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Last updated March 10, 2017

Some people are born ‘goal setters’. They have daily, weekly and monthly targets, all focussed towards a big picture result. They schedule, plan, measure and track, and as a result, they usually get where they want to go. To these people, goal setting is like breathing – it’s just something you do to get through life.

And then there are the rest of us. The ones who set some goals, make some plans and track some progress. We know the importance of setting goals and we usually start with great gusto to achieve them. However, somewhere down the track the passion fades and our once resolute determination gets watered down by day-to-day activities and excuses.

If this sounds like you, check out these five good ideas for setting and achieving your goals this year.

1. Think Small
We’re often told to set big, audacious goals that inspire us to stay focused and moving forward, but at our Tonic Conference a few years back, Cath Vincent shared with us the value of making micro-changes for long term stick-ability. I’ve been trying that lately and it really works.

Instead of focussing on the long term goal of running a marathon, set small daily goals that gradually build on each other. Your goal on Day 1 may be to simply find your running shoes and put them by the back door. Your goal on Day 2 may be to put your shoes on and walk to the mailbox. Day 3 walk to the lamp post, and so on and so forth.

By setting and achieving small goals every day, you build a habit that is etched in your brain. Before you know it your big, audacious goal isn’t big or audacious at all.

2. Manage Your Energy
One of the biggest reasons people give for not reaching their goals is that they ‘didn’t have time’. They didn’t have time to prepare or practice. They were too busy at work to focus on their personal goals, or too busy at home to focus on their professional ones. Somehow their time was taken up doing everything other than working on their goals.

One of the best tips I’ve learned about time management is from Robyn Pearce, aka The Time Queen. Robyn suggests that it’s not our time we have to manage, but rather it’s our energy levels. We need to accept that we have productive times of the day and unproductive times of the day – and we can use both of them to our advantage.

If you’re feeling tired and flat, there is no point staring blankly at your computer screen and trying hard to meet a deadline. You’ll be working slower than usual and producing less-than-awesome results. You’re better off to leave your desk and do something different for 10 minutes or so, and that’s the perfect opportunity to work on one of your goals.

If you want to lose weight, use those 10 minutes to go for a walk. If you want to learn a new skill, use those 10 minutes to practice. If you want to build better relationships, use those 10 minutes to make a phone call. It doesn’t matter what it is, if you learn to notice your changes in energy, you can quickly change focus to re-energise and make the most of every minute.

3. Stop Worrying about ‘Last Time’
If you’re anything like me you will have a list of things you have tried (and failed) to achieve in the past. In fact, there are many things I have tried and failed at several times over. Can anyone say yo-yo diet?

Unfortunately when we focus on all the times we haven’t made it, it’s easy to believe that this time will be exactly the same. We often fail to give 100% effort because we reason that our resolution isn’t going to last anyway. Is it any wonder that with less than 100% effort we fail again?

As you set out to achieve your goals this year, stop worrying about what happened ‘last time’. Having confidence in your ability to take consistent action and make lasting changes is an essential first step towards any goal.

4. Turn Off the Television or Netflix or Social Media
Seriously. I’m not suggesting that screens should be banned from every house in order for people to reach their goals, but I am suggesting that you become consciously aware of how much time is spent in front of a device.

If all you watch on television is the evening news and one other show, you’re still spending approximately 14 hours every week watching television. Imagine how many steps you could take towards your goal in 14 hours per week! Instead of habitually blobbing in front of a screen, try using it as a reward for baby goals met.

5. Tell Someone
Finding a ‘goal buddy’ is a good way to stay motivated and accountable. You don’t have to announce your goals on Facebook or send an email to everyone you know, but it is a good idea to tell at least one person what you want to achieve.

Once you’ve found a partner, set some daily tasks and ask them to check in with you every day to see how you’ve done. Remember, achieving your goals requires small measurable actions on a consistent basis. Focus on the actions you need to take, not just the result you want to achieve.

Kerri Tilby-Price
Kerri is a Facilitator / Trainer with Exult and has over 20 years experience working in and for the community sector.

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