Start with the end in mind.
What does that mean exactly? It means imagine yourself a year from today in 2025, reflecting back on the year 2024 having succeeded in reaching your goals. What steps would you have to take right now to make that happen? Thinking with the end in mind helps you create action steps that will lead you in the right direction.
With a New Year comes setting resolutions for what you want to focus on and achieve throughout the year. It is exciting to start fresh and have new milestones in mind, and it is easy to feel motivated when we think about what we want. But, it can be difficult to maintain motivation throughout the year, especially when we run into challenges or things don’t turn out as planned, which can lead to frustration, feelings of failure, or giving up on reaching your goal entirely. Then, at the end of a year, it is all to easy to focus on what we didn’t accomplish versus on any progress made.
There are some practical strategies that can help you to gain clarity, stay motivated, and increase chances for reaching success.
GOAL SETTING: STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS
1. Clarify what your goal is.
Get as specific as you can in defining what it is you want to achieve. The more specific you can be the more likely you will be able to create a clear path with well-defined action steps to get where you want to go.
2. The Gap and the Gain:
As you make progress toward your goals, focus on progress made (the gain) instead of where you fell short or didn’t get as far as you wanted (the gap). There will always be obstacles and the unexpected, and sometimes you may need to reroute, but there are always learning lessons and opportunities to be had. By focusing on your progress and small accomplishments, you gain confidence in moving forward.
3. Progress versus perfection.
You don’t have to wait for the perfect moment or for things to line up just right before you take action. Sometimes you just have to commit to taking the leap and the rest will follow. Fear of failure, not having everything planned out, and waiting too long before you take action, creates missed opportunity or missing valuable learning lessons that are beneficial along the journey toward reaching your goals. Focus on progress versus perfection.
FINDING MOTIVATION AND INSPIRATION
1. Know what your purpose is.
Know what your why is in accomplishing what you set out to achieve. Gaining clarity on and reminding yourself of this will help you stay motivated in times of stress and overwhelm.
2. Create healthy routines.
When you create a healthy routine it becomes habit. When you think of your goals, think of steps you can take every day that will help you achieve them and start implementing them. For example, setting aside a specific time each day to brainstorm about a project, or time researching, planning, etc. The more you commit to these routines, the more it becomes a daily habit. Just like brushing your teeth first thing in the morning. You don’t think about it, you just do it.
3. Surround yourself with the right people.
Find people who have already been down the path you are headed, people who have succeeded in reaching the same or similar goal. Connecting with people that can be mentors or inspiration for you can help keep you motivated, on track, and accountable in getting where you want to go.
LIFE IS A TEAM SPORT
No one is self-made. Even very successful people have had help along the way, people who have inspired them, people who have supported them or given them ideas or input that helped them to become successful. We gain momentum by being inspired by and collaborating with others. You can achieve things alone, and oftentimes faster, but you achieve so much more with support and teamwork.
2. Have a Support Network.
My support network is called the Three F’s: Faith, Family, and Friends. Having support in these three areas will help you when times are tough, when you are faced with obstacles, and when you have accomplishments to celebrate with others. This support system can help encourage you to reach your goals.
So, start with the end in mind. Get clear on your goals and create an action plan. Know the reason behind your goal, your why, that motivates you. Create healthy habits that you can implement daily. And, make sure you have the right supports in your life that you can rely on and to help you get to where you want to go.