Let me guess, you probably have a few goals you want to accomplish. Workout more, eat healthier, write a book, switch careers, learn a new language, or loose weight. The thing is, with so many things we want to get done and only so much time, it can be a bit overwhelming and hard to even get started, and even then it can be a challenge to make our changes last.
I have been guilty of this too. When I started my business I got all excited and wanted everything else in my life to be perfect as well, and my list of personal goals became something like: get up at 6:00 am, only speak French with my husband (it’s his first language), meditate every morning and evening, go gluten and dairy free.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with any of those goals individually, but the problem is that it was too much at once! I never got a handle on any of them for more than a day or two at a time, and therefore nothing ever really stuck.
Besides, I still had the rest of my life marching forward, not exactly waiting for me to turn these goals into effortless habits.
That’s when I decided I was done moving 100 things an inch, and I was ready to move 3 things a mile.
Are you with me? Great! Here’s how we are going to accomplish one of our goals, get it into a neat little effortless habit, so that we can start working on another one:
1. Pick the goal that is the most important to you right now.
2. Get even more specific and pick the first step.
It’s okay if your first step pushes you a little bit, but it has to at least be believable enough to get started and stick with it. You want to be successful! Here are a few examples:
Do you want to improve your diet? Here are a few examples of first steps:
- I will drink half of my body-weight in ounces of water each day
- I will eat a serving of green vegetables once a day
- When I get sugar cravings, I will try sweet fruits instead of candy and see if it is ‘good enough’
Are you wanting to get in more exercise? Here are some examples:
- I will set out my workout clothes every weeknight before I go to bed
- I will take a 10 minute walk every weekday
- I will take 10,000 steps a day
You might be thinking, “How is getting out my workout clothes exercise?” Well, good point. It’s not. This is an example of a step that puts you on the path of success for your big goal, and it gets you in the habit. After you have that habit down it is easier to add another step (put the clothes on!). The longer you have had this goal, and more doubt you have in your ability to accomplish it, the smaller your first step might need to be.
3. Pick a time-frame.
This could be two weeks, 30 days, or even longer. I like starting with a minimum of 2 weeks before adding another goal. It doesn’t need to be easy at the end of this time-frame, you just need to be confident that you can do it.
4. Track your progress.
I use an app called Habit List where I’m able to check off if I did the activity or not, and see a calendar view of my track record. The great thing about tracking is that it doesn’t let you lie to yourself. How many times have I thought, “Oh, I hardly eat dairy!” only to look at my app and realize that not only do I eat dairy, but quite frequently! And there I was wondering why I wasn’t seeing results (dairy makes me break out).
Tracking will also help you be honest with yourself about where you are at. If you picked a goal of going to the gym three times a week but you’ve barely managed to go once, then you know that you either haven’t fully committed or your goal was too big. You need to pick a step that is believable so that you can be successful, and then work your way towards three times a week.
5. After you meet your goal pick your next step.
For example, increasing the number of servings of vegetables, number of steps, or the minutes you are working out. Rinse, and repeat!
Making steady progress towards one of your big goals is the best way to boost your confidence in your ability to do what you say you will do. Not only will you finally be achieving something important to you, but it will be easier for you to work on your other goals in the future!
Remember that list of goals I had in the beginning? Well, using this process I’ve accomplished all but one! I’ll let you guess which one 😉
Do you have goals that you need to break down into smaller steps? Do you have ideas of smaller steps to share? Tell us in the comments below!