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By EMILY MAST 738 views

How to Set Goals you’ll Actually Stick to

We all strive to set goals in our personal and professional lives. Yet, most of the time, we end up falling short. Let’s look at how you can create some change you can actually stick to.

Focus on the Present

It’s much easier to achieve a goal when you shift your focus to the present, rather than the future.

For example, say you’re trying to work up the motivation to go for a run on a cold morning. Many people are focused on long-term goals, like, “I should run because I want to lose fifteen pounds.” or “I should run because I want to define my abs.” Neither of these things is going to happen in the next hour, and focusing on them can actually leave you feeling more defeated than inspired.

Instead, replace these thoughts with things you can realistically accomplish in the short term. “I want to run so I can feel my body moving.” “I want to run so I can experience the calmness of the empty park.”

By getting “quick wins,” you’ll be able to more consistently work towards your long-term goal.

Incorporate Connection

We tend to isolate ourselves when it comes to our goals. If other people don’t know my goals, no one will judge me if I don’t meet them. Realistically, though, connection and collaboration are powerful motivators in accomplishing your goals.

Maybe you want to learn another language. Instead of trying to tackle this alone, see if any of your friends also are aspiring to do this. If you find someone (or a few people), you can make a point to meet (or do a Zoom call) once a week to go over your progress. You can even all download the same app and compare what achievements you got that week or what level you’re on.

Overall, your focus will shift to having fun, rather than learning a language. You can look forward to the connection even more than the activity.

Break Your Goal into Manageable Pieces

Many people don’t realize how they’re overwhelming themselves with their goals.

For big goals, it’s easier to take things one step at a time. Say your goal is to go an entire year without drinking. These may seem like an overwhelming task, so you take it in small chunks.

First, you clean out all the alcohol in your house. Then you can start checking out different non 12-step addiction treatment programs, to see if you think one is right for you.  Then you can confide in a friend and ask for their support.

By doing one step at a time, your energy is moving in the right direction and helping you achieve your goal.

For another actionable example, think of when you have to clean your house. Sure, you could make a list of every little thing you need to clean. But quickly you’ll notice how long — and overwhelming — that list looks. Instead, you can jump up and vacuum the living room. When you’re done, you’ll be more energetically inclined to clean the stove or dust the blinds.

Setting lofty goals for ourselves can be daunting, but ultimately they lead us to grow professionally, personally, and emotionally. By following the above tips, hopefully, you’ll feel inspired to dream big and go after what you want in your life.

Emily Mast

Emily is a writer and ghostwriter who specializes in mental health and wellness.