Proven Tips for Reaching Goals
My 8 year old daughter loves to make me pictures and cards. I was surprised one evening to find a card with the following written on it: “Through life we can change, change what we do. We can change, and be better.” I asked her where she had read that. She told me that she had come up with the quote herself. Turns out that an 8 year old can be intuitive and understand what many of us forget.; that change is not something to be feared, but something to embrace. When we use the opportunity of change to progress this can bring us great fulfillment in life. In order to progress, goals must be set. As elementary or simplistic as this sounds, goal setting can transform your life. Setting a goal lets your mind know that you are ready to make some changes. Goal setting without a strategy however is nothing more than a wish list. Here are some tips to improve your strategy and reach your goals.
Acknowledge your present situation
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”-Buddha
To get from point A to point B you not only need to know where point B is, but also know where you’re starting from. Honestly acknowledging where you are now is not a time for guilt, but a time for self-reflection. Mistakes belong in the past and past performance does not always determine future performance. Knowing where you are starting from is also a great way to measure your progress.
“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”-Frank A. Clark
Ah, the roadblock. So obnoxiously placed in the way of your goal. Doesn’t it seem like the minute you set a goal, a roadblock appears? If you can train yourself to anticipate the roadblock, you will feel less stress when it arrives. This does not mean to think about all the possibilities of what can go wrong. That will only create fear induced stagnation in accomplishing your goal. What it does mean is understanding that there will be obstacles with any change and instead of seeing it as an obstacle in the way of your goal, see it as an indication that you are making progress. All progress comes with change and some kind of sacrifice.
Failure is an education
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”-Henry Ford
So many people are scared of failure. They view failure as a blemish to their identity. Failure is actually an opportunity to grow and to learn. No one is exempt, no matter how it appears from the outside. We all have to fail to succeed. Think of the time when you were a kid and you first tried to ride a bike. You didn’t get on it and automatically know how to do it. It took some failure first to succeed. Those failures gave you lessons on what worked and what didn’t until you mastered how to ride a bike. Over the course of your goal, you may fail, but welcome it as an education. What worked? What didn’t? Use this education to change your strategy to reach your goal.
Review your goals often
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”-Abraham Lincoln
As the saying goes, out of sight,out of mind. This is true for your goals. If you write your goal down and don’t look at it for months what is the likelyhood you will reach it? Write your goal down and look at it as often as possible. While this may seem like a simple task, reviewing your goals daily or weekly will keep it at the forefront of your mind and your brain will use this opportunity to find ways to accomplish your goals.
Understand the science behind change
“ Your brain-every brain-is a work in progress. It is ‘plastic.’ From the day we’re born to the day we die, it continuously revises and remodels, improving or slowly declining, as a function of how we use it.”-Michael Merzenich
It was once believed that when we reach adulthood, we were stuck – with an inability to fundamentally change who we are. Over the past several years, this notion has been scientifically proven to be false. One of the brain’s main characteristics is plasticity. This doesn’t mean our brains are made of plastic. Plasticity refers to the fact that the brain continuously changes throughout the course of our entire life. This means personalities are not static – there is no such thing as “he or she can’t change” – our brains and minds evolve each and every day; for better or worse dependant of the focus that sustains our attention. As we educate ourselves about this truth we can realize that nothing is beyond our ability to learn, change or grow. If you are interested in learning more about this subject, read the following blog post:
Enjoy the journey
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”-Ernest Hemingway
Lasting happiness and fulfillment doesn’t come from reaching our goals, rather, it’s who we become as a result of the journey. For example, if your goal is to lose weight and you reach your goal of course this will be cause for excitement and celebration. However what were the steps you took to reach this goal? Perhaps it was learning new healthy eating habits or overcoming fear and anxiety and stepping into a gym and trying new exercises. Whatever steps were taken to reach the goal, a matter of stretching beyond your past limitations and growing was necessary. For this reason, enjoy the journey, not just the destination.