Call it whatever you want: Goals, Resolutions, Objectives, Achievements. The whole meaning behind it remains the same, you want to achieve something or improve an aspect in your life and in order to do so you need desire and discipline.
Every year I plan on setting myself goals to achieve throughout the year. Starting something the first year is an initiation, but by setting objectives and achieving them, I end up picking them up as a habits.
Very simply put, setting goals allows me to actually achieve objectives that I have in mind. I have rarely achieved a goal by simply thinking about it, but writing them down helped me achieve a lot in 2016. I prepared myself a goal list for 2017, so might as well write about how I plan to achieve it!
Step one: The Goal List
Based on my own experience, to set a proper goal list you have to be as specific as possible. The more vague a goal is the less chance you will achieve that goal because there will not be any form of measurement to track down your progress. Here is an example of a vague goal list vs. a more specific one.
- Maintain the blog.
- Become more productive.
- Learn Photography.
- Maintain my blog by publishing at least one article per week every Saturday.
- Increase my productivity by writing a daily to-do list the night before.
- Travel to a foreign country between May & June (Preferably Thailand).
- Learn the basics of Photography by learning the function of different lenses, what makes a shot nice and professional and how to take one. By the end of the year, use only pictures taken from me in the blog.
Step Two: How I Plan To Achieve Them
Writing down goals is fun and all, but it is only the first step, achieving them is where it gets harder. The more a goal is out of your comfort zone, the more willpower you will need to achieve it.
Personally, writing down my goals allows me to recall them anytime it gets hard. For example, if one of my goals was to wake up at 5 AM from Monday to Friday I have the choice of either snoozing or getting up. Now my bodies natural response will be to hit the snooze button, however because I wrote down my goal it makes me realise that I have to fight through this automatic response in order to achieve my goal!
Step Three: Anticipating Difficulties In Advance
The last part is fairly simple but helps a lot. Visualizing and predicting difficulties will help you be more aware of them when they come up and will allow to find solutions in advance to counter them.
Going back to the previous example. If I am trying to get up at 5am on weekdays, but I am used to sleeping at 2 AM and waking up at 10 AM then I know that I might not be able to start doing my goal instantly. I can break down these barriers by being a bit creative. So if I want to wake up at 5 AM I can set steps to counter these obstacles. Think about it like a strategy, in order to win this war against yourself you have to be several steps ahead of your enemy (which is yourself in that case).
Steps to achieve this goal:
- Start by going to setting my alarm at 9 AM instead of 10.
- Reduce by 1 hour every week until I reach my goal so my body can slowly adapt to waking up early and sleeping early.
Backup steps if its not enough:
- Set alarm at a walking distance from bed so I have to get up in order to turn it off.
- Keep a fresh bottle of water next to your bed so you can drink right away (it helps waking you up)
These are my own steps, some might need to add more to this list some won’t need as much, the key is to add measurement so you have a way to track your objectives.