What is your rich life? What does a ‘better life’ look like to you?
5 Things That Matter To Achieve Success With Your Goals.
Have you ever had trouble sticking with a New Year’s Resolution or a goal? Here are 5 Steps that will increase your chance of success.
If you are in a hurry, skip to the end to learn the most important part of succeeding with your goals.
Who do you want to be?
What are your values as a person? Do your current behaviors or habits match who you want to be? When choosing a health or life goal pick one that is yours and personal to you.
Decide who you want to be.
Who do you want to be? What does your better life look like? Does it include less stress? Or a better work-life balance? Do you want to have more energy? Is better health the most important goal for your better life? Picking your goal will depend on what you want your future you to be. It will most likely be related to a ‘pain’ that you are experiencing.
As I use the word pain I am not talking about a physical injury. I am talking about a frustration in the desires that you have of the person you wish to be but the actions, behaviors and even results do not line up with your idea of what your life should be.
What are your values as a person? What is important to you? Do your current behaviors or habits match who you want to be? Your current habits are perfect for your current results. If you desire a different life then some of your habits will need to change.
Pick a goal that is yours and personal to you. These should align with who you want to be as a person. They will align with your core values. They will be intimately personal to you.
Your goal should be specific. Losing weight is not that specific. "I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months", is specific. "I want my waist size to be 34 inches in 3 months", is very specific.
The ‘why’ wrapped up in this should be personal. Why do you want to lose weight? More energy, feel better about your body image? Get into those old clothes you used to fit into? The more your goal answers the question of 'why' the better your chances of sticking with it when things get tough.
Pick a deadline!
Pick a deadline. Without a deadline it will be harder to reach your goal.
The stories we tell ourselves.
Be aware of invisible scripts. The stories that we tell ourselves. "I am not athletic." "I’m just ‘big boned’." Etc.
As you pick your goal the stories that we tell ourselves can push back and affect our success. Taking the time to identify the ‘voices in our heads’ for what they are can determine whether we succeed or fail in reaching our goal.
Start with just ONE THING to focus on. One goal is enough. Depending on the goal and its simplicity or complexity will determine how long it will take to achieve.
If your goal is to lose weight the habit to focus on needs to be small enough to achieve with little effort. Your habit could then be to eat breakfast every morning. Want to work out regularly? Then focus on the habit of putting on your workout clothes at the time you want to work out.
What is the smallest action that you can filter down to that will trigger an overall behavior that aligns with your goal? This is a very important step in the process because the achievement of your goal, your success, is very dependent on getting this step right.
Make it too hard, not fun, too complex, and your chance of success diminishes.
The other part of this process is trying to peg down a habit that will achieve your desired result. You will need to be strategic about this one habit to focus on as picking the wrong thing can derail you even before you get started.
There will also be many things working against us. Our current habits will make this process more difficult. If we are tired then we will default to old habits. Also, our choices become less healthy when we are tired.
Once you have picked the habit that will get you to your goal, that is yours for your better future-self, then you will need to build processes to protect that one habit.
If your goal is to lose weight the habit to focus on needs to be small enough to achieve with little effort. Your habit would then be to eat breakfast every morning.
You will build on this habit by taking the time to learn about what foods are best for you to eat that will align with your goal of losing weight. This includes the types of foods and also paying attention to energy density and portion control.
Want to work out regularly? Then focus on the habit of putting on your workout clothes at the time you want to work out.
"Your habits matter, not just because of the results that they get you, but the identity that they reinforce."
Some habits tend to matter more than others.
Some habits matter more.
Take the time to reflect on a habit that is powerful to you. A habit, that once you get better at it, this habit helps other habits.
When families eat dinner together there are improvements in the families finances, the children's grades, and other positive trickle down effects from this one habit.
Measure your progress.
How are you going to measure your progress? What is the proper frequency for your goal?
Increase your success by verbally telling someone. When you share your New Year’s Resolution or goal, you are over 70% more likely to achieve your goal.
Having a way to measure your success along the way is also important. Want to lose weight? Then weigh yourself frequently. Have a fitness goal? The number of times you get to the gym or ride your bike each week helps you track your consistency with your goal.
How often should you measure?
Depends on the measurement and the goal. Once or twice a week is a good frequency for checking in. Daily measuring of your weight is going to drive you nuts as you fluctuate. Don’t measure your weight and you don’t know if your current actions are getting you closer to your goal. Pick a simple way to measure your progress that aligns with your future-self. Make sure the measurement tool you pick is reliable.
Pick your team
The resources, the companies that you sign up with, and the coaches or medical doctors that you pick should be trustworthy.
Find a friend who has been there before. Treat them to coffee and ‘pick their brain’. Modeling your life in the way of others that you respect can help you achieve your better life.
This is also about getting informed. Who are the experts within the field of your specific goal? In most cases these are not the loudest and most obvious on social media. Blog posts for medical information can be as low as 10 to 20% in their accuracy. As I write this article, I am acutely aware of the need to write content that is accurate. This is why our platform has a review board.
When you are looking for good health information then look at trusted brands. Web pages that have a review process by a relevant specialist or expert in that field are rare but worth reading. For mental health I really like how the website verywellmind.com reviews their content. Each article written is reviewed by someone related to the topic.
The same thing that works for me may not work for you.
The reason for measuring your progress is so that you can track if what you are doing, the action that you are taking, is working. Beware of someone ‘selling you’. What is their motivation to help you? This is where trust comes in.
Don’t give up!
When we fail to meet our goal for the week it is tempting to quit. Your goal is too important. Don’t quit on yourself!
Celebrate the wins!
Your personal goal is a living thing. It is tempting to quit when you miss a gym appointment or eat that donut. Don’t give up! Keep on focusing on ‘why’ you chose this goal and its importance in reaching your rich or better life. Reflect on step one and start the next week as if it was the first. We will not be perfect. Sometimes reviewing if we have made the goal too big, too fast or too complex needs to happen. Our expectations might be why we are struggling.
Make it fun
I set an exercise goal for 30 minutes, 3 times per week. The habit I focused on was putting my bike on my Jeep. I was much more likely to get out and ride if everything was ready for me. Also, having the bike on my Jeep helped encourage me to take it off and ride it or the consequence was driving it around on my daily errands and then bringing it home, unridden. That was something that was contradictory to the person that I am. It seemed ‘wasteful’. During winter my exercise focus changes to hiking. My habit then becomes putting on my hiking boots.
Now, I have other tricks to help support this goal of exercising. This is the supporting framework put in place to protect the habit. One such hack is to schedule a meeting on my calendar to ride my bike. “Sorry, I have a meeting from 12 until 1:30. How about the morning?”
Make it simple
The measurement was simple and achievable for me, and I typically managed 5 days a week of exercise in on any given week. But sometimes life would get in the way, and I would exercise just once or twice. Traveling was a great way to derail my progress in this area. What I did was not berate myself, and if I was able to get one exercise time in during that week I would focus on the positive. I did something!
Make sure you celebrate each time you succeed in executing your habit even once. Then reset the week and try again to reach your goal. If you are struggling each week on your goal, then maybe you need to go back to steps one and two, and rethink the goal and habit you picked.
Make it yours
I chose this goal for myself as biking and hiking are great mental health moments for me. I am a better person when I get a chance to get outdoors. This was the primary reason and why it was so personal to me.
This is not the only goal that I have but it was the only one I focused on at the time. Once I built the habit of preparing for exercise the next step was to protect that habit. When the habit was consistent I decided I wanted to be stronger, faster, and technically better at biking. I was able to improve on this habit once it was built.
A habit must be formed before it can be improved.
Struggling to reach your goal? Here are some TIPS
Break down your goal into steps.
A big goal may need to be broken down into a series of steps so that it does not feel so daunting at first. Some ‘white boarding’ or thinking time needs to happen to make sure you are focusing on the right steps.
Set a deadline for each step.
Rethink the habit you are focusing on.
Is it small enough, easy enough, and is it fun?
Does the goal or habit match up with who you are? Does it align with your values?
Be willing to adapt and change.
Remember to celebrate the wins! The road to achieving your goal will not be the same for every person. By measuring your progress, you can try different things that continue to support the one small habit that will get you to your goal.
Be willing to change your deadlines based on your progress.
How committed are you to change?
On a scale of 0 to 10 how committed are you to make the changes in your life to reach your goal? Be honest! You need to be at an 8 or above. If you are not at that level of intensity keep processing.
This is where you need to start. If you are not committed then you will not reach your goal. Take the time to determine what the most important goal in your life is at this moment.
Need a little inspiration? Check out this TED Talk by Tim Urban. Inside the mind of a master procrastinator.
The pain of change needs to be less than the pain we are going through.
The ONE THING to focus on is the habit.
Your actual goal or focus is to develop and protect the habit that supports a desired outcome in your life.
The goal you set is the desire for your future-self. It will also act as a measuring tool along the way to show progress. BUT what you focus on each day, what you protect at all costs, is the one small habit that will get you to that goal.
Exercising three times a week for 30 minutes is something measurable. The actual goal is developing a habit of exercise. The habit then becomes putting on your running shoes.
When dealing with anxiety the habit is to pause.
Want to sleep better? The habit is a consistent bedtime and wake up time.
When you only exercise 20 minutes, and the goal you set was 30 minutes for a session, take the win. Your focus is to develop the habit, which was to get out and exercise in the first place.
Your ONE THING is to develop and protect the habit that helps you reach your goal.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Written by Joel Rauser PT
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Robert Vogt MD, Family Medicine
Jonathan Brown DPT, DSc
James Yohanan MD, ENT
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