If you’re staring out the window fantasising about that health, relationship or career goal you still want to achieve, you’re not alone.
Procrastination can often be a roadblock to people achieving their goals. It’s when that voice in your head says not today, maybe tomorrow, so you continue to postpone, stall and delay.
Common goals people set themselves
Sometimes it helps to think about the goals other people set themselves to help you realise what you could be doing. Some common ones1 typically revolve around:
- Health - Eating more nutritious food, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, reducing stress
- Career - Finding a new job, changing industries, getting a promotion, asking for a pay rise
- Finances - Spending smarter, saving, reducing debt, getting into the property market
- Education - Learning a trade, finishing your school certificate, obtaining a diploma or degree
- Relationships - Spending more time with loved ones, reducing conflict, making new friends
- Hobbies - Writing a book, learning a musical instrument, taking language lessons
- Travel - Going overseas, visiting family interstate, taking short breaks more regularly.
Golden nuggets for goal setting
Various studies, surveys and research papers on the topic of setting goals and successfully achieving them, suggest a range of approaches. Some of these include:
- Adopt a SMART approach
This is a popular method for setting goals. It’s a simple five-step approach to ensure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.2
- Write your goals down and commit to them
Put pen to paper and clarify what it is you want to accomplish. Those who write their goals down are around 50% more successful than those who don’t.3
- Share your plans and be accountable
Make your goal known to someone close to you. It’ll make you accountable and it’s a good way to seek encouragement. More than 70% of people who send a weekly update to a friend, achieve their goal, compared to 35%, who keep goals to themselves.4
- Tackle one thing at a time
Work on one rather than multiple goals at once so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Having too many goals is why around a fifth of people fail to keep them.5
- If it’s a big task, turn it into smaller steps
To successfully achieve a large goal, many suggest breaking it into sizable chunks6. If it’s an exercise goal for instance, start working out two days a week and build up from there.
- Use an app to monitor your progress
Download an app to stay motivated and remind you what it was you set out to do. People who use mobile apps to monitor their progress are more often successful.7
- Don’t worry about minor setbacks
If you fall off the wagon, take another stab at things and remember to celebrate small wins along the way.
If at first you don’t succeed try, try again
Goals need to be realistic—yes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think big. Consider what these people8 did:
- Helen Keller was deaf and blind but learned to read and write, gained a bachelor degree, and became a well-known author and lecturer
- Nelson Mandela spent over 20 years in prison for his opposition to the apartheid regime and later was elected the first leader of a democratic South Africa and won a Nobel Peace Prize
- Thomas Edison was fired from his first job and despite being almost penniless, became one of the most prolific inventors of his generation. He created the light bulb among many things
- J.K. Rowling was a single mother on benefits. Her manuscript for Harry Potter was rejected several times before she became the world’s best-selling children’s author
- Colonel Sanders dropped out in seventh grade. It wasn’t until he was 62 he franchised KFC.9
Remember - a wish without a plan is just a dream. If you didn’t do what you set out to do yesterday, it’s never too late to put something in place today.
1, 5, 7 http://www.finder.com.au/press-release-new-years-resolution-statistics-2015-2016
The parts of the world where people live longest may hold the key to the fountain of youth.