I know how hard it is to set goals and then watch them move further and further out of reach. Here’s my method for setting out to achieve goals.
It’s hard. Setting goals and then reaching them isn’t an easy thing to do – especially if those goals are rather lofty and daunting.
You’re likely to try every once and while to see progress but sometimes you could even end up forgetting about them, or worse, purposely avoid them because you’re afraid of failing. It’s natural to do in situations that scare you, but you can’t just make goals and not care about reaching them.
Why? Because that’s a great way to make yourself feel like a big pile of shit.
Your confidence will plummet and you’ll find it even harder to work toward what you want. Because you’re not achieving goals, it’ll make you not even want to set them because you think you’ll never be able to reach them.
It’s like a toxic cycle that does nothing but make you miserable and keep you at arm’s length from the things you really want in life.
It doesn’t even have to just be with your writing. This can be about any goals you have. The process is the same and the fact that you aren’t reaching certain goals can make other, unrelated ones seem even harder.
That’s why I want to shed some light on how you can actually achieve goals after you set them.
Since it is the new year, you’ve probably got a nice, long list of shit you want to get done in 2018, amiright?! I mean, I do.
And here’s how I plan to go about them.
1. Break that shit into smaller goals
I know you want to write a full book this year – or finish it – or edit it, whatever. You want to get this big, crazy goal accomplished and that’s all you’ve written down (or typed up). But the thing about that is that it’s a HUGE goal…and that’s frightening.
You look at what you have to do and cringe. Because it’s a lot. Humans tend to get overwhelmed when there are seemingly endless amounts of work to be done. At least I do.
So instead of just writing down this big goal, make it the first bullet and then break it into smaller ones starting with a monthly goal or even a quarterly goal – whichever works best for you.
Once you look at this big goal of (I’ll just use mine) finishing my book and then see it in smaller chunks, like writing 4 chapters a month, it seems more attainable. You look at that like, “Oh, okay. I only have to write 4 chapters this month. That’s not so bad.”
2. Break that shit down EVEN smaller
Yep. I think you’re sensing a theme here but let’s just continue. Now that you’ve got your monthly or quarterly goals, let’s take a deeper look at that list.
So you’ve got to write 4 chapters a month (or whatever goal you set for yourself), yes? Now it’s time to look at those things on a weekly level.
Personally, I sit down every single Monday and I schedule out my weeks. I write down what I’ll do each day and the goals I want to accomplish on those days. It’s all in a little spreadsheet I have and honestly, this makes everything seem FAR more attainable.
Because if you want to write 4 chapters a month, that’s only one chapter a week. ONE CHAPTER A WEEK. That’s like nothing. That’s a piece of cake, right? You’re not even thinking about it like you have to write a full book this year.
Now, it’s far simpler. Now, it’s attainable in your mind.
3. Actually implement these tips and work on your goals…
I know this shouldn’t have to be said but…uh…it needs to be. You know you want to achieve your goals and you’re reading this either out of curiosity or because it seems like you can never accomplish what you set out to.
If you’re the latter, it means you want some help. But that also means you have to listen to the help people are willing to give you. It’s fine if you don’t think these methods will work, but what if they do? What it’s you’re wrong about them not working for you?
In order to achieve goals you set, you have to work on them. And if you want to make that work not seem scary as fuck, this is the way that works best for me. It simplifies the entire process, really.
So actually do these things and then sit down and work on them.
Again, your goals won’t achieve themselves. You have to be actively working toward them consistently. Which brings me to my next point.
4. Be consistent and follow your schedule
I get that life happens. You can’t always stick to your set schedule 100% of the time. Personally, I aim for 80% of the time. That way I’m still working toward my goal the majority of the time and this number requires me to actually work hard to make it happen.
The point is, the best way to accomplish your goals is to be consistent. Working on writing every single day for one week adds up a lot faster than working on it a day here and there for a week.
5. Make it a habit
Habits are really, really strong. And as humans, we’re creatures of habit. The more we do something, the more it feels right to do. Actually, it doesn’t feel like anything to do them. It just feels wrong when you don’t do them.
That means if you want to achieve your goals, make working toward them a habit. Just like you go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, work on your goal every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
At first, this will be hard. You’ll feel odd simply because it’s a new thing added to your routine. But after a while – about 3-ish weeks – it’ll be seamless. You’ll just be doing those things because that’s what you do.
It’s like showering or brushing your teeth or drying yourself off after a shower in the very specific way that you do it. You just do them because you’ve formed a habit to (and hopefully for hygienic reasons but I doubt you always need a shower when you shower. People don’t get that dirty in their day-to-day lives).
One way that might help you stay on track is using a piece of writing software that tracks your progress. Moving that little line can make a huge difference!
What my goals look like:
Here’s a little visual breakdown of what my big goals look like so you can get an idea as to how I make them manageable and doable.
- Finish my book (about 39 chapters to go)
- Write 4 chapters a month
- Write one chapter a week
- Write 2,000 words per writing session (about 3 times a week)
- Write one chapter a week
- Write 4 chapters a month
See how that works? I’ve taken this giant goal I have and managed to get it down to something as simple as writing 2,000 words per writing session (which for me is a few times a week with my current schedule).
It looks easier because it is easier. If I were to just try to write my book in a year without any other small goals, I’d be focused on writing as much as I could in every single writing session. But that would shift my focus and I’d likely get anxious and discouraged when the words aren’t flowing or I don’t get what I think I should be getting done.
This maps out a very clear goal and something I can do on a day-to-day basis.
Yeah. Reaching your goals is tough. That’s why it’s called achieving them. They’re an achievement. But if you simplify those goals and make it a habit to work toward them, you’ll reach them. Period.
What methods for accomplish your goals works best for you? Any tips and secrets we could all benefit from?