You may be great at setting intentions and have all sorts of goals for yourself. But that still leaves you with the question of how to hold yourself accountable for achieving them. It’s easy to get too busy and let your goals slide and then feel bad about yourself. But how do you drop the guilt and just get stuff done? I hear this a lot. The type of people who hire life coaches tend to be a bit hard on themselves and tend to have a lot of goals. Yes, you could lower your expectations, but I know that’s not what you want to hear.
Here are five tips for getting your shit done:
Begin with the feeling of success
Before you set a goal, take a minute to feel what it would like to achieve it. Does it feel good, or do you really not care? This is a good way to tell whether it’s something you really want to do or something you think you should do. Why not start with your heart’s goals?
Very often we realize that what we want is the feeling state of achieving the goal, not necessarily the goal itself. Yes, we want to lose weight, but maybe the real goal is feeling like we have self-control or that we feel good about ourselves.
Keep the feeling alive
Make some time during your week to check in with your goals from the positive perspective of reconnecting with the feeling of having achieved them. Usually we only check in on our goals at the end of the week and chastise ourselves if we’ve fallen short. Or, we think of them as items on a list instead of connecting emotionally with them. Keep the good feeling going.
Not only does this make it more likely that you will stay on track, but the good feelings are also a reward for your efforts. Why not enlist the benefits of positive feedback? In addition, staying in the present with your feelings will keep you from slipping into judgement mode and analyzing your progress to the point that you feel like crap.
Break it down
Don’t make a goal without understanding the scope of your goal and how you’re going to achieve it. Don’t make a goal without understanding how to break it down in terms of goals for the month, week, and day. Know how to implement something before you tie yourself to something that’s well intentioned but ultimately vague.
Goal setting in itself is kind of an art. Your goals should be SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Having a strategy around your goal in itself makes it more likely you’ll achieve it.
Once you’ve set your goal, decide what this is going to reasonably look like daily or weekly. Figure out how much is enough. If your goal is to be physically fit, is it enough for each day to just spend 15 minutes moving? 10? Are you really a failure because you didn’t do a one hour workout program every day?
It’s ok if your goals take you longer to achieve than you’d like, or if you nee to rewrite your time frame to accommodate for real life or unexpected distractions. This is where connecting to the feelings behind your goals is important. If your goal is to lose weight, you don’t need to have to lose a pound a week consistently in order to feel good about yourself. Maybe you can feel good because you showed up on the mat even though you only had ten minutes, or because you took the stairs instead of the elevator.
Sweeten the deal
We think because we’re grownups we shouldn’t need rewards or encouragement. Sometimes making something just a little bit better dramatically changes how much we’re really willing to do it. Don’t really like sitting down with your planner at the beginning of the month? Why not make it a date at Starbucks? Look through your To-Do list and see if there’s any item there you could make yourself more willing to do by modifying it a little bit. Why not?
Rewarding yourself can make the process of habit formation quicker and easier. Often it’s those first steps in working towards a goal that can be the hardest. Make it easier for yourself!