Three Ways to Work Toward Your Goals
In 2019, I spent a lot of time discovering my purpose and defining my goals. Even though I believe that purpose ultimately fuels one’s passion, purpose is not enough to keep you motivated to make progress on your goals. Sometimes our motivation leaves us, or our energy disappears and we get “too busy.” But this year I changed some of my habits and mindsets to better set myself up for success, even when I got tired and busy. So, I wanted to share with you the three things that I did to help me continue making progress toward my goals.
Don't Accept Your Default
Changing your mindset is powerful. It changed the expectations I had of myself and my life, of what I’m capable of and where I plan to go. Did you know that your default beliefs about yourself and the way you work can hold you back from accomplishing your goals? We tell ourselves that this is just “the way we are” for so long that it becomes a part of our identity. But you have the power to change these beliefs, and adjust them to work better for you now. To figure out what your default beliefs about yourself are, listen to the stories you tell yourself and take note of the excuses you’re giving for not having already reached that goal.
We believe negative things about ourselves because we gain something from these beliefs. I used to think that I wasn’t a hard worker, and I believed this for so long because I didn’t like my job, and therefore I didn’t feel the need to be working hard at it. The belief that I wasn’t a hard worker gave me the excuse to not work hard.
I got this concept of our default beliefs and the excuses they give us from Jen Sincero’s book You Are A Bada$$. She recommends writing down each belief about yourself and what you gain from it. Because only once you’re totally aware of all of your default beliefs and what you’re gaining from them, can you shift them from beliefs that no longer serve you, to new beliefs that do serve you and your goals now.
For example, I used to believe that I wasn’t a hard worker. I have since reversed this belief and re-written it into a sort-of mantra that I repeat often: I am a hard worker and I put in the effort to achieve my goals, and I do achieve goal after goal after goal.
Focus on these new beliefs and repeat them to yourself whenever you need the reminder, stick them to your mirror, and keep them in a note on your phone until they become your new default, and a new part of your identity. I know this sounds cheesy, but girl, you can be whoever you want to be. Making this a practice will convince you that you’re capable of more than you thought possible.
Figure Out What Energizes You and Make It a Habit
Sometimes I have work to be done and my mind and body just want to shut off for the rest of the day and chilllllll. When this happens, I do something that will motivate me and give me the energy to work towards my goal anyway.
This one was tougher for me to make into a habit, because it required me to take physical action. But now, almost every evening after work, instead of succumbing to a tired night on the couch, I go for a run. It wakes my mind and body and gives me the energy and motivation I need for a productive night.
If you’re not sure what it is that energizes you, here is a list of different activities that you can try any time you’re feeling too tired. If two or three of these ideas resonate with you, try each out for a week, and see which one feels right to you. It might also depend on which activity fits into your routine best, or which is more fulfilling.
Get outdoors. Collect things, call a friend while walking, or try trail running.
A new exercise routine. Try biking, at-home zumba, pilates, or a yoga class to get your blood pumping.
Listen to an up-beat, inspiring podcast. Some of my favorites are: RISE with Rachel Hollis, The Goal Digger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher, NPR’s How I Built This with Guy Raz, and The Women of Illustration with Dina Rodriquez.
Just get busy. Make a new recipe, work in your garden, or clean a new part of your house that you usually skip.
Do something creative that you usually don’t do. Paint on a rock instead of paper, try calligraphy, or color in an adult coloring book. The key to this one is keeping it simple.
Keep Your Goals Top of Mind
Achieving a goal takes intentionality and commitment. So, essentially, keeping your goal top of mind means to think about it everyday. Using a roadmap with specific steps can help keep you on track to reach your goal and give you direction on what exactly to be thinking about in terms of your goal. It’s easy to get distracted with new or different ideas, and start working on things that won’t help us reach our goal at all. When I keep my goal top of mind, everyday I take one step, no matter how small, toward that goal.
To create a roadmap to reach your goal, start with the end result. Once you have your main goal written down, work backward and write down 3-5 main milestones that it will take to reach your goal. Now fill in the gaps between the milestones with the smaller activities that you’ll need to do to reach each milestone.
Now that you know the specific steps to reach your goal, and you can use it as a guide for what exactly needs to be top of mind. A great way to engage your mind on these steps is by reading books, listening to podcast episodes, or watching YouTube videos on the next task in your roadmap.
Other ways to keep your goal top of mind is by telling your family and friends all about your goal, share your passion and why you want to accomplish it. This way, they can check in with you to see how you’re progressing on your goal. You can also get your roommate or partner involved or give yourself a small daily challenge that will help you work toward your goal.
If you make this goal a part of your everyday life – if it’s on your mind everyday – you can’t ignore it and you’ll be more inclined to take intentional steps toward it.
So there you have it! The three things that helped me most last year toward achieving my goals. I hope that you can find ways to implement these shifts into your own daily life that work for you, and that you find they help you as much as they helped me. Here’s to achieving our goals this coming year!