Everyone has a vision of who they want to be in their head. You may want to be engaged in purposeful work, active, free from chronic illness or pain, fit, or surrounded by loving and supportive people. But achieving these goals is easier said than done even when you feel like you’ve tried everything.
There are thousands of Americans who are looking to achieve the same goals. They buy self-improvement books and products to try to achieve their personal goals. But no matter how much money you spend trying to improve yourself, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t stick to good habits.
Don’t waste your time looking for the right book or product for you. You want to create a plan that will stick and work. Here are seven tips to achieve your personal goals and create good habits.
1. Start with Cognitive Goals
Mental health is just as important as physical health. If you’re seeking to get physically fit but are in a bad place mentally, you’re not going to get anywhere. If you have a job that mentally exhausts you, a mental illness that is holding you back, or anything else, then you want to address those mental blocks first.
If you don’t feel as though you are ready to work on physical goals, then focus on your cognitive goals. Focus on the benefits you can gain from making a change and ways that you can work on working towards those goals.
2. Shift Your Goals to Long-Term
Things like fad diets that last a month or even a week are created for fast results. They’re a start to living a healthier life, but these types of fitness crazes are also not feasible for the long-term. You can’t juice for every meal for the rest of your life. It’s not healthy. Plus, fad diets only show results for maybe a few weeks and then you revert back to your old ways.
Instead of focusing on the popular diet of the month, shift your focus to creating a sustainable change. If you are slowly working on a home renovation project, instead of haphazardly starting and partially completing one project because of the costs, consider applying for an online personal loan to give you the budget you need to accomplish your goals in the long term. If you own a start-up online business, look at the cost of your web hosting service and find out if there is a better web host for your money. If you’re trying to save up to eventually get Lasik corrective eye surgery someday, then start a specific bank account just for that explicit purpose.
All this is to say that when you shift your goals to the long term, you’ll also be able to better understand your budget and how you need to plan for the costs of your goals. When you know your budget, you’ll be able to strategize how to create good habit (like saving money) to get to those goals.
3. Small Steps Are Big Victories
Slow and steady wins the race is more than just a clever phrasing. It’s the small steps that you make that really push you towards your goals. When you see children playing on playground equipment when they are first starting to walk, every little step is a victory. Who knows, maybe someday one of those children will be an Olympic athlete someday.
You should look at your own small steps in the same manner. Ease yourself into habits that you’re trying to work into your routine. If you’re looking to run a mile in under a certain amount of time, start with walking a mile a few times a week. Work your way up from there. If you’re looking to reduce anxiety, try meditation for a few minutes a week. These may sound obvious or easy, but that’s the whole point. Easing yourself into these things makes the whole journey feel like less of a struggle.
4. Every Action Matters
Each thing you do to feel healthier is meaningful, but there are extra actions you can do to help you along the way. There are simple things like parking farther away from the grocery store so that you walk.
You can also ensure that you’re setting goals and meeting those goals. If you tell yourself that you’re going to the gym for a certain number of hours each week, take steps to join a gym. Increase the amount of time you stay there each week. While it seems like a small action, it will get you closer to your goal.
5. Don’t Rely on Motivation
Motivation is a fickle thing. While it drives us to want to form healthy habits, it can be gone within the week. It’s something that you can’t always depend on because of this reason. To ensure that you don’t slack on your goals, have another method in place, so it’s not just your motivation driving you.
Come up with ways to help you cope when your motivation is gone. Create backup plans, ask for support from your social circle, or post reminders to annoy yourself into getting things done. Motivation will return, and you don’t want to feel like you’re starting from the beginning when it does.
6. Be Accountable
When you feel accountable to someone, you will usually work harder. Go to the gym with a buddy or having a mentor regularly check on your progress with a project. These will give you the necessary push to get your goals done.
However, you might not always have someone to rely on to keep you in check. That’s why it’s important that you set up a system where you are keeping track of your own progress. Analyze what helps you to succeed and what gets you off track.
When you’re doing well, reward yourself. As time goes on, you’ll fall into a routine that is habitual, and you’ll be able to reach your goals more quickly.
7. Have Fun
Reaching your goals shouldn’t feel like exhausting work. Remember to enjoy the process and reward yourself as you progress. Whether it’s playing online casino games for a chance to win, splurging on a new camping tent for the summer, or giving yourself the gift of sleep with a new mattress, let yourself do something enjoyable as you work toward your goals. Feel proud of what you have already accomplished. If what you’re doing isn’t bringing you joy, adjust your plan until it does.