It’s not so hard to set good goals. What’s hard is actually following through on what you need to do to make those goals reality.
But there are important techniques to keep you on track so you can achieve your goals…
1. Review Your Goals Daily
It’s very important that you review your goals every day: first thing in the morning is best. I have my main goals on a 3×5 card on my writing desk. I also have my entire list of goals and action plans printed out, and I look at these frequently, especially the ones that I’m actively working on that day.
2. Revise Your Goals Frequently
As you move through life and learn and grow, your goals will naturally shift. Some will stay very important and you will work hard to attain them; others will decrease in importance and you may decide to change their scope, push out their deadlines, or perhaps drop them entirely.
I write all my goals and action plans in Word documents. That way it’s easy for me to make changes and print out new copies.
You should examine and revise your goals on at least a quarterly basis. Monthly is better.
3. Begin with Baby Steps
It’s absolutely fine to start on any goal with baby steps. You’ll make progress and you’ll build confidence that you will actually reach your goals. Better to start small than to not start at all.
4. Develop a Strong Sense of Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy refers to your belief in your talents and your ability to be successful in the various areas of your life. It’s important that you believe in yourself: it will give you the motivation to keep working on the action plans you make to reach your goals.
5. Understand the Locus of Control
An important determinant of your attitude in life and how hard and well you’ll work to achieve your goals is your personal “locus of control.” Locus of control is a psychology term for what factors you identify as controlling your destiny.
If you have an external locus of control, you think that other people, luck, and the economic, political, and social structures of society largely determine what you can or cannot achieve in life.
On the other hand, if you have an internal locus of control, you believe that you control your success in life through your own attributes and actions.
You want to develop and strengthen an internal locus of control. That’s not to say that external factors don’t matter: they obviously do. However, the more you think that achieving your goals depends on what you personally do, rather than on external events and the actions of others, the more likely you are to attain your goals. And studies show that you’ll be happier and have better mental health.
6. Be Realistic
You can only do so much. Make sure you have clearly identified your most important goals, the ones that that you have the time and energy to attain and that will make the most difference in your life. This means setting priorities and letting go of some goals.
7. Maintain Strong Commitment to Attain Your Goals
Your level of commitment to reach a goal is the primary determinant of how soon you’ll reach it, and whether you’ll reach it all. If you aren’t truly committed to a goal, it’s best to just drop it. Otherwise, you’ll waste valuable time taking small, half-hearted actions with no significant results.
Rank your current goals on a 1-10 scale for your level of commitment. Any goals that aren’t at least an 8 need to come off your list. Focus your efforts on your level 9 and level 10 goals.
8. Forgive Yourself for Backsliding
There will be times when you’ll do counterproductive activities, times you’ll procrastinate, times when you won’t live up to your standards or make satisfactory progress toward your goals, times when your willpower fails you.
You’re human. Forgive yourself and then get back on track toward achieving your goals. Repeat as needed.
9. Maintain Your Mental and Physical Health
10. Be With Supportive People
Spend as much time as possible with people who support you, uplift you, and make you feel good about yourself and what you’re doing with your life.
11. Reward Yourself
Set short-term and medium-term milestones. When you reach a milestone, give yourself a reward. It can be as simple as “If I finish this article before noon, I’ll take a 30-minute walk after lunch,” or take someone special out for a delicious meal or away for the weekend.
On the flip side, punishing yourself for missing milestones will actually harm you in the long run. Focus on positive rewards.
12. Learn, And Apply What You Learn
There are 2 main types of learning that you must do and apply to your life:
Learning new information that will help you understand the world, yourself, and your writing. Get this through books, magazines, newspapers, audio programs, seminars, radio, television, the Internet, and other people.
Learning from what you do with your writing business and everything else you do in life. Learn what works and what doesn’t, learn what you want and don’t want, and then change your goals and actions accordingly.
13. Understand the Importance of Persistence
You’ll inevitably have setbacks in your progress toward your goals, and you’ll often be tempted to waste time doing things that give you short-term pleasure but no long-term gain. At these times, you must persist. Think about why you want to achieve your goals and how you’ll feel when you do achieve them.
Anything to add? What do you do to keep yourself on track with your goals?