How to Stick to Your Goals
How to Stick to Your Goals
One of the most common questions I get asked is how to get motivated and how to stick to your goals even when you just don't feel like it.
When we want to change things, we become obsessed with changing things overnight, looking for the quick solutions, trying hundred things at once and giving up when they do not work right away. How many times have you see someone's transformation, got inspired by it, downloaded the program the person was doing, gave it a go, then saw another transformation with a different program, gave up on the first one and tried the second one etc. and when none of it worked, you gave up?
The thing is, we tend to focus on the end goal, when in reality what we should really focus on is the process.
"You are what you repeatedly do"
It's great to have a boost of motivation and to be inspired, but if you depend only on motivation, you have a problem. Motivation is a fleeting thing. It's something that changes. If you wait for motivation, you will most probably never start. Instead of focusing on motivation to help you make new habits and reach your goals, focus on the process.
Your everyday habits, not your overnight transformations are what make a lasting change.
So how can you stick to your goals?
There is nothing wrong with dreaming big, but start small. Let's say your goal is to run a marathon, If you try to accomplish this goal by trying to run each day 10 km, you will end up overwhelmed, tired and you will most likely give up after few days.
Start small – make it a goal to run every day for 20 minutes. Once you accomplish that, raise it to running 30 min. Once you accomplish that, raise the bar again.
In order to stick to your goal, the task should not be too easy – because you will get bored, nor too hard – because you will get too overwhelmed and drop it.
Make a routine. Remember, starting is the hardest part. Once you start you've already half way there.
Every habit we have, whether good or bad, is a result of repeating the same thing over and over. So how do you build a new habit that will help you to reach your goal? The best way to get things started is to link the new habit to an existing one.
Your routine needs to follow the same pattern every single time – this way you will stick to it. To use the example above, if your goal is to run a marathon, and you want to start running everyday for 20 minutes, link the habit of running to something else you do every day.
If your routine every morning when you wake up is to brush your teeth – add the routine of putting on your workout clothes and running sneakers on after that. The simple task of getting dressed in your workout clothes is an easy one, once you are all dressed up you are ready to go and it will not be that hard to leave the house and get that 20 min of running in.
Stay Focused. Remove distractions.
When performing a task, be focused and stick to that for the whole time. We tend to start a task, but then check our phone, emails or log on to social media. If you have dedicated half an hour or an hour to do a task, do it focused.
Do important things first – a simple strategy that will make your day feel productive, even if everything else doesn't go the way you planned it.
If you are starting your day with 20 minutes of running – this will make you feel productive as you have already ticked this off your to-do-list for the day. This habit will most likely set the mood for the rest of the day too – you might find yourself eating healthier, feeling better etc.
Plan and schedule your tasks.
We all lead busy lives and hiccups along the way are a normal thing.
The most helpful thing for me was realizing that if there is no time to do the scheduled thing – I should reduce its scope instead of giving up on it. Even though missing a workout will not make you regress, missing a few weeks of workouts will and for that reason it’s critical that you stick with your task even if it’s in a really small way.
For example, you wanted to get your 20 min of running in the morning, but you over slept your alarm clock. Instead of completely giving up on your routine, reduce the scope of running 20 minutes to doing jumping jacks for 5 minutes instead.
That way, you are still getting a workout in and you are still sticking to what you have planned in the first place – which then brings long term success and helps you form a long lasting habit and reaching your goal.
- Remember – progress, not perfection.
Doing stuff perfectly is not required for progress. Perfect performance doesn’t matter. What matters is you showing up over and over again and progressing each time you do.