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5 tips to actually reach your goals

It’s February and some of us may be feeling like January has come and gone, and with it went our big goals for 2022. Maybe we haven’t even started working toward those goals because we had too much going on last month. Maybe we were really good for a week and then fell off the wagon.

I like to spend time each month reflecting on how I am doing when it comes to reaching my goals. I pull out my journal from January and really check in on how I’m making progress (or not) toward the things I set out to accomplish this year.

If you’re nowhere near where you thought you could be or you haven’t even started tackling that goal, then this post will help you reframe your plan (not your goal).

Here are 5 tips to help you actually reach that goal.

1. ꜱᴛᴏᴘ ᴜꜱɪɴɢ “ꜱᴏᴍᴇᴅᴀʏ”

When we say we’ll do it “someday” we will likely NEVER do it. If you are serious about something and want to make it a priority in your life (i.e. exercise 4 x/week, or don’t bring schoolwork home on weekends) then you have to actually schedule action steps into your calendar. (Pencil in those workout times, or extra pockets of time in your workday for planning and prep so you don’t need to spend the time on the weekend).

If you have a big goal (such as taking a dream trip), then make a plan for it! Write it in your calendar and start saving and planning. It may be a few years away, but you are far more likely to take that trip (and probably many others!) if you actually start planning for it.

2. ᴛᴀᴋᴇ ꜱᴍᴀʟʟ ꜱᴛᴇᴘꜱ

One common mistake people make when tackling a goal is to go all-in right off the bat. (It’s January 1 so that means no more sweets forever! By January 3 you’ve caved because you’re going through sugar withdrawal.)

I can’t stress the importance of small and consistent action enough.

When we take small and consistent steps, we are much more likely to stay on track with a goal and not be overwhelmed. And guess what happens when you take a lot of consistent, small steps? Yup! You’ve walked a marathon! And you’ve accomplished your big, amazing goal.

3. ᴅᴏɴ’ᴛ ᴡᴀɪᴛ ᴜɴᴛɪʟ ʏᴏᴜ ꜰᴇᴇʟ ʀᴇᴀᴅʏ

Let’s face it, we never feel ready to do something outside of our comfort zone (and that’s where all those awesome goals lie - just outside of your comfort zone.) When you take action before you’re ready, it doesn’t take very long for your emotions and feelings of readiness to catch up.

You likely won’t get a jolt of inspiration “one day” to start heading to the gym every day or magically save the exact amount of money you need for that dream trip (“Oh hey! Surprise! We can go to Bora Bora now!”). So start now. Before you feel “ready”. Because you may never be.

4. ʙᴇ ᴘʀᴇᴘᴀʀᴇᴅ ꜰᴏʀ ᴛᴏᴜɢʜ ᴛɪᴍᴇꜱ

Life happens. We get knocked off course. S*&t hits the fan. The path to our goal is not going to be completely smooth and straight. Expect tough times and prepare for them. When we understand that our journey is going to be full of ups AND downs, then we are better prepared to deal with the downs.

It’s easy to beat ourselves up about getting off track when we expect ourselves to march on down the path without missing a beat. But when we understand that life happens and our paths may take us on a few wrong turns, we are better able to switch gears and get back onto our path because we don’t have an “all or nothing” attitude. We have a realistic attitude and we give ourselves grace when we take that wrong turn.

5. ꜱᴛɪᴄᴋ ᴡɪᴛʜ ɪᴛ

Reaching our goals takes time. Depending on your goal it may be a lifestyle change you’re making, or something that takes years (like starting a business). Understanding that working toward our goal is a process helps us stick with it. We won’t see changes overnight, so try not to get frustrated when you don’t see the changes you’d like as quickly as you’d like to see them.

Building that momentum takes time and the longest and hardest part of working toward your goal is always the beginning. So stick with it, and change will inevitably come.

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