For the last six years, I’ve been a driven goal-getter. Everyday new dreams sprout, bloom and grow. Whether it’s as small as penning a particular blog piece or as big as writing a novel (or two!), my life’s fuelled by new ideas I want to pursue.
And while I spend a lot of time musing about my goals and trying to fit them into my daily routine, it’s come to my attention that I am not overly successful when it comes to achieving my goals. While I’ve got the drive and ideas, I’m the first to admit that I don’t know how to properly lay down the foundations that will help me thrive.
By not figuring out the essentials, I hardly fulfilled any of my goals. As a result, I’ve felt incredibly insecure with myself and abilities. While I’m a “driven goal-getter”, I didn’t feel like a “driven goal-achiever”. Over the last few months, I’ve questioned everything:
Am I not good enough?
Not disciplined enough?
Not driven enough?
Is it who I am as a human being?
Or do I just have a horrible tendency to choose unrealistic goals?
While I intentionally didn’t set any New Years Resolutions this year, I did want to learn how to properly determine and pursue my goals. And on top of that, I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of my goals and why they’re important to me. That way, I’d be more prepared when it comes to setting achievable goals in the future.
If you’re downright goal-getter like me, don’t don’t feel like you’re entirely nailing it – this article’s for you!
Goal Chasing Comes with Sacrifices
I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that fantasising about goals is a liberating past time. It can be so easy to focus on the achievement at the end. But what about the sacrifices we have to make along the way?
Are we able to stay up an extra thirty minutes at night to read a book and write in our gratitude journal? Can we truely wake up at 4am every morning to head to the gym before work? Are we prepare to give up a social life to commit to our weekend writing commitments? Whatever the question, and whatever our answer, it’s important to remember this:
“Nothing great was ever achieved without a personal sacrifice. You have to pay the price to realize your goals.”
– Lailah Gifty Akita
Not only is it essential to consider what sacrifices we’ll make to obtain our goals, we also need to think about behaviours that result in us sacrificing our goals. For instance, heading into the weekend I always create a massive creative and research to-do list. But when the weekend comes, I sleep in, clean, head to the gym, do the weekly food shopping and drown myself under mountains of washing before crashing on the couch with a movie or two. What I’ve realised, is that my value of cleanliness (which is pretty damn high), is totally overpowering my goals. And while there’s no instant fix, it’s important we recognise where our values lie because they affect our goal chasing abilities more than we realise.
Goals Are Guides, Systems Are Strides Forward
Goals have always been big part of my life, but what’s more important than my goals are the systems I put in place to achieve them. While goals are our guide, systems are our strides forward that ultimately determine our progress. To a certain degree, systems are more important than the goal itself because they are what achieve the results.
Now I’ve kinda given goals a bad rep in this little section, but they do have two very important roles. Along with determining our direction, goals indicate what sort of systems, processes and habits we should put in place to guarantee achievement. Regardless of what our goals are, the systems we need to reach your fitness goals would be very different to the goals needed for our work goals.
Measurable Goals Help Identify Progress
As I reflect on my previous goals, I realise they are not very measured – if at all. Quite often my goals sound like habits or to-do lists: “Read every day”, “Don’t use EFTPOS card”, “Use my planner daily”. Because I don’t make my goals specific or quantifiable from the get-go, it’s difficult to observe my progress as time goes by. This leads to forgetting about my goals a week or so in, because I can’t identify how far I’ve strayed away or what it’ll take to get back on course. Then I’ll pull the inevitable – “I’ll do it next month!”
Not only do measurable goals help us to calculate our progress and identify our declines, they also motivate us further. There’s no greater feeling than realising that our efforts have been worth it. And I’m sure we can all agree that nothing’s more motivating than realising you’re on the right track.
Time Limits Are A Fine Line
Like measurable goals, time bound goals are detrimental to our goal’s success because they motivate us and help us commit to a deadline. However, if our time limits are too long or too short, they wreck havoc with our goals.
Goals can be short-term (under 3 months), medium-term (3 months – 3 years) and long-term (over 3 years). And while I’ve got a handful of BIG long-term goals up my sleeve, it’s my short-term goals that have been causing me the most strife. Since November 2017, I’ve been participating in monthly goals. But on the rare occasion when my goals didn’t sound like a habit, my goals were medium-term goals that I’d forcibly squeezed into a month. Well I’m saying “No more!” Going forward I’m taking time limits into deeper consideration and will undoubtedly change my blog’s monthly goals into seasonal goals (starting March when autumn hits!) This way my goals will become more achievable.
Less is More
Like I mentioned right at the beginning – everyday new dreams sprout, bloom and grow in my mind. So I tend to take on more than I can handle when it comes to writing down goals! Unfortunately, when we add extra goals to our lists, they all become less achievable. It’s called Goal Competition, and it’s biggest obstacle for goal-getters like you and I.
While I’m not keen to drop down to one goal a month, I’m committed to limiting the number of goals I’m working on, as well as spacing them across the following pillars:
- Work – (ie. write 500 words a day or write 2 blog posts a week)
- Personal – (ie. read 20 pages a day or learn a new recipe each week)
- Health – (ie. run on the treadmill for 10 minutes or write in gratitude journal)
- Relationships – (ie. date night every fortnight or call my parents twice a week)
- Finance – (ie. save $500 a month or monitor my finances once a week)
So are you ready to tackle the goals you’ve had brewing since forever? I’d love to know what your plans are for the next year – so make sure to tell me in the comments of hit me up on Instagram via @justine.spencer!