We’ve all been there. Every year it’s the same ol’ story. We “start over” in December, January, September or today! There is that oh-I-am-actually-working-towards-my-goal time frame and then poof, and your zeal is gone, progress is forgotten, goals are transferred into “resolutions” or that “some day” list. How can I do it differently so I can get where I want? Is there some kind of a special trick or a magical fix when it comes to actually achieving your goals? No, not really. It’s hard work, big changes and a whole lot of happiness that comes as a result and a big lovely bonus. Here are 7 steps on how to stick to your goals in the new year. If one of your goals is to have the prettiest planner in town, you might want to ‘stick to the end’. There’s a very special giveaway that will make you fall in love and improve your life thousandfold.
When Dear Diary team kindly sent me this stunner aka Dear Diary 2017 Planner in Black*, I was beyond excited. The simple, yet sleek and chic design made me fall in love from the very first second I saw it. When you pick up the planner, there’s always that risk of filling out a few pages with your to-do’s, playing with a few sticky notes and washi tapes and forgetting about its existence in a less than a week. It’s so not the case with Dear Diary planners. How do I put it gently? You won’t be ABLE to put it down. Not even for a day. It comes with all the necessary must-have features such as yearly, monthly and weekly spreads, perfectly laid out space for your lists, goals and tracking. There are pages specially made to treasure your highlights, lessons, memories and so much more. Inspirational quotes throughout the whole planner speak volumes and would easily gives you that daily dose of motivation/inspo. One of my personal favourite parts of this beautiful planner is pages with projects, such as Happiness Bank or Letter To Yourself. First pages will tell you the story how it all came together. You are then introduced to the most amazing team of incredible and inspiring women Baiba, Zane and Kat who put colossal work into Dear Diary in order to help you to become more organized, achieve your goals and have “an inspired 2017”.
How to Stick to Your Goals
Some say “dream BIG” while others tell you that success lies in smaller and detailed goals. My personal take on it, based on my experience, is that it’s all relative. What you need to do is to turn off all distractions, sit down and think what it is that you REALLY want to achieve. It all depends on your own ambitions plus how realistic those aims are. For example, you are a blogger and you want to have 50k social media followers by the end of 2017 while you’re currently at 1k. Yes, it might sound big and some people might tell you that you’re a dreamer. Even though it is huge, it’s doable! You might have the means or a clear strategy HOW you’re going to work towards it. Or there actually might be that lucky “viral” moment which, let’s face it, part luck (aka being in the right place at the right time), part your hard work. So you do you and dream as big as you’d let yourself.
Very often we end up limiting our own abilities because we forget how to dream. If you have a goal, which you’re very passionate about, and a game plan broken down into baby steps, you will make it to the top. I am always quite realistic as to the way I set my goals but then again, time after time I was proven wrong and saw that the impossible things become very much possible once you believe (and work extremely hard!). This might be a bit of a tacky quote but it makes perfect sense – “if you really want it, you will find a way, and if you don’t, you will find an excuse”.
Our decisions are extremely powerful. We make choices ALL THE TIME.What car should I buy? What phone company should I sign the contract with? What cereal do I want for breakfast? From important to insignificant, all these choices take us down the road which determines our future. I love this amazing reminder in a Dear Diary planner how “the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life”. Sometimes all it takes is just that one baby step. In the right direction. Down the route which you are “supposed” to take.
So don’t worry if you start small. The key element here is the start. Then you can map out those micro-steps that will help you get to the big goal. If you’re looking for a career change, a goal called ‘change career’ might sound a bit too gigantic/vague and put you into “Where do I even start” or “I can’t do it” kind of thinking. Imagine you’re moving house. Having done it twice in the last 2 years, I can definitely confirm it’s not done by writing down ‘move house’ as your goal and leave it at that. Maaaaany micro-steps follow. Sometimes it may even result in 10+ to-do lists. But it’s ultimately taking you in the right direction – towards your big goal.
Step by step, you will get there.
It’s a piece of cake to write down ‘lose 15lbs’. It’s a whole different story to DO it. Especially when there’s no realistic “due date”, accountability or daily dedication to it. Sometimes giving yourself a bit of a deadline with some goals really pushes (read: motivates) us to achieve them. Remember to be sensible and kind to yourself as well. Also, “cheat days” are OK. You don’t have to go into a full superhuman-like mode. Enjoying life while conquering that personal Everest of yours is vital. That “summit” is closer than you think when you have a strong support system.
If your will power doesn’t need to be supervised, you’re all set. However, if you’re struggling with sticking to something or monitoring your own progress (and regress), you need to be accountable to someone. It could be anyone from your parent, your friend, you boss, your better half or your coach. When you involve others into your plans (if it’s appropriate and if you’re happy to do so), you are more likely to succeed. There’s one condition though – they have to believe in you (sometimes more than you do). Another major helper in this is consistency. It doesn’t just get that goal into your vicinity but helps you develop new good habits. And those guys are powerful.
Did you know that about 40% of everything we do is done on autopilot. Those are the “automatic reactions” we don’t put much thought into. It all starts from the basics such as breathing. Surely, you don’t THINK how to breathe in or out. You just do it. Your body knows how to do it. When you’re super thirsty, you don’t reach out for a cookie, you know you need liquid. Enter the habits. People often underestimate the power of habits and how much influence they bring into our everyday life. As as result, “bad” habits can easily hinder us from achieving things. Have you ever had to transfer the same goal into every coming year? Is there something you’d love to do but then you have just never been able to? No motivation. No will power. Zeal that comes and goes. Habits that stand in the way.
Here’s that “aha moment”.
Our habits is our reaction which is triggered by something. Let’s say you are currently enjoying a cup of tea with unlimited number of cookies, sweets and what-not every evening in front of the TV. Your goal is to ‘lose 15lbs’. You skip your usual “evening ritual” once. Then you struggle but you still don’t touch a single cookie the second time. On the third night you go “Oh heck, I deserve this, I’ve had a tough day, plus I love my biscuits!” The trigger is very simple in this case. It’s evening time, you’re sat in front of the TV watching your favourite show and you need your munchies. You stop thinking and just go back to what you’re used to. That’s why the key to breaking a bad habit is to find the trigger, stop that “automated rut” and replace the “bad” with the “good”.
It’s perfectly normal to give yourself a chance to enjoy a little treat here and there but it has to be thought out which is the opposite of opening a pack of Pringles and stopping to eat when there’s zero chips left. Invest effort, time and dedication. The phrase “my personal Everest” won’t exist in your books any more.
There are gazillions of things you can do in order to stick to your goals and “push” yourself towards them. But sometimes you just have to let the outside elements give you that extra boost you need. Inspiration is a big one. I have mentioned it before that I don’t believe in constant motivation. It’s simply impossible. If you want to do something, don’t wait for motivation to come. Just start doing it.
Even if it begins with some muse searching.
Get advice from videos, books and those who have succeeded in what you’re trying to achieve. Look at inspirational pictures if you’re a visual person. Design your own visual board / action plan. Set challenges for yourself. Get that spark burning and get yourself into a fireball mode. Another element of that “external positivity” is rewards. Rewards are very individual. You will need to think of something special to “treat” yourself to when you accomplish those steps going up the imaginary ladder. Your goal is sitting at the top waiting for you. Last but not least, surround yourself with positive and supportive people who truly want you to succeed. I mentioned in my How To Overcome Fear Of Missing Out post that jealousy and comparison are the biggest thieves of joy. Just the fact that someone is happy doesn’t mean they took it away from you.
Happiness and positive thinking doesn’t exist in “limited quantities”. That’s why, stay positive and keep like-minded people in your closest company. Life’s too short to spend it hanging out with those who make you miserable or discourage you from following your faith, values, goals and dreams.
There is a fact that never fails. It’s always true and it’s not up for discussion. Planning rocks! 🙂 Yes, it might be a bit of a joke but at the end of the day the things we write down are more likely to come true. 100 brownie points if you’re using a beautifully designed planner (like Dear Diary – I am heart eyes emoji, don’t judge). About 5 years ago I discovered a website called Day Zero where you can make lists of things you want to do and goals you want to achieve. I sat down, glued to my computer screen, and made a thorough list of 101 things I wanted to accomplish in the next 1001 days. Guess how many things I actually did on that list? Maybe a few. Why? Well, first of all, I looked at it only when I remembered to (which probably was once a year?). Secondly, I didn’t have a strategy, a plan and not even a little to-do list connected with any of those goals.
Things changed 180 degrees when I started planning properly. Write down your goals in a place where you have daily access to them. Create to-do’s with baby steps towards those goals. Track your habits and changes. Looking back at where you started and comparing to where you are now is an extremely effective and powerful tool. There’s one massive thing a planner does for you which sums up everything I talked about in this post – it makes your life more organized. There’s never a forgotten birthday or a missed deadline. There are no awkward situations or unmet expectations.
When you’re organised, you’re reliable.
When you’re reliable, you’re successful.
When you’re successful, you’re able not just to put the tick next to the things YOU achieved but help others make their dreams come true.
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How To Stick To Your Goals
This is not a sponsored post.
Dear Diary planner was kindly given to me more as a beautiful gift, not a PR sample.
It was my own decision (and desire) to share this post with you.
DD team has been an absolute delight to work with and
I couldn’t recommend Dear Diary enough to everyone who loves planning in style.
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and let me know what you do to stick to your goals.
What advice did you enjoy the most?
What would you like to achieve this year?