I used to make a TON of New Year’s resolutions. The process of thinking about what I wanted to create and goals I wanted to meet was (and still is) SO much fun to me!
While making these resolutions was oh-so-exciting, I didn’t stick to many (if any!) of them throughout the year. The dreams I envisioned when I made my resolutions would slowly fade away in the day-to-day grind.
I would tell myself it didn’t matter that I didn’t make things happen with my resolutions, but deep down it bothered me. I wanted to improve my life and go after my dreams. Why couldn’t I follow through?
Years later, I came across life coaching. I had done pretty well in my life despite not achieving many resolutions/goals; however, it was time to get serious about creating my dream life, and I hired a coach to help me do just that.
Although I thought life coaching was wacky, weird, and lacked credibility, my gut told me to sign up. After just a few weeks working with my coach, I started to see that I was SO wrong about coaching. The strategies I was learning allowed me to slowly but surely accomplish my goals.
I was hooked. I knew not only were these goal setting strategies awesome, but I too wanted to become a life coach. Several certifications and years later, I now help my clients go after their goals every day too!
My clients have done some amazing things using these strategies (like pay off a significant amount of debt in a few months, lose the weight that’s plagued them for years and quit their mundane jobs to go over their ideal career).
If you’re ready to set goals you’ll stick to, here are five steps to get you started.
Step 1: Make I Want Goals
It’s important that you get clear on what YOU want. Not what your parents, your friends, your partner, or society wants. What YOU want!
I hear SO many of my clients, friends, and family tell me their goals with a lackluster, half-hearted tone. It boggles my mind! If you’re not passionate about a goal then, why the heck are you setting it!? Take the time to get clear on what’s important to you before you set your goals.
Anytime you hear a SHOULD come up, ditch the goal because “should” is a clue that you’re trying to please someone else. So, anything like, “I SHOULD lose 20 lbs.” or “I SHOULD try to improve my grades” needs to go pronto because the goal likely isn’t that important to you.
Instead, replace your “should” goals with I want goals. We can learn SO much from our natural, innate wants and desires. We always know where we need to go next. The problem is that we often don't listen.
Ask yourself what it is you want RIGHT now in your life. Is it more acceptance? More passion? More stability? Close your eyes and listen to yourself. See what comes up.
Keep in mind your wants may come to you in specific ways too like desiring a new job, going to yoga class or more alone time. Whatever it is, go with it! Those wants are your soul’s way of telling you where to go. Listen.
Step 2: Ditch the resolutions. Instead, make your goals SMART.
Once you have an idea what you want next in life, it’s time to make it a goal!
One quick thing I want to clarify here is that resolutions don’t work. They aren't set up for success. For example, if you say, “I resolve to work out more in the next year.” All you’ve done is taken your want in step 1 and added the word “resolve” and “in the next year” to it. That’s a great start, however, for your goal to be successful, there’s more information that’s needed here.
So, instead of setting a resolution, make a SMART goal. A SMART goal is taking a want/resolution and making it Specific, Measurable, Attractive, Reachable and with a Timetable.
Here’s an example of a great SMART goal, “Within the next year, I want to work-out 30 minutes/day three times a week.” Within that statement, you’ve got a timetable (the next year), and you’ve made it measurable and specific (30 minutes day/ three times a week).
To complete the SMART goal format for this statement though, it must be attractive and reachable too. If the goal-setter decides that the goal is both of those things, they're ready for step 3!
Step 3: Decide How You’ll Think, Act and Feel.
You have to decide who you want to be and then be that person on purpose. I know that sounds silly, but our brains are not wired for happiness. We’re only wired for survival! That means you aren’t going to naturally be the happy, go-getter person you want to be unless you start to get intentional about being it.
Intentions are different from goals in that they focus on who we are in the present moment, rather than on what we want to accomplish at some point in the future. Our intentions are qualities we can tap into at any moment.
After you make your SMART goal, ask yourself, “How do I want to think, act and feel as I work toward accomplishing this goal?” If you’re anything like me, there are days when I can become an anxious mess worrying about if/when I’ll hit my goal.
In those moments, I stop myself and remember the intentions I set out when I started my goal. (Which are usually NOTHING around being an anxious, worrying mess!) Remembering my intentions helps me relax, unwind and realize that the only moment that matters is NOW!
When you’re present focused and intentional, you aren’t hopping from one goal to the next. Instead, you’re committing to showing up and being the person you want to be every day in every moment. When you do, most people find their goals just happen naturally! All those years of struggling and stressing about a goal (or not accomplishing them) start to go away.
Step 4: Identify Your Blocks.
Alright, let me address something that might be going on in your head right now as we talk about goals. It’s a voice I like to call the Inner Mean Girl, and she may be telling you things about you and your goal that aren’t very nice. Things like, “You can’t do this!”, “What makes you think this will work? You’ve failed before.” And my personal favorite, “Who are YOU to think you can do this?”
In the psychology world, our Inner Mean Girl is referred to as the voice of our ego. (I just call her the Inner Mean Girl because that’s what she’s like! It’s a voice that’s always saying you aren’t enough.)
Our Inner Mean Girl is a voice EVERYONE has. She's just part of our DNA! She lives in your unconscious mind whispering things in your ears that you had NO idea she was saying.
A way to hear your Inner Mean Girl voice is to address her directly with this question, “Inner Mean Girl (or whatever you want to call him/her), what do you fear with my goal?” It may take some time for her voice to emerge, but when she does, she’ll give it to you straight about everything she fears about you doing this goal.
Common fears that come up are things like, “You’ll fail.” “You’ll get hurt.” “People don’t like you.” “You’ll just end up ________ instead.” or “It’s scary to do ____.” Do you hear any of those things?
Please note that your fears will be unique to you and your background. No matter what comes up though, just know you can overcome it and step 5 will show you how.
Step 5: Program Your Mind & Life For Success.
Now that you have your wants, your SMART goal, your intentions and have identified your blocks, it’s time to get into action! The first thing to do is program your mind for success.
Your mindset is HUGE when it comes to accomplishing a goal. Since you know what your Inner Mean Girl voice is telling you, you can now combat her. Her secrets are out and open for discussion which means you can converse back with her! (This is where you can take back your power.)
The way to combat her is by programming your mind with positive affirmations. Positive affirmations are positive, present tense, “I am” statements about yourself. Things like, “I am smart. I am beautiful. I am enough” are all great affirmations.
Now, I know these things may feel stupid and silly to say, but they work! There was some point in time when you programmed all those negative things in your mind that told you things like you’re dumb, ugly and not enough. If you’re serious about sticking with your goals, affirmations are the way to help. So, shake those “this is dumb” thoughts and try it out!
Here’s what you do:
First, develop a list of affirmations that directly tie into your blocks. If you heard your Inner Mean Girl tell you that you’re going to fail at your goal, an affirmation to create would be, “I’m going to succeed and reach goal.” If she said you’ll get hurt, an affirmation could be, “I am loved for who I am.”
The important thing with affirmation is to make ones that feel right to YOU! Inner Mean Girl is going to HATE them. She’s going to say they’re stupid, but that’s just her way of holding you back. Tell her you hear her negativity, but move on anyway by making and saying these puppies!
The next step is to then create some affirmations that you feel will help inspire and motivate you toward your goal. For example, I have a money goal right now, so an affirmation I’m saying is, “I am making $____!” (and I say the amount of money I want to make.)
Even though logically I know I’m not there yet, programming this affirmation in my mind allows my unconscious to work for me! I’ve been saying this affirmation for a few months now, and I find that I’m getting closer and closer to my goal simply because I’m unconsciously making choices every day that support this goal. I know I’m creating this natural change because of affirmations.
Now, the last step I want to give you is to have accountability toward your goal.
Did you know that most people hire a life coach simply for accountability? Crazy, huh!? While I'm aware that not everyone wants to or can hire a life coach, there’s a tool you can use that can act as a life coach for you so you can have that accountability you need. It’s called PowerSheets. They’re a goal check-in system to help you make and stick to meanngful goals.
I love the PowerSheets so much that I suggest to all my clients they get some. Even though they’re working with me on their goals, PowerSheets give them the day-to-day accountability when I can’t be there.
I encourage you to check out PowerSheets to see if they’re right for you. You can learn more and order here: www.LindsayEPreston.com/PowerSheets. (Please note that PowerSheets are only available during certain parts of the year and that by using this link to purchase, I may receive a small compensation in return.)
I know sticking with your goals can be tricky, however, with these steps; you’ll be well on your way to creating and achieving your goals with success! #YouGotThis!
Guest Post by Lindsay Preston