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How to Stick to Your Goals

Great at making goals, but find that you never stick to them? Thinking about changes you want to make to your life can be exciting, but seeing them through it another thing. If that’s you then I’ve got some great ideas to help you succeed with your goals over the coming months.

I have been reading several books by Michael Hyatt recently, after hearing him and his daughter being interviewed by Paula Pant on the Afford Anything podcast . His company supports business people to make significant changes in their lives and as usual one of the tools is to make and stick to your goals. Michael Hyatt suggests not only writing down those goals, but writing down why you want to achieve the goals that you have set. This got me thinking and so in this post I am going to explore that concept further.

close up photo of cigarette
A diagnosis can give you a powerful why to quit smoking after failing to do so for many years
Uncovering Your Why

I think that not following through on our goals is probably more likely than actually sticking to them. Why is that? My theory is that when you have a strong why it is easier to stick to your goals. Individuals can make significant changes overnight if they have enough motivation. Someone who has smoked 40 a day for their entire adult life gives up overnight after a diagnosis of lung cancer. They may have tried to quit many times before, but they never had the right motivation. The key therefore is to explore your motivation.

When you are next setting goals don’t just write out a list of your goals, but go further and ask yourself why you want to achieve each individual goal. That may take some time to actually determine and you might have to peel away several layers before you actually discover your true why. Let’s look at an example.

Perhaps you want to get fit. Why do you want to get fit? Is it because that’s what you think you should do? We rarely stick to things that others tell us that we need to do. Maybe it’s because you think that you’ll feel better. The trouble is that initially you won’t feel better, you’ll feel worse as it will be hard. Why do you want to feel better? Perhaps it’s that you actually want to feel stronger and not be out of breath when playing with your grandchildren.

Exploring a little deeper that bit about grandchildren maybe you want to be a different type of grandparent. Perhaps when you were young your grandparents never played with you and just sat and watched as they weren’t fit enough to join in that game of football you were playing. Might you want to give your grandchildren a different experience? That might be better motivation than just feeling better. This exercise involves asking yourself why several times until you get down to the one that gives you that knot in your stomach.

goal lettering text on black background
Write out your goals and why you want to achieve each goal
Keeping it in View

Once you’ve uncovered your true motivation then write that out under your goal. Perhaps a visual motivation might help you to stick to your goals as well. Such as in the example above you could put a photograph of your grandchildren.

As you go through this exercise it will hopefully not only help you to determine your true why for each of your goals, but also identify goals where you don’t actually have a why. If that’s the case what’s the likelihood that you’re going to stick to them. It may be better to forget those for the moment as you’re unlikely to be successful in achieving them.

unrecognizable person with umbrella on beach
Some days you won’t want to step out of the door
Brainstorm Roadblocks

After you’ve determined what your true why is for each goal that you’re setting now think about the roadblocks that you’re going to encounter. It’s not going to be plain sailing and you’re going to encounter resistance along the way. If you’re going to go for a walk every day what are you going to do if it’s tipping down with rain and you don’t feel like going?

I’ve bought myself a great waxed hat to keep my hair and glasses dry. I put that on, plug in my headphones with a great podcast to listen to and set out. You might be able to think of a route where there are lots of trees so you wouldn’t get too wet. When I used to jog I invested in a treadmill so that on wet days I could jog in the house watching a Youtube video. Now I’m not suggesting spending a lot of money to support each and every goal, but just brainstorm the difficulties you see cropping up and come up with strategies to address them. You can then list your strategies out as well to refer to in the future.

arranged mobile phone with gadgets
We’d all love our trackers to show uninterrupted progress, but that’s not real life
Falling Off the Wagon

We all have lapses. Days when we don’t do what we said that we are going to do, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. Missed the mark yesterday and didn’t manage to get out of bed to go for your walk? That doesn’t mean you have to give up. Tomorrow can be a fresh start. Another opportunity to try. If everyone gave up the first time they missed the mark then few people would ever achieve anything. You can’t go back to the beginning. You can’t look at all those marks on your habit tracker and see that you never missed a day, but you can refuse to let a few blips signify the end of the road. Just try again tomorrow.

Good luck!



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