Achieving our goals, whether they are big or small, is bloody hard sometimes.
That’s because we are set in our ways and it’s hard to break the mold we’re so used to.
Even so, we are living in an increasingly conscious society, where the overall population is not only tapping more into the universal needs of humanity, but more individuals are tapping into their own needs for external achievement and internal growth.
Usually when we become conscious of something that we need/want to change or achieve, we call that insight. Yet insight is essentially useless if we don’t ensure that we actively respond to it.
A true understanding of whatever it is in our life doesn’t occur until we have implemented strategies to facilitate the change, because an understanding is not just having insight, it is actually incorporating that insight into the ways that we feel, think and behave.
Therefore, having a lightbulb moment isn’t actually a full understanding until we utilize it in whatever ways we need to for achievement and growth.
We can all relate to having that moment of clarity and then failing to do anything about it. Think about it—how many times have we personally had insight of a shortcoming, an area that needs attention or a goal that we would love to achieve, but then don’t do anything about it?
We became aware of whatever it was and the place we’d prefer to be, but we did nothing about it—or, if we did do something about it, we did so much later. It’s an all too common aspect in all of our lives that we repeat the same patterns of behavior that are habitually problematic, dysfunctional, inhibiting and stagnating.
Why is this so?
Well after we reach around 25 years of age our brain has fully developed, which means that neuroplasticity—the act of physically rewiring our brain—doesn’t occur as easily.
It takes willpower, courage, persistence and strength to ensure that we permanently change ourselves or our lives. Those changes are how we build new neural pathways in our brain and lock them in as the preferred, or second nature, behaviors on both conscious and subconscious levels.
That’s why change is so hard, especially as an adult; not because it is difficult in the first place to have insight into an issue or what we want to achieve, but because we’re literally rewiring ourselves on a physiological level, even when we’re simply living a different lifestyle.
It is in this light that I bring you this list of 5 guaranteed ways to achieve your goals. As I work in the field of personal change and transformation, this list is very well suited for internal growth, although it is equally applicable if we want to achieve something on the outside such as a career, financial or relationship goal.
Ultimately, these simple methods help us to keep us focused on the goal we have in mind and better support it to be realized. Good luck!
1. Write down your goals and stick them where you’ll see them.
This is a really simple method to ensure that you’re constantly reminded of what you’re trying to achieve. Grab some paper and a pen and make a short but clear list of the internal and external areas that you want to grow.
It might be more exercise or greater happiness. It may be to get a new job or promotion. Regardless of what they are, stick the paper on the bedroom mirror or somewhere you’ll see it at least once a day, but preferably a few times a day.
If you constantly remind yourself of your goals, then you’re more likely to be motivated and are already beginning to rewire your brain to achieve them.
2. Put yourself in a position where you’re likely to succeed.
Not only is it important to undertake activities which will support you achieving your goals, you have to make sure they’re realistic, too. That’s why sometimes being specific works well, but other times it might be more helpful to make your goals a bit broader and more general.
It is important to find a good balance of ambition and reality. Be optimistically realistic. If you set yourself up for success by incorporating factors that will contribute to your desired achievements, as well as being reasonable in terms of your skills, the time you have, etc., then you’ll most likely be successful.
3. Recognize the small steps you’ve made.
In many instances, your goal may have sub-goals that are necessary to complete on the way to achievement. It is important no to just acknowledge them as a part of your strategy, but acknowledge them as successes when you accomplish them.
Give yourself a pat on the back. Recognize the hard work that you’ve put in to get to that point. Celebrate it.
If you show to yourself that you’ve made good progress, it will re-inspire and re-motivate you to continue on your path of success.
4. Develop a support network that helps you to achieve them.
This can take many forms, but a support network is always an essential ingredient in the recipe of success.
For example, if you want to give up smoking, then tell your friends and family and ask them to help you achieve it. If you want to have a greater capacity to regulate yourself emotionally in more functional ways, then join a support group or see a counselor on a consistent basis.
No matter what you’re trying to achieve, two heads are better than one. Be creative in how you seek support for achieving your goals and don’t be afraid to tell people if you fail, because even if you do, it’s a necessary learning and life experience.
5. Make the sacrifices needed to ensure your success.
This is the big one. I have made sacrifice after sacrifice throughout my years of development and growth and I realize how difficult they are to make.
Nevertheless, if you want to achieve your goal, you cannot escape the associated sacrifices. It may just be time—so, for example, instead of spending your spare time doing one thing, you do another that aims to achieve your goal. It may also be a pleasure, such as not eating sweets if you’re trying to lose weight or saying no to a party if you’re trying to save money.
Whatever the sacrifices might be, I guarantee you that they will tempt you to do what you usually do. Suck it up and make the sacrifice with grace and sophistication—not only because it is absolutely necessary to achieve your goal, but because you may as well not suffer during the process, too.
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Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Simply CVR/Flickr