For me, goal setting is often more discouraging than motivating. I always get excited when I think about all I want to accomplish, but then when it gets down to it, my excitement never seems to carry into the day-to-day struggle to get it all done. And from looking at the countless goal setting theories and systems available, I know I’m not alone. Recently, though, I’ve been learning the value of taking small, sometimes slow steps toward my goals. Here are some tips that can help you do the same.
When setting goals for myself, if I make vague statements and leave them floating around in my head, I find that it is all too easy to fit them to my excuses. “Get healthy,” while noble, isn’t very practical, especially when I’m tired when it’s time to work out and I just really want that cookie. Instead of relying on fickle motivation, break down your goals into doable tasks and write them down in an inspiring way. For example, instead of “get healthy,” write, “exercise 20 minutes a day” in your calendar. Maybe even say “take a 20-minute break and go reenergize yourself at the gym!” to give yourself a positive perspective on it. See what this article calls the “Golden Rules of Goal Setting.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m significantly less likely to reach my goals if I don’t make a plan. Decide what daily steps you can take to accomplish your goals, then link them to a daily habit you already have. For example, if your goal is to drink more water, decide that before you get your second cup of coffee like you do every day, you’ll drink a glass of water. Set your environment up for your success as well: get yourself a water bottle or cup that you’ll enjoy drinking from, fill it up and set it on your desk so it’s right there to reach for — much closer than the coffee pot across the room. Read more tips on how to set yourself up for success.
The daily grind of pursuing a goal can be exhausting. Make sure you set reasonable goals with end caps for yourself. For example, instead of saying, “I will read at least 20 pages every day,” say, “I will read at least 20 pages, but no more than 30 every day.” If you set an end cap for yourself, it makes it much more satisfying to reach your goal and protects the rest of your time. It also allows you to rest guilt-free knowing that you’ve accomplished exactly what you set out to do! Here are more creative ways to motivate yourself.
Want to learn more about successful goal setting? Join us for our class HR Matters: Setting Goals That Work. Call 405.377.3333 with questions or register here. To find out about more courses like this sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. View all of our upcoming courses in our digital catalog.
Abby McCain is the Communications and Marketing Secretary at Meridian Technology Center.