Do you admire the people who appear to have their lives all put together? They have a 5-year plan and seem to just make it happen. They set goals and reach them. As annoying as these hyper-motivated people are sometimes, you can be one of them by learning their secrets. We all know fundamentally goal-setting is a good idea to help us reach our ideal lifestyle, career and relationship goals. But why is it so hard to set a goal and achieve it? I’d like to say it is because we aren’t approaching it the right way. What’s the key? While having a 5-year plan and seeing the big picture is great, what is more important is sticking with the small steps.
Focus on the small steps
Why small steps? Take these examples:
- You set a goal to increase your learning in a specific area by reading more over the next year. An easy way to achieve this goal is to break it down into small steps. Make a list of the 12 books you’d like to read. Borrow the hardback or ebook from your library, or purchase it. Read one new chapter three times a week. Finish one book each month.
- You plan to get into shape this year and lose 10 pounds. Break it down into an attainable goal by making small changes in your lifestyle. Start by setting aside 30 minutes to workout twice a week. Make small changes in your eating habits; instead of going through the drive through for breakfast, keep some yogurt, granola and fruit at home.
By focusing on small steps you are giving yourself the power to develop good habits. Setting huge goals to achieve every day sets us up for failure. It’s better to concentrate on the deliberate practice of good habits which will help us improve.
Focus on the deliberate practice of good habits
What is deliberate practice? In short it is the concept that the ability to become great at something is not left up to natural talent. Someone can become an expert by applying deliberate practice and consistently focusing on the practice of improving. This is typically something done by musicians, athletics and other top talent. Deliberate practice isn’t just for the experts; you can focus on improvement and becoming better by setting aside time each day to focus on developing good habits.
One pro-tip is to set aside 10 minutes each morning to focus on developing habits which help you achieve your goals. Why morning? Research shows that morning people are more productive. Even if you aren’t a morning person you can still set your alarm a little bit earlier and give yourself time to develop that habit. Alternatively if you miss your 10 minutes in the morning, you can also spend 10 minutes in the evening focusing on your goal. As time progresses it will become easier and because you are focused on the small steps, it will be easier to make a lifestyle change.
What will you focus on this week?
photo credit: Pensiero