Are you ready to breathe some new life into your goals? Read on for some practical tips on how to do it.
1. Remember why your goal matters
Write down a list of all the reasons you want to achieve your goal. Post it somewhere that’s highly visible to you, or save it to pull it out for unmotivated moments.
Can’t come up with reasons why it matters, or find your list of reasons unconvincing? Listen to your gut. Maybe you should let it go. Or transform it.
What’s really speaking to you beneath the surface of that goal… what matters, what inspires you, what lights you up? What can you move towards instead of away from? Is there a goal behind your goal? Something you truly wish you were doing instead of what you “should” be doing? Something bigger or smaller in scope that feels more right?
Listen for a feeling of things clicking into place as you write out the reasons behind your goal. Making progress on a goal is endlessly easier when your goal is powered by passion + connection.
2. Connect to your goal’s heart.
Considering all the reasons why your goal matters, is there one shining motivator that jumps out? An image or a phrase or a value that captures the heart of your goal?
Finding or creating a symbol that brings up all the passion you hold for your goal is a powerful act. Connecting to the heart of your goal motivates you to show up for it, and symbols can help make that goal’s heart feel real and alive. And worth working towards.
3. Tweak your goal into one you can fully control.
Not all things that we want to make happen are effective goals. I like to make a distinction between goals and desired outcomes. A goal is something that you can do. A desired outcome is something that you want to happen.
Want to lose weight? That’s not something that you can do in a direct and fully controllable way. Instead, make concrete and action-oriented goals around exercise or eating. Want to be less stressed? Again, that’s something you can impact rather than completely control. To work towards a lower-stress life, you might commit to a daily meditation practice, change your boundaries at work, start a creative hobby or commit to going out with friends every week or month. Want to change some aspect of your parenting style? Choose a super-specific idea you want to try from a book or website rather than simply willing yourself to change.
Whatever your desired outcome, decide what tangible actions might accomplish the outcome you want, and make following through on those actions the goal itself.
If you later decide that your concrete goal isn’t moving you towards the outcome you seek, you can choose new goals later. But put your energy and focus into what you can fully control… your own choices and actions… rather than on the results of those actions.
4. Break it down.
Break your goal down into 5-10 smaller sub-goals, with dates attached to them. You don’t have to keep referring to these dates if they’re not motivating. But the process of breaking down your goal is a great reality-check for whether your expectations and time/energy investment are synced up.
5. Block out work time
Put chunks of work time on your calendar weekly or daily to work on your goal. If you don’t have a lot of time available, that’s fine – start with whatever time is available to you. Even five or fifteen minutes, done consistently, can have tremendous impact over time.
Treat the appointment with yourself with as much respect as you’d treat a commitment to spend time with another person. This is your super-important goal we’re talking about here– it deserves the best of you. You deserve the best of you.
6. Set yourself up for ease.
What can you do to make it as simple + pleasant as possible to get started quickly and with ease when your work time arrives? Think: Will I need any supplies or tools? Am I missing any basic information? Is there something about my space that will massively distract me? Do I need support or childcare to make this happen? Can I set the mood for this time with music, candles or something else beautiful that will help me connect with the heart of my goal as I work? Are there distractions I can avoid, such as staying off social media or offline?
What can I do to make my work time towards my goal sacred + effective + fun?
7. Embark on a love affair with process.
Don’t focus so hard on what you haven’t done yet that you lose track of everything you have done. Give yourself a pat on the back for making a big commitment to begin with and for every bit of hard work you put in along the way. You deserve to feel proud of all your work and progress, not just at the beginning but throughout the process.
Notice your progress and efforts as you go. Celebrate baby steps and small milestones, even silly ones. It all counts.
8. Show up.
Come back, again and again. Do the work. Keep taking your steps, even on the days that it’s hard, even on the day where you’ve gotten behind, even on the days when you are struggling to connect with your motivation. Build habits and honor your worktime. Treat your goal with respect.
9. Throw out the guilt.
If you mess up, that too is part of the process. Pick yourself up, see what you can learn from your mistake and resolve to do it differently next time.
10. You are not your goal.
It’s wonderful to have goals and make progress on them, but don’t make your sense of self-worth dependent on your achievements. You remain worthwhile as a person regardless of what you do or don’t accomplish. As musician Gina Sala writes,“You are intrinsically valued, and lovable and worthy of all joy and nurturing and health and vitality just because of who you are, not because of what you do!”
Stalled on a goal?
There are so many ways to connect to your goals and move them forward. If you are ever interested in personalized help from me with your goals, check out my short + sweet Sanity Jolt coaching package. It’s specially designed to uncover what’s holding you back and how you can move forward, in just 2 phone sessions together. I’d love to hear about what you want to work towards!