How to Reach Difficult Goals
Goal setting is one of the most important aspects of succeeding in whatever it is you’d like to do with your life. They offer us a sense of direction, but big goals are daunting and often difficult to achieve.
However, by following these tips, hard to reach goals will become more attainable.
Elements of an Attainable Goal
Some goals, like discovering time travel just aren’t feasible options for most of us to achieve. However, graduating college or quitting an addiction is fully within our power. By including these five elements when making them, you’re more likely to complete them successfully.
- Time Limit
By setting a reasonable deadline, you’ll be more likely to be driven enough to accomplish what you want to before that date
- Clear Vision
Part of the problem with many goals is that the individual doesn’t really have a clear picture of what they want to do at first. Once you have that image cemented in your mind, it’ll be easier to work towards it, because you’ll know exactly where you’d like to go.
Although life has a way of getting in the way of our silly little schedules, having an idea of what sequence of events needed helps with taking necessary action. This goes back to having a good direction in mind to take.
Another important aspect of the goal you’re setting for yourself is knowing your true motivation in selecting it.
Are you quitting smoking for your spouse who hates the smell, or are you doing so for better health? Do you want to graduate college because you’re being pressured to, or do you really want to do something with the degree? Half the battle is what motivated the goal and what keeps you going as an individual.
Perhaps the most important part of meeting your goals is developing the discipline to follow through with the plan you make for yourself. Although beating yourself over not completing certain steps on time is counterproductive, it's also vital to put in the effort when you just don't feel like doing so. By nurturing a sense of industriousness into your every day life, you'll also be nurturing your motivation. The more you get done, the more motivated you may be to keep pushing yourself.
Once you have those five primary steps established, try the following techniques to make accomplishment easier.
Break the Big Goal Into Small Goals
It’s natural to be overwhelmed when it comes to your life aspirations. Huge change doesn’t happen overnight, and when it does, it becomes extremely difficult to handle if you’re not ready for it.
Goals are more like planned change. Although the end goal will be big, it’s a good idea to break that big one into little ones to accomplish one at a time.
College is a good example. By working with a counselor, you’ll be able to determine which classes are needed, and from there, schedule when you’ll be taking them.
Those can then be broken down to tests and assignments. When the days get especially tough, there's no shame in making a short term goal out of simply getting through the day in one piece.
Think of it like training for some sort of physical competition, like a marathon. Unless they're already in excellent shape, no one can get up and finish a marathon, much less win one, without training. Instead, everyone starts with first conditioning their body in some way, often setting short running goals.
As each goal is reached, they push themselves to the next one until they have both the physical and mental ability to complete such an endurance-heavy activity.
A Great Goal Setting Exercise
Record Your Successes
Write down each accomplishment you make and put the date on it. Keep your notes in a single place, like a jar or notebook. When you start to feel discouraged, look back at those notes, and realize if you can do all of that, you can reach the other goals you’ve set for yourself.
By doing this, your confidence is lifted, and a little bit of the fear or resignation you feel will start to melt away. Doing this may also help you spot patterns in your own behavior that you can build on to help make the journey a little smoother.
Friends and Family
Sharing your goal with supportive friends and family will give them the opportunity to help you out as only they can. They’re there to support you, just as you are there to support them.
A good example from my own life is from this past November, when I took part in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. For those who aren’t familiar, NaNoWriMo is a challenge to authors to write at least 50,000 words in a month.
Since I’m a freelance writer in addition to being a hubber, I already do quite a bit of writing, but I’ve always wanted to try that challenge. There were days where I didn’t want to work on my fiction, simply because my brain felt stuck. This is where the cheers from my online friends helped me push through the block and get past 50K by the end of November.
Even something as simple as a “YOU CAN DO IT” from someone else goes a long way to getting yourself in gear towards accomplishing your goal.
The act of using the goal as an affirmation, like “I am doing well enough in college to graduate in three years”, will help you bring that image of what you want back to mind and prompt you to keep going with the task at hand.
It's also vital to keep your attitude as positive as possible. Repeating your affirmation to yourself and feeling the pending success will help lift a fallen mood.
What's your favorite way to get back on track after a delay?
Go Easy on Yourself
Part of the problem with the process of achieving your goals is beating yourself up when you don’t keep up with the schedule.
This is very counter intuitive because the more you beat up on yourself, the lower your confidence becomes and the more likely you are to give up before accomplishing what you want to.
As I mentioned above, life has a tendency to happen when you’re making other plans. So, when delays happen, try not to let them get you to down. Simply look at any mistakes you made, learn from them, and then move on.
No one ever said that personal growth is easy.
Set Time Aside to Work on the Goal
Since often the most important goals are the most difficult, it’s vital to dedicate enough time to actually achieving them. When you set a chunk of your schedule aside to work on your aspirations, you’re reminded of the work you need to do, and are more likely to do it.
However, concentrating exclusively on your goals, instead of making room for other things in life, can be just as damaging as when you don’t dedicate the time you need. Burnout can be one of the most damaging things that can happen to you.
Although achieving your goals can be a little complicated depending on what they are, it’s never impossible if you put your mind and force of will to it.