It is most satisfying when you tick off your goals as you achieve them. Even achieving small goals has a positive effect on your motivation and enthusiasm to tackle others on your list. Small goals arise frequently as a result of breaking down a much larger goal into “bite-sized” pieces.
This is a great technique for handling those really big goals which can seem quite daunting and occasionally, impossible. Break them down into more manageable components, deal with each of these small sub-goals in turn and build your momentum towards achieving your largest, most challenging goals.
However, even with the most sophisticated of goal planning system, you won’t achieve anything unless you become proactive and take real action. Much of the drive to take action will come from your desire and motivation to reach your goal.
There is much written about goal setting, usually with an emphasis on writing out your goals on a daily basis and visualising the achievement of those goals. This is useful as far as it goes. Reviewing your goals regularly certainly helps to drive them into your subconscious mind. What kick starts your motivation for taking action is the emotion you have for achieving each goal.
Here’s an exercise that will help you judge how serious you are about your goals. Start by writing each of your goals at the top of a page, use one page per goal. Under each goal, write down all the reasons why you want to achieve it. Write down all the benefits you will gain from achieving the goal and then all the difficulties / problems you will encounter if you fail to achieve the goal.
What you write down will determine how much drive and motivation you have to achieve each goal. Whenever you sense your motivation is waning towards any of your goals, take out the relevant piece of paper and review what you have written.
Once you have your goals written down, the next most important task is to develop a schedule detailing the actions you will need to take to achieve each goal. On occasions, you will not have all the information you need in order to produce a detailed schedule covering all the necessary activities.
When this situation arises, simply produce a high-level (summary) schedule but know in detail what the next action needs to be. Put this onto your schedule and remind yourself why you want to achieve the goal so you are motivated to take action. Knowing the next action is the key to making progress.
On occasions, you have to make some significant compromises and sacrifices in order to achieve your goals. Do you know what they are and have you come to terms with having to make these sacrifices?
If not, your subconscious mind will always find ways to sabotage your attempts to reach the goal. You could make a note of these sacrifices on the sheet of paper you produced earlier where you listed all the reasons you wanted to achieve the goal.
I mentioned earlier about a great method of dealing with daunting goals. You proceed by breaking them down into smaller sub-goals. There is no limit to how small these sub-goals should be, nor is there any reason why you can’t break down your sub-goals into even smaller components.
For example, imagine your goal is to write a book. This certainly falls into the daunting category. You might break this down into a series of sub-goals which might be “write chapter x of the book”. If this was still too big a barrier it could be broken down further. A sub-sub-goal might be to write a page or, if you were really struggling, to write a paragraph.
You can sub-divide tasks as far as you need in order to make them really easy to complete. What you want to achieve is some initial momentum, to break down the resistance barriers in your mind. Once you have written first one and then two pages of your book, you have some momentum and it will be easier to move on and write pages three and four.
If you need to start each writing day with some easy goals such as “write a page” to create some momentum, then set each day up like this. Do what works best for you and you will soon get into the habit of writing several pages each day.
How soon? It is widely accepted that you have to work on forming new habits for up to 30 consecutive days before they become accepted by your subconscious mind as habits.
As you can see, there is far more to setting and achieving your goals than you might initially think.
This is why New Year Resolutions invariably fail. To make yours work, follow these ideas to build your commitment to achieving your goal and then sub-divide the goal into less daunting sub-goals.
Take action every day and don’t look for immediate results. Most New Year Resolutions will require a change in your normal behaviour and the modified behaviour can take up to 30 consecutive days of practise to become established.
- For particularly daunting goals, sub-divide them into more manageable sub-goals. Focus on knowing what the next action is for each of your goals.
- Write down your goals, together with all the reasons why you want to achieve them, the sacrifices you will make to achieve them and the problems you will encounter if you fail to achieve them. Review this every day.
- When you want to introduce a new habit you must practise it for at least 30 consecutive days for it to become established in your subconscious mind. Be proactive.