Most of them set goals with ease. Reaching goals is more challenging. We reveal how you can do it anyway.
Most people set specific goals that they want to achieve in their lives – some very determined, some more casual. But almost everyone has goals. For some it’s losing weight, for others it’s a career and for others, it’s a family. Many people also have goals in every area of life.
Regardless of which goals you are pursuing, there are many tips out there on how to achieve them. Everyone promises to know the secret with which you can achieve your goals. Whether that is “The Secret”, ie visualization, the SMART method or another formula. Still, most people fail to achieve their goals.
And so, at some point, many people come to terms with something that is actually not what they wanted, but which then seems good enough to them. Or they simply give up and don’t give it a try anymore. So it doesn’t seem to be a problem to set goals. However, it is more likely to achieve the goals. The most important factor here: motivation.
We often give up at some point or accept a compromise because it is too tiring for us or because we are not in the mood right now. And at some point, we are so far behind that it is no longer worth it.
In the end, we come to the conclusion that we have failed. This is usually not true. We didn’t fail, we just didn’t try long enough.
So to be able to achieve your goals, it’s important to stay motivated. This ultimately makes the difference between those who give up and those who keep going. Pure willpower is not enough. It passes surprisingly quickly. So you have to find ways to keep getting motivation from the outside. We reveal how you can do it and how you can achieve your goals.
The right motivation: emotions
Feelings are what most reliably drives us, humans. If we don’t feel like it, we don’t do sports. If we are afraid of something, we avoid it. If we really want something, we do everything for it. The problem with this: feelings evaporate very quickly.
That is why it can happen that we work highly motivated today because we really want something, but tomorrow we will no longer feel like it because our emotional state has changed. Then we’d rather stay on the sofa, buried under a cozy blanket, rather than go to sports.
To be able to achieve goals, they have to be so attractive that they change our feelings. We have to get really excited to do something for this goal. However, because it is impossible to maintain a feeling so permanently, our goals must awaken these feelings again and again.
How do you do it?
Set yourself huge goals! Forget the word “realistic”. Realistic things motivate NO ONE. A small, realistic goal may be easier to achieve, but it won’t give you the motivation you need. A huge goal that would change your life, however, does.
Color your goal vividly. Imagine how much better your life would be if you had already achieved it. Then do everything you can to remind yourself of it every day. Hang up pictures that are symbolic of it. Handicrafts vision board that reminds you or write it down every day.
No matter how you do it, but take a little time to dream every day. These positive feelings are the best motivational coach you can get.
Setting and achieving goals: rough plan
It always means that in order to achieve goals, they have to be measurable and specific. That may be true. Nevertheless: If you hold on to it too much, the planning will degenerate. Suddenly you put all your energy into meticulous planning and you can no longer act. The action is the most important step to achieve your goals. As is well known, nothing comes from anything.
Most people do this because they are afraid of making mistakes. They don’t want to do anything wrong, so they keep themselves informed and try to include every eventuality in their plan. But that doesn’t work. In order to achieve your goals, you need a rough plan that you can work your way along. The details come along on the way to the goal.
You know it from yourself: Usually, things don’t go according to plan. The unforeseen happens, mistakes happen – at the end of the day it is usually somehow good and you learn a lot. It’s just like that in life. Therefore it makes no sense to go crazy planning the subtleties. They will all change ten more times. So you waste your time if you plan too far in advance.
Achieve goals: Remain flexible but unwavering
Another reason to have only a rough plan: If you want to achieve your goals, you have to remain flexible with the subtleties. Your goal remains rigid. You march steadfastly towards it. Only the way there can change. You have to stay flexible with the “how”, but not with the “what”.
An example: Imagine you want to visit friends who have moved to another city. On the way there you get stuck in a traffic jam. Then you get lost once. Then you come to a construction site that blocks your way, so you have to take a detour – you have to find it first because your navigation system has run out (battery empty).
In such a case you might be annoyed, but you would never have the idea of suddenly turning around and driving back home. You would not interpret the construction site as a “sign” that it should simply not be and that you are not “intended” to visit your friends.
You would grit your teeth and find a way. With a little delay, you would then arrive at your friends and enjoy the evening.
This is exactly the attitude you need to achieve your goals. No matter what happens, you stick to your goal and just look for another way.
A mental progress bar
As we mentioned earlier, the most important way to achieve your goals is to act. You have to do something for it. So that you stay in action and do things that bring you closer to your goal, it helps if you have a mental progress bar. It helps even more if you put it on paper.
You don’t have to draw a great mind map. It is actually enough to think about what you can do in the upcoming week to get closer to your goal.
Let’s say you want to lose 20 kg this year. Then you can calculate that you have to lose 1.6 kg per month to achieve this. That makes about 400 g per week. Now think about what you can do next week to lose 400 g. Then write it in your schedule. Schedule it like any other appointment – if you are tempted to cancel this appointment for yourself, jump back to point 1 and get the necessary motivation.
Celebrate partial successes
Another important step in order to stay motivated and thus conjure up a positive emotional state is to celebrate partial successes. If we stick to the weight loss example, it means that you will celebrate it after you have lost 5 kg. It is not yet the 20 kg that is your ultimate goal, but a quarter is already done!
Such success stories are important. They prevent you from becoming frustrated at some point because you cannot reach your goal quickly enough. We enjoy it when we succeed with something. Success leads to more motivation and that, in turn, leads to more success.
Tip: You can celebrate even more partial successes if you don’t set a fixed goal, but a range of goals. Instead of losing 20 kg, you would aim at 15-25 kg. When we get close to our goal, there is an additional motivation boost. Researchers call it the “Goal Gradient Effect”. This would now start at 12 kg instead of 18 kg previously. In this way, you can even achieve more than you originally intended.
Reach goals: Just do it
You have to do something to achieve your goals. Even those who believe in the concept of visualization know that you also have to act there to get what you want from the universe. Constant action is what brings us closer to our goals.
If you want to lose weight, you can go full throttle a week a year and really work out during sports. Apart from sore muscles, that won’t do much good. On the other hand, if you do ten minutes of exercise every day for a year, your body will change.
That is why the absolute most important command to reach its goals: Do simply. Do one thing every day that brings you closer to your goal. Even if it’s just a little thing. In the long run, these small actions sum up to something big. It’s best to ask yourself every morning after getting up: “What can I do today to get closer to my goal?” And then just do it.
Reach goals: Gather supporters
Everyone needs help. We are social beings. Our society works accordingly. So it helps if you are looking for supporters. It doesn’t have to be a convulsive begging for help. It is enough if you tell people what you are going to do. They will try to help you on their own.
When someone tells us about something, we automatically consider what we can think of. Then we may make a recommendation about something that has helped us in a similar situation. Or we clarify a pitfall that we know and which is not recognizable at first glance. Sometimes we refer to someone we know who can help.
But it often helps that someone else knows about our goal. This person can motivate us if we can’t do it ourselves. It can be there for us when we want to let off steam. Another crucial factor is that we have to justify ourselves to these people if we don’t achieve our goal. Sometimes this factor is just that little bit necessary to maintain our motivation.