One step at a time. How to set goals and achieve them effectively?

When comes the New Year, many of us attempt to make some changes in different fields of our lives.  It's almost like there was some kind of magical line that divides the "old" from the "new". This time of year certainly inspires us and gives us plenty of energy. Nonetheless soon we begin to understand that nothing has really changed and life is still as it was in December. Is it because the magic has failed us? No - that's where the reality kicks in. The division between "old" and "new" isn't that clear anymore, we have less and less enthusiasm, and the chances of succeeding gradually decrease. 

Just think about it - how many people you know who begin to brag all about their New Year's resolutions in the middle of December? Maybe you're also creating a long list of plans that you're determined to achieve? We could easily create a list of the most popular resolutions: I'm going to lose some weight, hit the gym every day, take up dancing or yoga classes and I'm definitely gonna wake up at 6:00 AM every morning. Well, here's the bad news - most probably all those resolutions will be forgotten the moment you articulate them in your head. So what should you do to make the "new year - new me" come true?

Step one: set your goals! Step two: work towards them!

That sounds like a cliche, but the truth is hardly anyone keeps more than 50% of his New Year's resolutions, so who are we to judge? :)

This year let's try to set our goals together. So where do we start?


Let's take a look at a model of planning created by Brian Tracy, one of the gurus of organizing and time management. He's gonna show us both how to start and how to go on down the road to success.

Seven rules of setting and achieving your goals

1. Define your goal - try to do that as precisely as possible. Use numbers, visualization, create a wider context. Remember, that your goal should be ambitious, but possible to achieve.

2. Write it down - once you put something on paper, your thoughts become more real. Writing your goal down boosts your motivation and increases your chances of actually succeeding.

3. Set a deadline - every single one of your goals should be limited in time. Brian Tracy says: 'There are no unrealistic goals, there are just unrealistic deadlines.' Pick a date based on your capacities and time resources. If you exceed the deadline - pick another date and do all you can to stick to it this time.

4. Make a list of everything you should do to achieve your goal - sit down and think about all the steps that you'll need to take to succeed. Write down even the smallest things that will bring you one step closer to what you desire.

5. Make an actual plan - now that you've defined your goal, deadline, and the steps you need to take to accomplish it, it's time to make a specific plan. Where do you start? First of all - set your priorities. A precise plan will make your actions more effective and bring you closer to success.

6. Start following your plan immediately - take the first step as soon as possible. You may start with something minor, but even the smallest success will bring you joy and satisfaction - you'll feel unstoppable.

7. Organize your work in a way that'll allow you to proceed every day - try to do something that'll bring you closer to success on regular basis. Create a habit of taking action and self-discipline.

Keep calm

We can set all sorts of goals - related to work, community, family, or personal life. A focus on self-improvement is connected with a desire to create a life for oneself and achieving success. It's a fact that staying focused on personal development increases one's chances to succeed in various areas of life. But remember that just defining your goal won't bring the results you wish for if you won't make an effort and go for it regardless of circumstances.


What results handy along the way is optimism, self-discipline, and support from the people around you. Sure - some days will be bad, you'll feel depressed and unmotivated. Maybe you'll try to resign and get rid of the piece of paper with your plan written down - in a moment like this take a deep breath and... don't do that. Crises and moments of weakness happen once in a while. It's only natural to feel overwhelmed or lose our enthusiasm at times. To avoid giving up try to tick off all the tasks you complete or tell others about what you accomplished. It'll help you see progress. And remember to stay positive - it'll help you overcome the obstacles along the way. 

Practice makes perfect

If setting a goal still seems a bit complicated, let's take a look at a case study. It'll show you step by step, how a process of setting and achieving a goal may look like.

Imagine you've decided to read 30 books this year. Here are 7 rules for setting this goal and succeeding.

1. Define your goal – ’I’ll read 30 books in 2021.’

2. Write it down – you may note it down using a piece of paper or your phone - let's call this checklist "Goals for 2021". In this particular case, you may find helpful a Goodreads app that'll allow you to set your goal and connect with other avid readers.

3. Set a deadline – 31.12.2021r.

4. Make a list of everything you should do to achieve your goal – it may contain: downloading a Goodreads app, creating an account on Audible or Scribd, listing 15 books you want to start with (you'll add more titles along the way), establishing a certain amount of time to read or listen to audiobooks each day.

5. Make an actual plan – let's say that you'll download an app and make a list of books you want to read by the end of January. As for your daily goals, you may decide that you'll read for an hour every day.

6. Start following your plan immediately – let’s get to it! :)

7. Organize your work in a way that'll allow you to proceed every day – read or listen to audiobooks on your way to work, while you’re running, walking the dog, or before going to bed. Adjust the way of achieving your goal to your schedule and try to develop a habit of doing something each day.
 
I do believe that the rules listed above will help you achieve your goal. I believe in what Michael Phelps once said: 'I wouldn’t say anything is impossible. I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and put the work and time into it.'

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