with other people. Sharing my goals with others really keeps me accountable. It also helps me set more realistic goals, because I only want to share things I'll actually accomplish.
I've found ways to motivate myself that work for me. Everyone has different things that really motivate them, so you'll need to find what it is that really helps you stick with a goal. I'm a huge checklist person, and putting a check in the box each day really motivates me! For the clean sink challenge, I printed off the pretty calendar, laminated it, and hung it right in front of my kitchen sink. Each day that I accomplished the goal, I put a smiley on that day. That small thing really helped me stay on track.
If you want some extra help setting goals that you'll actually accomplish, I highly recommend the Make Over Your Year course by Crystal.
She'll show you:
- Why & how to decide your most important priorities in life
- How to narrow your priorities down to specific focus areas
- The 4 keys to creating goals that you’ll actually follow through with
- How to give yourself grace – without falling off the bandwagon
- The secrets to successful goal-setting – even when you have young children
- How to break big goals down into bite-sized pieces and doable action plans
- When & why you should delete a goal before you even set it
- The 3 most important accountability sources for goal-setting
- How to plan for the unexpected and what to do when it comes
Head over here to learn more about the course.
How about you? Let us know in the comments below or in the Facebook group what helps you accomplish your goals.