Last week’s blog post talked about a way to be more successful at setting goals. Once you’ve set your initial goal, it’s easy to lose focus. Life gets in the way. Shiny objects pop up. You chase other more attractive options. So how do you increase your chances of sticking with it?
Start by coming up with a really big dream for your health and wellbeing. Make it something that you’ll work towards over the next year. Think big. Pie in the sky goals. And decide on a semi-unachievable goal. It should be something that is possible to achieve if the stars align.
If your goal is impossible then you’re doing this step wrong. For example, you can set a goal to be taller, however, that’s not possible if you’re fully grown. Or if you want longer legs. Or a thinner wrist. There’s factors you can’t control or change. The goal is to make you stretch outside of your comfort zone, not to set you up for failure.
Once you’ve got that big goal to work towards it’s time to work backward. Take your yearly goal and break it down into a monthly goal. What do you need to do on a monthly basis to make your yearly goal? A common goal I hear is to lose 50 pounds in a year. If you break that down into a monthly goal it works out to just over 4 pounds per month.
Keep breaking down the monthly goal into weekly goals. If you need to lose 4 pounds in one month, that works out to 1 pound per week. Realizing that there's a few months in the year that stretch over 5 weeks, keep your planning to 4 week months. This gives you a bit of a cushion for when stuff gets in the way and slows your progress.
Once your weekly goals are set, move onto your daily goals. What do you need to do to lose one pound each week? Perhaps you need to lift weight three times per week. Or trade in that baked potato at business lunches for a side salad. Or maybe it's giving up pop completely.
Here's where the fun begins- think of your goal setting like a giant experiment. Some weeks it's going to work, so weeks it isn't. Going back to the weight loss goal, you may lose 2-3 pounds per week for the first few weeks and then stall out. So at first, it seems like you've exceeded your goals. Then, when you aren't losing weight, it feels like you're a failure. Yet when you average it out over a few months, you're right on target.
By breaking down your goal into smaller targets, it gives you a way to stay focused. Losing 50 pounds is an elephant-sized goal. It's big. It's scary. And it seems unachievable. But losing 1 pound per week is a mouse-sized goal. It's small. And totally doable. Don't be afraid of these kind of mice. They are here to help lead you to the big slab of cheese! (Or whatever your big goal is!)
Stack this style of goal setting with your passion filled why you've got a recipe for crushing your goals. Even if you don't fully reach the big pie in the sky goal, you're so much successful than the Resolutions you gave up on in February.
Check back next week to see how your daily habits influence your ability to stay on track.
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