Having clarity around what I want and working towards my potential is empowering and has had a profound impact on my confidence and well-being. I have learned a lot about goal setting this past year and am proud of the progress I have made. I created good habits and routines for myself like reading 1-2 books a months, journaling, meditating, and exercising consistently as well as achieved some pretty big things like starting a Masters program and building my own blog!
But I didn’t always know how to effectively set goals for myself. I used to be in a vicious cycle of setting unrealistic goals with little to no planning or follow through and would frequently self-sabotage. As a result I was really hard on myself and it started to affect my self-esteem.
Even though everyone’s process will be different, I wanted to share what I have learned over the last year and how it’s helped me in the hopes that it will help you move closer to your goals too!
1. FOCUS ON ONE GOAL AT A TIME
I have a whole separate blog post dedicated to this because it’s so important.
I used to have multiple goals at one time and could never make progress with any of them because I was constantly overwhelmed, distracted, and exhausted.
I read, “Everything is Figureoutable” by Marie Forleo and she suggested picking just one thing at a time and giving it all your focus and energy. This ended up being my biggest takeaway from the book and I still live by this rule.
2. BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT AND WHY
Wishy-washy goals get wishy-washy results. Be clear and specific about what you want to accomplish.
Then figure out your why. Why is this goal important to you? Why now? What do you have to gain? What do you have to lose if you don’t accomplish this goal?
Knowing exactly what I am working towards and why keeps me motivated when things get tough or I hit an obstacle.
3. MAKE SURE you are coming FROM A PLACE OF HIGH SELF-WORTH
The energy you put behind your goals matters.
I used to set goals for myself that were routed in low self worth and I believe thats why I never got the results I wanted.
Examples of low self worth goals I had:
- Lose weight because I didn’t like the way I looked
- Start a consistent workout routine so I wouldn’t feel guilty about how much I ate
- Get good grades because I would feel ashamed if I failed
Basically, I was trying to accomplish things that would make me feel better about myself and keep me from feeling shame and guilt.
I now know that if you set a goal because you don’t feel good enough, or your trying to avoid not feeling good enough, you will never get anywhere. Or maybe you will but you won’t feel happy of fulfilled when you get there.
You have to make sure you love and accept yourself first and foremost.
When I started setting goals from a place of self-acceptance I actually started making progress and seeing results.
Examples of high self worth goals:
- I workout because I want to feel physically and mentally strong instead of punishing myself (Ps. this has made exercising a lot more enjoyable)
- If I do a detox or a cleanse it’s because I want to honour my body and improve my health instead of just losing weight because I don’t like the way I look
- I study and try to get good grades because I want to do my best. My grades do not reflect my sense of self worth.
See the difference? If you have set a goal from a place of low self-worth how can you reframe it so that you are coming from a place of high self-worth?
4. DETERMINE YOUR BASELINE
On a scale of 1-5 where do you currently stand in terms of accomplishing this goal?
Determining a baseline when I set a goal helps me track my progress and not get discouraged when I don’t see results right away.
Instead of focusing on getting to a 5 and accomplishing my goal right away, which can be overwhelming, I shift my focus on improving by one single point at a time. This helps me break down my goals into actionable steps.
It also helps me celebrate my progress along the way.
5. REVERSE ENGINEER
Imagine having already accomplished your goal. In as much detail as you can describe what it looks and feels like to get to that point.
Then work your way backwards. What steps were needed to get to that point? What action did you need to take?
6. CREATE A PLAN
Once you figure out exactly what is required to achieve your goal, break it down further into small actionable steps by creating a plan.
I like to focus on the first two or three steps I need to take to get started and make them S-M-A-R-T (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based).
7. CREATE MOMENTUM
In order to make progress with a goal you have to create momentum by taking small, consistent action.
My favourite way to create momentum and ensure that I am taking the necessary action steps to achieve my goal is by time-blocking my schedule. Time blocking is a time management tool that involves scheduling a time frame for a task. First, figure out exactly how long the task will take you or give it your best estimate. Then schedule that time in your calendar, agenda, or journal so you know exactly what you need to focus on and when. Remember to schedule breaks or rest and time between tasks as well.
Consistently dedicating a time to work on my goal creates momentum which ensures I am progressing towards my goals.
8. BE YOUR OWN BIGGEST FAN
If there is anything that is going to get in the way of achieving my goals it’s my own darn self.
In my experience, doubt, fear, and negative self-talk would always lead me to sabotage my efforts and give up on my goals.
When I started to become my own biggest fan, practice self-love, positive affirmations, and encourage myself through obstacles instead of tearing myself down, I started making real progress.
It might sound cheesy but you really do have to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe that you can achieve your goal and that it’s not for you and that you don’t deserve it or that you are probably going to fail anyways, then you will fail. It is absolutely essential that you believe you can achieve your goal if you want to be successful at it.
Speak to yourself the way you would speak to a friend and be encouraging.
Anytime I notice a negative thought or belief come up I try and catch it and replace it with an affirmation to keep myself on track.
9. PLAN FOR OBSTACLES
Life is full of obstacles and anything worth having will involve some level of challenge. I used to run from these challenges or use them as an excuse to quit. Now I embrace them and tackle them head on because that’s where growth happens. As soon as you tackle one challenge or obstacle you are one step closer to your goal. It’s all part of the process!
Part of my goal setting process is to prepare for potential obstacles so I can give myself the best chance at overcoming them.
- Have you ever tried to accomplish this goal and if so, what did you do well, and what challenges did you face?
- If you face these challenges again what will you do differently?
- What are 3 other challenges that could get in the way of achieving your goal this time? How do you plan on pushing past them?
- Write a quick note to yourself for when things get tough and you feel like giving up. This can be as short or as long as you want it to be. Whether or not your successful at something has everything to do with perseverance. It helps if you can remind yourself of this and give yourself a few words of encouragement to keep going.
10. keep ON KEEPIN’ ON!
Put one foot in front of the other, take small consistent action, be willing to fail, learn, get back on track and focus on progress instead of perfection!
What does your goal setting process look like? If you have any other tips please feel free to share!