6 Ways to Make Sure Your Next Goal is a Success

4/12/18
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Congrats! You’ve decided to set a goal. Here’s how that can look:

Something or someone provided a source of motivation. It could have been a conversation you had with a friend. It could have been a situation that made you fed up and want nothing more than change. Or, it could have been the New Year.

It could have even been a Youtube video.

The problem is, we all want to conquer the world every time we set a goal.

“Go big or go home!” “Shoot for the stars!” you say.

You’ve heard the classic things about goals, and this time, you’re extra motivated, so you try them out.  Write them on paper. Post them where you see them every day. Tell 10 people in your social circle about them.

Three months pass, and someone asks you about your progress.

“What progress?” you say, confused. “Oh, you mean on my goal. Well, uh, ummm …”

Did it happen? In a word, no.

That cycle can feel like a hamster wheel that you are perpetually stuck in. Success seems so close … yet so far away.

If only there was something you could do to make it happen more easily.

Well, here are 6 ways to make sure your next goal is a SUCCESS, without feeling overwhelmed about it:

Set a REALISTIC goal with a timeframe attached to it.

This seems like common sense, yet so many people overlook it.

You’re not going to get 6-pack abs in two weeks. You’re not going to run a 5-minute mile after a month (heck, I’ve never run one). Your food choices and culinary skills may still need some work after 6 months.

THAT IS OKAY. Yes, you want to dream big. You want big things.

But, the whole point of goal setting is to determine your end point and timeframe so you can figure out a plan to get there!

Time adds a sense of urgency, so you don’t just think, “Oh, I’ll work on (fill in the blank) tomorrow,” and consistently procrastinate your efforts.

Get yourself accountable

Those methods listed above about writing it out and telling your friends? There’s a reason they exist: to hold you ACCOUNTABLE.

If someone is constantly asking you about something or you see a reminder on your mirror every day, it makes it a heck of a lot harder to forget about that thing, don’t you think?

Some people block time off in their calendar to work on their goal each week. Others announce it on social media or join a group of people with a similar goal to help motivate them.

Whatever method may work best for you, find it and utilize it!

Set up smaller milestones along the way

I can’t stress this one enough.

Imagine you and your best friend are driving from Detroit to San Diego. It’s 2000+ miles.

That feels like … eternity.

But, you decide to divide it up into smaller segments. For example, maybe you switch drivers in Chicago, Omaha, Denver and Las Vegas. Suddenly, it seems more reasonable since you aren’t driving forever.  You can check each milestone off the list.

Same thing applies to goals!

Set up those smaller actions along the way. You want to start eating better? Maybe start by adding a vegetable at lunch and dinner every day for a week. You want to consistently go to the gym five days per week? Start with two days per week.

By making goals smaller and more manageable, you are setting yourself up for IMMINENT success. Five days at the gym may seem like a lot when you are just starting out, but you know you can get there twice.   Achieving these smaller milestones builds momentum, so when you go to add to your successes (i.e. add day 3), it doesn’t seem like as big a deal.

It’s almost GUARANTEEING success … as long as you:

Take action

In the words of the rapper Kevin Gates, “A vision without action is merely a dream.”

If you take nothing else from this post, PLEASE recognize that if you don’t take action, NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE.

Habits will not form. Behaviors will not transform. Your motivation for your goal? It will probably drop like a rock since nothing is changing from the status quo.

Wishing on a star doesn’t make a dream come true. Action does.

Your goal scares you a little? You’re pushed out of your comfort zone?

THAT IS GREAT. This goal is helping you to grow, and if you never take action on it, you never are going to take those steps towards achieving it. You will end up right back where you were when you started …

… which is why so many people quit on their new year’s resolutions or other goals they set.

By taking action on the smaller, manageable chunks, you are forming habits and establishing consistency.  Once those are engrained (and it takes 21-60ish days, depending who you ask), you start to become dedicated and unstoppable.

Don’t let it overwhelm you

Yes, it may be a bit awkward or strange to do something new or something you haven’t done in a long time.

Maybe you just really don’t like the broccoli you packed in your lunch. Maybe the gym is a scary jungle to you and you don’t know how to design a workout.

As I said before, it is SUPER easy to let the little voice in your head tell you, “Hey, this is scary. Everyone is watching you. What if you stumble or mess up? RUN AWAY!”

Fire that voice in your head. It’s now off payroll. It’s not helping you accomplish ANYTHING.

There will be tough days, especially early on, where motivation is lacking. You may even want to quit.

These days happen to EVERYONE, myself included. Think of any successful individual you know. They’ve had it happen too.

The difference between the successful ones and the quitters? BOUNCING BACK.

Miss a day at the gym? Go the next day. Forget a serving of vegetables one day? Meal prep in advance so it’s easier on you.

Eliminate black and white, all-or-nothing thinking. Just because you hit a bump doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Pick yourself up and get back on it!

Enjoy the process!

It’s like those corny lists of rules you read in elementary school where the last one is, “Have fun!”

Except your teachers may have been onto something …

You need to ENJOY the ride, ups and downs included. That’s what makes the outcome so much more fulfilling – you’ve endured so much, worked so hard to establish a habit, and can really take pride in what you’ve done.

So celebrate your wins! Reach a milestone or a goal? Reward yourself. Consider even adding a small reward at every milestone and a large one when you reach the final destination. It can add to your motivation.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your habits won’t be either. But, consistent effort day in and day out to achieve them, coupled with realistic goals, put you on the path to successes greater than you ever imagined!


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Ben Tzeel is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He's currently attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, finishing his Master’s Degree in Nutrition and becoming a Registered Dietitian. He's lived with Type 1 diabetes since 1999. He's a published fitness model and contributes content about exercise and nutrition to many websites, including Diabetes Strong, where he's the Fitness Editor. Contact him at ben@diabetesstrong.com or on Instagram @manoftzeel.