5 Ways to Make Your Goals Stick

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“Motivation doesn’t last. Well neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

Do you feel like a lack of daily motivation is keeping you from your goals? You may be right. It’s the reason goals, new habits and New Year’s Resolutions fall by the wayside every day.

Well, Zig didn’t tell you this, but finding motivation to achieve your goals each day becomes a lot easier when you create a targeted plan for goals that stick:

1) First things first

As it’s been said repeatedly, you have a greater chance for goal planning success when you create a goal that is SMART:

  • Specific: Clarify your outcome.
  • Measurable: Create objectives that can be charted.
  • Actionable: Start with an action verb.
  • Realistic: Ensure it aligns with your life.
  • Time-bound: Give your goal a deadline.

Smart examples:

By taking time to ensure that your goals fit the SMART criteria, you greatly improve your chances for success. Here are three examples:

  1. “Drop two inches from my waist by Christmas through diet and exercise.”
    (Has realistic and measurable qualities)
  2. “Improve my golf score 10 strokes, by August, by practicing my putting one hour a week.”
    (Very specific, it tells me how I’m going to do it)
  3. “Land six job interviews in the HR field by end of May.”
    (Realistic and has a strong time-bound element)

2) Create intermediate steps

Ask yourself “How can I achieve this goal?” and write down all the answers that come to mind into your daily planner.

For example: If your goal is to “Have $5,000 in savings by 2014,” you would write down the following steps:

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Simple right? But we’re not done yet. What you have here are only intermediate steps. They carry clear directions, yet are not specific enough to put on your task list.

2) Break it down

For each intermediate step you must create goal-tasks. Do this by writing down the first action that comes to mind, and then the next, and the next, and so on.

In the above example: you could create the following goal-tasks for the first intermediate step “Spend less money:”

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Now, these are tasks you can act upon. In creating goal-tasks, it’s important to be as thorough as possible – think of them as baby steps.

Remember this: A poorly-defined activity can cause a roadblock that hinders your progress and discourages you from getting started.

3) Get on schedule

Now that you have an action list for each goal, you can integrate these goal-tasks into your daily and weekly planner schedules. Here are some suggestions:

  • Keep your goal sheets visible while planning your week
  • Dedicate at least one goal-related task each week
  • Write goal-tasks into your monthly Master Task List
  • On your calendar, write in due dates (or milestones) for each intermediate task
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself, space your goal-tasks evenly over your time period
  • Keep your commitment fresh by scheduling at least one goal-task each week

4) Follow that dream

You must believe enough in your goal-related tasks to follow-through on them. Yes it takes discipline, and motivation, and yes you will face procrastination and distraction. But, to find success you must focus on the reason behind each activity.

Think to yourself, “it’s not just another task, it’s a stepping-stone toward that pot of gold!” (Or wherever is your pot of gold.) And, once you can cross that item off your to-do list, the feeling of satisfaction is amazingly contagious.

Summary 

  1. Set SMART goals
  2. Write down transitional steps that bridge your goals into actions
  3. Break down each intermediate step into goal-related tasks
  4. Schedule these goal-tasks into your daily and weekly plans
  5. Follow-through on your intentions

Remember this: It takes just a little momentum to carry you through another successful day, and one step closer toward your goals. Now, go after your goals today!

[photo by Victor 1558]