This is a question I hear quite often. Goals can be easy to determine, but it’s the follow through and execution that can be the sticky parts. We need clear steps to guide us, so I like to think of goal setting as a two part process, or equation:
Consistency + Accountability = Reaching Goals
I’ll speak to consistency first. Whether you are looking to lose ten pounds, seeking self-love, or wanting to change a thought pattern, consistency is essential in reaching your goals. Let’s say you want to learn to run and eventually complete a 10km race. This will likely require starting with a couple runs per week that include walk/run intervals. Each week thereafter, you would layer on additional running time until you can eventually run the desired distance. It is a clear, strategic process, and with small consistent steps, each increase in running time becomes easier and inevitably gets you closer to running the full 10km. Consistency over time allows us to shift the new behavior into an automatic, natural behavior.
While consistency is a key factor, so is accountability. It is my belief that having a coach or mentor that we consistently check in with will result in change (there’s that consistent tool again). Having the right accountability partner means that our actions are intentional and goal driven. When we hire a coach, we are already making a commitment to ourselves, which is a solid first step. If we align with, and admire that coach, it makes the accountability factor that much more effective. I get this may sound a little biased because I am a coach, but I know just how much being accountable to my own coach has helped me get numerous goals across the finish line.
While consistency and accountability are key parts in the equation, there is another tidbit that can help us when we are chasing dreams. Setting a goal means change, and with change, can come resistance and self-sabotaging, or “rolling” with our old ways. I find that small, specific rules along the way can help prevent this. These rules speak specifically to where we tend to fall when trying to achieve our goals; they speak specifically to you and your habits of behavior. For example, if you know you are a late night chip eater and have the goal to lose a few pounds, you will write down a rule that may sound something like this: For the next two weeks, I will allow myself to have five late night snacks per week (as opposed to seven). If your goal is self-love and you lie in bed at night beating yourself up, you may write down a rule something like this: For the next thirty days, three nights per week, I will write down one thing I did well that day and one thing I appreciate about myself.
As you can see, these are small steps, and there is a reason for this. Small steps allow us to acclimatize to the change. Small steps also set a solid foundation for future steps. Last but not least, having success within the small steps encourages us to continue on, because we will see progress. Oh, and don’t forget to celebrate the successes along the way… relish in the wins! The pursuit of chasing your next goals will be that much more enjoyable if you really let yourself feel the happy vibes and celebrate your wins, because you will know how damn good it feels to knock it out of the park.