productivity

How to Stay On Track for Your Goals

What big goals do you have at the moment? Perhaps you’re trying to lose weight, get fit, write a book, redecorate the house, or start your own business. Maybe you’re tackling several different goals all at once.

Often, it’s easy to feel motivated and inspired at the start of a new goal: we start new diets on Mondays, or begin new years’ resolutions on January 1st, and things go smoothly for a few days. Sadly, that initial enthusiasm soon wanes – and it’s easy to end up abandoning our goals.

Here’s how you can stay on track with your goals, whatever they are:

Step #1: Focus on Fewer Goals

Any goal takes effort – and tackling more than two or three at a time is beyond most of us. Rather than trying to change everything overnight, focus on just a couple of key goals. Ideally, you’ll want to choose goals that complement one another.

For instance, if you’re aiming to lose weight, you might have a secondary goal of getting fitter – the two goals work in tandem. If you’re trying to write a book, though, it’s probably not a good idea to also work on starting up a small business – you may not have enough hours in the day (or enough creative energy) for both goals.

Step #2: Plan Ahead

One reason why goals get derailed is because we fail to plan ahead. It’s all too easy to use a string of social events as an excuse to give up on the diet, or to abandon a fledgling side business during a busy spell in the day job.

Take a look at your diary over the next month or so. Do you have anything coming up that’s likely to cause problems for one of your goals? If you know you’re going to be away for a long weekend, for instance, you might plan to do some work on your small business on weekday evenings instead. If your friend’s going to throw a big birthday party, you may want to be extra-careful with your diet in the days immediately before and after.

Step #3: Set Milestones

Your goal might seem a very long way off right now. If you’re aiming to lose 100lbs, or get a novel published, or have a full-time small business, you might be looking at months or years of work. At times, it’ll feel as though your progress is slow.

Instead of focusing solely on the end goal, give yourself some milestones along the way. Celebrate every 10lbs that you lose, or each finished section of your novel. Give yourself a deadline to aim for with each milestone – and make it ambitious, but not unrealistic.

Step #4: Build Good Habits

Much of what we do in life is habitual. You probably don’t need to constantly remind yourself to shower or brush your teeth or eat lunch – it’s just a normal part of your day. When it comes to your goals, though, it might be a constant struggle to find the time or energy for them.

By developing good habits that support your goals, you’ll find it much easier to make progress. For instance, if you struggle to find the time to exercise, try looking for a way to fit in into your day – perhaps by walking or cycling to work, or by doing some stretches during commercial breaks in the evenings.

Step #5: Track Your Progress

When you’ve been working on the same goal for a long time, it might feel as if you’re not making much progress. If you look back to where you were a few months ago, though, you’ll often find that you’ve come a surprisingly long way.

Tracking your progress could mean keeping a journal, writing a list of key achievements each month, or recording particular statistics (like your weight or body fat percentage). It doesn’t matter exactly how you go about tracking things – what matters is that you have some way to easily see what you’ve already achieved.

Step #6: Get Support and Encouragement

It’s much easier to stay motivated when you have positive, supportive, people around you. Hopefully, you’ve got friends, family, or colleagues who can encourage you towards your goal – but it might be the case that these people don’t understand why this is so important to you.

Look for a group that shares your goal: perhaps a writers’ circle, a meet-up of self-employed professionals in your field, a dieting club, or a local gym. This should provide you with the opportunity to meet like-minded people who can share your enthusiasm, and offer you advice, support, and encouragement.

 

What goals are you working on right now? Are you staying on track toward them, or are you struggling? Let us know your thoughts and tips in the comments…

 

  • Anonymous

    Great article. I cant emphasize enough on how I love this blog. So full of positive insights. Best of luck. I’ve been following for over a year, an it opened my mind to many things. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/BallerxOnxAxBudget Celedonio Jaramillo

    This is me, I can not stay focused on my goals. I’m a dreamer, I have a lot of goals and ambitions in life. I tend to give it my all at the start fading off into just giving up. I know I have what it take to achive my goals, but I lack the motiviation and dedication.

  • http://Mazzastick.com/ Justin Mazza

    I Like the idea of chunking it down to fewer goals. When we try to set and achieve too many goals at once we often dilute our final results.

  • http://esantanche.myopenid.com/ Emanuele Santanche

    I think that step #5 is important. We can track our progresses and celebrate them. We can write about our progresses in a journal and reward ourselves for them. We can also write about our failures. Do they bother us? If they bother us a lot, may it be that we aren’t so interested in our goal?

  • Guest

    I suppose it’s probably that first point that gets in my way. I’m always trying to accomplish at least a dozen different things, most never get completed or get put off for months, years in rare cases. It is very frustrating sometimes. I think I’m better off picking one or two to focus on and letting the rest come and go as they please. Maybe making a list somewhere of them.

  • http://www.bennowlan.com/ BenNowlan.com

    Great post, especially step 3. Breaking goals down to bite size chunks not only makes goals more manageable, it also helps us stay motivated as we are having little ‘wins’ along the way.

  • http://www.bennowlan.com/ BenNowlan.com

    Great post, especially step 3. Breaking goals down to bite size chunks not only makes goals more manageable, it also helps us stay motivated as we are having little ‘wins’ along the way.

  • Vince Liu

    Great article. I was wondering if it’s OK for me to translate this article to Chinese and share it with more people who can’t not read English in China? Of cause, non-business profit will I gain from your article, I just would like more people to read this  and get help. I will note a link to the original article. Best regards.  

  • Vince Liu

    Great article. I was wondering if it’s OK for me to translate this article to Chinese and share it with more people who can’t not read English in China? Of cause, non-business profit will I gain from your article, I just would like more people to read this  and get help. I will note a link to the original article. Best regards.  

    • Hi

      偉大的文章。我想知道如果它確定我翻譯這篇文章,對中國和分享更多的人誰也不能沒有看過中國的英語?非經營性的原因,從你的文章,我只是想更多的人來閱讀,並得到幫助,我將獲得利潤。我會注意以原始文章的鏈接。最好的問候。

    • Hi

      步驟#1:關注較少的目標
      任何目標努力 – 處理更超過兩個或三個一次超出我們大多數是。而不是試圖一夜之間改變了一切,只是集中在幾個關鍵目標。理想的情況下,你要選擇的目標互為補充。
      例如,如果你希望減肥,你可能有一個獲得鉗工的第二個目標 – 這兩個目標協同工作。不過,如果你試圖寫一本書,它可能不是一個好主意,還起了一個小型企業工作 – 你可能沒有足夠的時間,在這兩個目標的一天(或足夠的創造性的能量)。
      步驟#2:提前計劃
      目標會出軌的原因之一是因為我們未能未雨綢繆。這一切都太容易使用為藉口,放棄飲食上,或放棄一個初出茅廬的方業務,在繁忙的日常工作​​中的咒語一串社交活​​動。
      在你的日記,在未來一個月左右。你有沒有上來,這可能會造成問題,您的目標之一嗎?舉例來說,如果你知道你將是一個漫長的週末離開,你可能打算做一些平日晚上的工作,而不是對您的小型企業。如果您的朋友要拋出一個大的生日聚會,你可能想在之前和之後的日子裡,要額外小心你的飲食。
      第三步:設置里程碑
      現在,你的目標似乎是一個很長的路要走。如果你希望失去百磅,或得到一個新的出版,或有專職的小企業,你可能會在幾個月或幾年的工作。有時,它會覺得好像你的進步是緩慢的。
      而不是僅側重於最終的目標,給自己前進的道路上一些里程碑。慶祝每10磅,你輸了,或你的小說,每個成品節。給自己一個期限,針對每個里程碑 – 雄心勃勃,但並非不切實際。
      步驟#4:建立良好的生活習慣
      我們在生活中做的大部分是習慣性的。你也許並不需要不斷地提醒自己洗澡或刷牙或吃午飯 – 它只是一個新的一天的正常部分。當談到自己的目標,但是,它可能是一個不斷的鬥爭中發現的時間或為他們的能量。
      通過開發支持你目標的好習慣,你會發現它更容易取得進展。例如,如果你很難找到時間鍛煉,試圖尋找一種方式適合你的一天 – 也許是步行或騎自行車上班,或通過商業在晚上休息時做一些舒展。
      步驟#5:跟踪進度
      當你已經工作很長一段時間的同一目標,它可能會覺得如果你沒有多大進展。不過,如果你回頭看看你在哪裡,幾個月前,你常常會發現,你已經走過了令人驚訝的很長的路要走。
      跟踪你的進度,可能意味著寫日記,寫的主要成就,每月,或記錄特定的統計(如你的體重或身體脂肪百分比)。不要緊,你究竟是如何去跟踪事情 – 重要的是你有一些很容易地看到你已經取得的方式。
      步驟#6:獲取支持和鼓勵
      保持動力,當你有積極的,支持,你身邊的人要容易得多。希望,你已經有了朋友,家人或同事可以鼓勵你朝著自己的目標 – 但它可能的情況下,這些人不明白為什麼這是如此重要的是你。
      看為一組,分享你的目標:也許是作家圈,滿足自僱專業人士,在你的領域,節食俱樂部,或當地的健身房。這應該提供了機會,以滿足志同道合的人,誰可以分享你的熱情,並為您提供的意見,支持和鼓勵。

      什麼樣的目標,你現在呢?你住在對他們的軌道,或你在掙扎嗎?讓我們知道您的想法和評論中的提示…
      there u go <3

  • OuafParis

    Hello,
    Thank you for this article. I have one goal for the moment : is to be a chartred accountant and I need a big organisation to succeed in my project. I am EPM consultant; which means that I am working on information systems for financial services; and I really don’t have much time for studying. I think that all steps from 1 to 6 can apply in my case, specially step number 3- Set Milestones : I can for exemple choose each exam’s success as a gained step. 
    Step 6 – Get support and encouragement : is crucial but sometimes it is hard to find that support, so I think we can just ignore people who are not in favour of our project, the condition is that we must be convinced by what we are planning to tackle on.

  • james

    Great Post! Networking with like-minded people is such an important factor in staying focused on achieving your goals. 

    Excellent tips throughout this article. Your blog continues to inspire me!

    http://LifeAndMind.net

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  • http://www.janterkelsen.com/ Jan

    Thank you for the post. It seems that this time of year people are becoming disillusioned with the goals they set at the beginning of the year.
    My tips:
    Change the word goals to targets, you just keep at it until you get there. Also there is less judgment attached.
    Put good structures in place that support your target
    Make sure you align your targets to your values in some way, this is the best way of making them important enought for you to follow through
    At the end of each day cancel all targets and if the they are still important to you when you wake up, you start with renewed vigour and energy.
     

  • Toki

    This is so timely. I’m three months into changing my eating habits. Plan to lose 80 lbs total. I’ve lost 20 so far. :) But I’m also back in college (20yrs later) trying to finish my bachelor’s. Homeschooling my eldest. Potty training my youngest. Barely keeping my head above the laundry, dishes and cooking. Whew! Most days it’s about priority.  Planning is the key! 

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  • Lil_lilac06

    I am 20 years old, young, smart and beautiful. No kids, great job working for the Senator of my state, in community college and trying to get back into a 4 year university. After messing up a full-ride scholarship last year, I’m very motivated about getting back in school but hesitant because of my past experiences of failure. I know that I am very bright but school is so general, redundant and boring that its hard to stay focused! Recently I realized however, that school IS important and that I have to set goals for myself and keep at it because I don’t want to live my life regretting not giving my all.  I have a million demands in my life, not to mention the fact that I’m in this “I’m  young and I want to explore the world and find myself” phase. But because I’m so passionate about being successful and rich at a young age I find myself being overwhelmed by the demand of self-motivation and dedication that it requires. I feel average and incapable sometimes. But I keep pushing. I just don’t know where to turn for help all the time and sometimes its hard to ask for it. Anyway I’m now setting goals for myself which I’ve never done before but I just want to see if I can accomplish them or not. I’m highly motivated and i need to put this energy into something!

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  • http://www.cmoe.com/ CMOE

    Setting milestones is absolutely a must. This helps you see that you are indeed making progress. Setting your sights on something that’s still too distant can be discouraging, so shoot for something achievable and work your way up.

  • http://www.cmoe.com/ CMOE

    Setting milestones is absolutely a must. This helps you see that you are indeed making progress. Setting your sights on something that’s still too distant can be discouraging, so shoot for something achievable and work your way up.

  • http://www.motivation.net.au/motivational-speaker Motivational Speakers

    I like the way you explained about “How
    to Stay On Track for Your Goals”.
    Keep posting stuff like this I really like it.
     

  • http://www.self-esteem-tips.com/ Self Esteem Tips

    I like this info shown and it has given me some sort of desire to succeed for some reason, so thank you.

  • Miranda Allen

    My goal for the new year is to get my life back on track get my ged teach my kids tobe batter kids I dont wat no more drama in my life I jus wat to live a batter life for me an my kids I wat to put god first in my life cuz wit out him an his blessing I can

  • rikkeey

    Hi good article. Can you suggest some tool(PC or android phone based) to keep track of goals?

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