Reaching your goals in 7 easy steps
Almost everybody who does sports sets themselves goals regularly. Maybe you want to score at least 5 goals in the coming 10 soccer matches, run the 10K in under an hour, or lose another 5 kg so you can finally wear those nice jeans again you had bought a year ago. Some of your goals you will reach, and others you will not reach. Not reaching your goals can lead to demotivation, depression, and maybe even giving up a healthy lifestyle and sports altogether. While most people think that reaching your goals will depend on willpower, the truth is that many people formulate their goals poorly and sabotage their chances of reaching their goals and feeling great about themselves.
In this article we will explain how you can best set your goals in a way that you can not only reach them when you put in the time and effort, but also how you can help yourself reaching your goals more easily. And as soon as you reach your goals you will feel energized to set new goals, do things you never thought you could accomplish, and live a life of greatness.
1 Be specific
The first step of setting a goal is to be as specific as possible. When you set yourself goals as “being happy”, “being healthy”, or “being rich” you will soon find out that you can never really tell if you reached your goal already or not. Is being healthy equal to not being in a hospital as a patient or is being healthy equal to be able to run a marathon in 4 hours? By being specific in your goals you will not only be able to know when you reached your goal but it will also create a mental imagine that can motivate you to work harder to reach your goal.
2 Make your goals measurable
By making your goals measurable you can keep an eye on your progress. Every day, week, or month you can see if you are a bit closer to your goals than before or not. As soon as you start moving further away from your goal you can take action to reverse this trend. If your goal is to be healthier you cannot measure your progress on a monthly basis, but if you change that goal into losing 15kg you can start stepping on a scale every now and then and see how well you are doing. By being able to measure your progress you will be extra motivated when you start approaching your goals and you are only a bit away of reaching them.
3 Add a timeline to your goal
The difference between a dream and a goal is a timeline. If you plan to lose 15kg but do not state by when you plan on having lost that weight you will never feel really motivated to put in more effort since you always have enough time to put in effort later. You will postpone doing the hardest part of the work and after a while you will lose motivation since you already worked on your goal for so long but never reached it. Instead of setting a goal to lose 15kg you should set a goal to having lost 15kg 1 year from now. This will urge you to start working on your goal now and it helps you to keep track of reaching your goal: if you lost only 5kg 6 months later you know you have to work harder.
4 Pick a goal you can control
It is important to set goals in such a way that you can control them. Setting a goal on something you cannot control will lead to frustration as no matter how much time and effort you invest, you cannot fully control the outcome. Setting the earlier mentioned goal of losing 15kg in 1 year is therefore not a good example as you cannot control how your body reacts to your training plan and nutritional plan. Instead of aiming at losing 15kg in 1 year you can therefore better set a goal of going to the gym for at least 40 minutes 3 times a week and not eating more than 2,500 calories per day. These goals you can control as you can decide to stop eating when you reach 2,500 calories on a day and you can decide to go to the gym on a given day to come to 3 times a week. The results of these two goals will most likely be that you lose a certain amount of weight, maybe even more than 15kg.
5 Plan a strategy to reach your goals
Once you have picked a goal you can control it is important to plan a strategy to reach that goal. If your goal is to go to the gym 3 times a week you will need to free time on a weekly basis so you can actually go the gym. If you keep on planning meetings and dinners every evening it will be hard to find time to go to the gym. And if you don’t want to eat more than 2,500 calories a day it might be recommended to not buy packages of sweets as this might give you the temptation to eat a lot more.
6 Create a plan with small steps
Every journey starts with a single step. Having a large goal might work paralyzing as you do not know how to start moving towards it. Or having a goal in the far future might not create the urge to start working on it right away. By setting smaller intermediate goals to reach your larger goal you can focus on the next small step without losing sight of the big goal. Instead of aiming to finish a marathon within 4 hours in 1 year from now you might want to focus on being able to run 20 kilometers 4 months from now, or being able to go 10 kilometers per hour for at least 90 minutes 3 months from now.
7 Make yourself responsible for your actions
Take full responsibility for what you are doing. If you make a mistake take the responsibility and make sure you do not make the same mistake again. And when you reach an intermediate goal take the credit and feel proud of reaching this smaller goal. It also helps if you inform others of your goals. By telling others you will be extra motivated to not disappoint the people around you and show your perseverance. When people around you know that you plan on running a 10K race over 3 months to be able to reach your marathon goal by the end of the year they will inform about your progress regularly. This way you cannot fool yourself by diminishing your goals when you feel afraid you won’t reach them on time and will keep trying the best out of yourself. Finally it can help to build in some consequences for not reaching your goals or setting rewards for reaching your goals. If you will be punished for failing to reach an intermediate goal, for example no eating out for a week or washing your friends’ cars, you will be extra motivated to reach your goal. Or when you set yourself a nice rewards like a short trip to a resort for a long weekend when you reach your goal you might find that little but of extra motivation you needed.
It should be clear by now that setting the right goals can help you a lot to become and stay motivated to reach your goals. And once you start reaching your goals you can always set your next goals a bit higher to always keep improving. Be the best you can!