All of us carry certain hopes and dreams for our lives. Sometimes these life goals are at the forefront of our focus (around New Years) and other times our dreams fall into the background of our thoughts. We all have goals, but can we all achieve them? ABSOLUTELY YES!
I’m a firm believer that if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything. Working on a goal shouldn’t be a chore, either. If you’re doing it right, the journey should inspire and invigorate you. I happen to LOVE goal-setting and over the years I’ve got a system going that I want to share with you. Check out these simple guidelines for making your life goals happen!
1. Channel Your Inner Champion
Life is dang hard and we’re all killing it. In our daily lives we’re constantly being thrown curve balls. Whether that curve ball be as trivial as a flat tire or as devastating as a job loss, life sure can throw us for a loop. When this happens, what do we all do? Well, we get through it. We all do. Humans are total champions at marching along through the hardships and throwing those lemons right back at life. And this is exactly the same resilience that we can use to reach our life goals.
I want you to think about your life today and everything you’ve been through to get to where you are. You don’t need to be the CEO of Microsoft to know what hard work is. If you’re on this Earth, you’ve been through your fair share of challenges and you’ve made it through.
Here’s my favourite quote to think about when I’m working on my goals:
“You were strong enough to get this far. You are strong enough to keep going”.
You’ve got up and out the door for a job you’ve hated. You’ve faced someone you were afraid of. You’ve attended the funeral of someone you loved. You’ve been hurt. You’ve fallen down numerous times – and you’ve gotten back up every time.
Know that whatever goals you’re working on, you have already proven that you have the strength to continue. You. Can. Do. This!
2. Break Each Goal Up Into Smaller Goals
Challenges in life are not overcome in one giant leap – but instead require a series of small steps in the right direction. If you look too long at an obstacle ahead of you, it can seem overwhelming and insurmountable. But when you break it up into smaller goals, you’ll realize that you’re getting closer to overcoming your obstacle without even realizing it. So break up those goals!
For each goal, create a list of smaller objectives that lead up to the ultimate goal.
I cannot stress enough about the importance of lists. I. Love. Lists! Write down your goals in a planner, type them into your phone, or stick them on your mirror with Post-its. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but recording these objectives somewhere will help you jumpstart your progress and stop you from forgetting about your goals.
Make sure you break down your goals into smaller, more realistic objectives that you can start today. Here’s an example: I love to run, but when I first started running, I could barely run for 15 minutes without stopping. I had never been good at running (or any sports) in high school so I thought I just wasn’t athletic. Running was hard for me.
So I started setting very small distance goals and each run I pushed myself to run farther. If I was strong enough to run 1k, I could run 2k the next time. If I could run 2k, I bet I could run 3k. I remember writing down a summer goal in my notebook, which was to run 6k without stopping. These little steps added up until this fall, I ran my 5th half marathon (that’s 21k!).
The same principle can work for you. All you have to do is … start!
3. Start…And Don’t Stop!
This one seems self-explanatory and, well, it is. There really is no big secret: every accomplishment starts with that first step!
Once you’ve broken down your goal into smaller objectives, you’re ready to tackle the list. Don’t feel bad if you’re stuck on this step – starting is truly the hardest part! But once you take that first step, there’s nothing stopping you but time. If you put one foot ahead of the other and keep going, you’ll overcome any challenge. Just keep going! I’m totally convinced that anything is possible if you stick at it.
Life is like marathon training, you don’t wake up and suddenly find success.
You get there slowly. Just like you don’t decide to run 21 or 42 kilometres overnight (it won’t work, I promise!). Running a race like that requires repeated training sessions, while you build up your mind and muscles to be stronger than they’ve had to be so far.
In university, I took a psychology course where we learned about “deep practice” and the theory that you can become an expert at just about anything if you put in the hours. This kind of thinking pushes me towards my goals, when life seems to make it tougher. (If you’re interested, the book The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle explores these ideas and summarizes the current research really well).
So you see, you got it in you! You’ve just got to get up every day and keep working.
If there’s anything you’ve ever wanted to do, whether it be start your own blog, film a movie, write a novel or climb Mount Everest – set your sights on that dream and don’t give up.
If you don’t think you can do it – I’m telling you, you can. And one thing is for sure, if you don’t try you won’t get there.
Because like I said, you can’t train for a marathon overnight. But, put in the work and put your whole heart into it, and you’ll get there. I hope my enthusiasm is contagious. Start small, but take that first step towards beating your goals – right NOW!
What will your first step be?