I’ve made a lot of goals in life, and sometimes they’ve happened (training for races) and sometimes they haven’t (learning French on my own). To be perfectly honest, for three years in a row I had the exact same New Years resolutions: finish Rosetta Stone in French, do yoga, and…well, I forget the third, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t happen. Probably something to do with the keyboard sitting in my dining room now that I think of it.
The point is, I needed to learn how to follow through on my goals instead of just letting life ‘happen.’
Starting my business as a Health and Wellness Coach has been a big wake up call! I could no longer afford to set goals for myself and not follow through. Here are the six steps I’ve learned to set goals and get things done!
Instead of being a passenger in your own life, this is your chance to take the reins!
1. Create a vision that is clear and specific
- What does it look like specifically?
- Most importantly, how will you feel?
- Visualize your successful future! Visualization works for top athletes and for CEO’s! In Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen talks about the importance of visualization and the power of the reticular formation (the part of your brain that helps you get from A to B once you give it a goal).
2. Upgrade your mindset
- Instead of a resolution, think of it as evolution!
- Nobody is perfect, so accept that you will have occasional lapses.
- Think of life as an adventure, and each challenge an opportunity for growth!
3. Make a plan that will stick
- Be very specific, with time and day that you will incorporate this change and what you will do.
- Add it to an already existing habit (e.g. yoga at the end of a run, squats while brushing your teeth).
- Post your plan where you will see it, such as a paper calendar on the fridge!
4. Start small
- If you aren’t confident you will follow the plan, start with smaller steps.
- Change one behavior at a time. As new healthy behaviors become habit, add another goal.
- Set ‘trigger goals’ for yourselves, which Todd Herman, founder of The Peak Athlete, describes as little micro-changes we need to complete the earlier goal. As Todd says, this puts you already on the path to success. For example, if you want to go to the gym, one trigger goals could be to get dressed in gym clothes 5 days a week.
- Set measurable goals with specific dates, and celebrate your successes to help gain confidence. For example, set a goal to cut back on sweetened beverages (including sugar in your coffee!) to one a week by X date.
5. Get community support
- Having somebody else on your journey will keep you motivated and accountable.
- It can be a coach or mentor, a friend who already went through what you hope to go through, and it can be an on-line community.
- Don’t go it alone! Ask for help, especially from family members who might be effected by your new goal.
6. Script your setbacks. Todd Herman describes this as, “the positive power of negative preparation.”
- What are you going to do when somebody brings cookies to your meeting?
- What are you going to say when a friend asks you to go for a drink right after work, when that’s the time you scheduled for the gym?
- What are you going to do when your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife suggests ordering pizza for dinner?
- Keep track of any ‘setbacks’ so you can come up with a plan for next time.
7. Track your progress
- There are plenty of fitness apps and bracelets, some allowing you to share results with friends or an on-line community.
- Check out generic habit apps for any type of goal, even if not fitness or diet related.
- You could also go the old-fashioned way: paper calendar with color-coded markers! Get creative!
If you would like help with any of these steps in reaching your goals, we should talk! Check out my programs here
Have these suggestions worked for you? Do you have other tricks you’ve used to help you reach your goals?