In this series of articles, I am looking at ways to get you to think about how you will get what you most desire. To be honest, I wrote A Journaling Journey To Your Heart's Desires to keep me on track. And then I got to thinking about what else could I share alongside. So, while this is a nudge to me, I hope it helps you, too.
The ten hacks I will share are these:
Stop Thinking Of Your Goals As Resolutions
Goals Without An End Date Are Dreams
Stay On Track By Measuring Your Progress
Reach Your Goals By Taking It One Week At A Time
It’s OK To Bribe Yourself With Rewards Along The Way
Motivational Hack – Set Mini-Goals You Can Reach Quickly
Accountability Hack – Keep A Journal
Time To Get Accountable – No More Backing Out
Double Your Chances Of Success – Find A Partner In Crime
Stick To Your Goals For Life – Make It A Habit
Stop Thinking Of Your Goals As Resolutions
Did you make a New Year’s Resolution this year? What about next year? Have you got one lined up?
I never do. In fact, I am allergic to New Year's Resolutions. I refuse to buy into this New Year stuff because all I see is people jumping onto a bandwagon of failure.
Now, that is just my take on it. I prefer to think about my heart's desires in the previous year's final quarter. In this way, I am in the energy of the following year and laying foundations.
Why not ditch the resolutions and make some smarter goals that you want to reach instead?
But before we go on, resolutions may work for you, and if they do, carry on. This is more for those of us who need to work differently.
Resolutions Don’t Work Because…
There are several reasons why resolutions may not work well for you. Here are three for starters:
Lack of Specificity
Many resolutions are too vague or general. When people set broad goals like "lose weight", "get in shape," or “write a book”, they lack clear, actionable steps to follow. Without specific details and a well-defined plan, it's easy to lose motivation and direction.
What kind of book? When does it need to be published? When will you have the outline completed? How much weight do you want to lose, and in what timeframe? When do you want to quit smoking, and how will you get there? What does it mean to you to be in shape?
How much money do you want to have in the bank, and what do you want to save it for?
Successful resolutions are more effective when turned into heart’s desires then SMARTER goals, which provide clarity and a sense of purpose.
Unrealistic expectations are a common reason for resolution failure. Setting overly ambitious goals or expecting dramatic results can lead to frustration and disappointment. For example, someone aiming to write a book in 30 days may not have the time or knowledge to achieve this in such a short time span.
Anyone setting a big, hairy, audacious goal of losing lots of weight in a month will likely face setbacks and ultimately abandon their resolution. And wouldn’t it be better to aim for better health – just my humble opinion.
Setting attainable goals based on something you truly desire is important, and recognising that meaningful change often takes time and consistent effort is crucial.
Lack of Accountability and Support
Many people struggle to stick to their resolutions because they lack accountability and support. More often, resolutions are kept private or talked about in a throwaway manner so there's no external pressure to follow through.
Sharing your goals, on the other hand, with friends, family, a support group or a mentor can provide motivation and a sense of responsibility to stay on track. Having a support system in place can offer guidance and encouragement and help overcome challenges that may arise. Plus, when you set goals normally, these are written down and broken into chunks.
We’re so used to breaking our resolutions that we think it is OK to try a little and then give up. It’s a mindset thing. A goal, on the other hand, particularly if it’s a smarter goal (more on that in a minute), is something we believe we can reach. That makes us work a little harder and not give up on the end goal.
Setting SMARTER Goals
A goal based on a heart’s desires is more likely to be followed up on, particularly if it's a smarter goal. Goals allow you to be a lot more specific. You can set attainable goals with a deadline and milestones or mini-goals along the way. That’s what makes a goal a smarter goal.
It’s fine to make a goal or call it a resolution if you’d like at the beginning of the year. Just don’t stop there. Be more specific. What’s the goal you’d like to reach? Put down a number or describe what your end goal looks like. When do you want to reach your goal by? It could be December 31st, but it doesn’t have to be.
Next, set some mini-goals. If you have a big goal, like writing a book during the coming year, set mini goals of writing a certain amount each week. Check in every couple of weeks and make sure you’re still on track. If you can, get ahead of schedule. Things will happen: you’ll get sick, a project will come in to distract you, etc. Getting ahead of your goal schedule gives you a bit of a buffer to work with. And all this tracking will help you keep accountable and get what you most desire.
Here's how you do it.
Step one - Be more specific
Goals are specific. You can set achievable goals with a deadline and milestones or mini-goals. Then, you can have mini successes which will keep you motivated. There’s a common misconception that motivation precedes action. In reality, the reverse is often true.
As you start taking steps towards your aspirations, no matter how minor, you’ll find that the momentum built by these actions fuels your motivation. Every task you complete and milestone you achieve is a motivational booster, driving you to pursue bigger goals.
What’s the goal you’d like to reach? Put down a number or describe what your end goal looks like. When do you want to reach your goal? How will you feel when you achieve your goal?
Next, set some mini-goals. If you have a big goal like writing a book, set mini-goals instead of writing a series of blogs or a chapter monthly. Check in every couple of weeks and make sure you’re still on track. If you can, get ahead of schedule.
Things will happen; you’ll get sick, or something else will demand your time. Getting ahead of your goal schedule gives you a bit of a buffer to work with. And all this tracking in your journal will help you keep accountable and on track.
From Resolution to Goal: I will write a historical fiction novel based on the life of Cleopatra
Set two - Measurable
You must be able to track progress and measure the result of your goal. A good goal statement answers the question of how much or how many. How will I know when I have achieved my goal? Write this in your journal. Perhaps create a grid of what you are tracking and tick things off.
Goal: I will write 80,000 words and complete the manuscript in 10 months
Step three – Achievable
Your goal must be achievable with a little stretch in it. There is little point in creating something that is way beyond your reach. In your journal, ask yourself - is your goal achievable?
Goal: I'll write 2,000 words weekly, dedicating 10 hours each week to the process
Step four – Realistic/Relevant
Your goal should be stretching but realistic and relevant to you. Make sure the actions you need to take to achieve your goal are things within your control.
Goal Check: Does this book align with your personal or professional aspirations? If yes, it's relevant.
Check in with yourself. Do you feel any resistance? This is telling you that something is not quite right. Explore and then check in again.
Step five - Time-Bound
Goals must have a deadline. A good goal statement will answer the question, when will I achieve my goal? Without time limits, it’s easy to put goals off and leave them to die. As well as a deadline, setting some short-term milestones to help you measure progress is a good idea. So, when will you get your first draft done?
Goal: By the end of 10 months, my manuscript will be ready for editing
Step six - Evaluate
Periodically review and adjust your goals. Which makes sense as things can change.
Evaluation Process: Monthly, assess your word count and the quality of content. If you're falling behind, identify the challenges and adjust accordingly.
Step seven - Readjust
Flexibility is essential. If you find something isn't working, tweak your goals.
Re-adjustment Scenario: If a month is particularly busy and you can't dedicate 10 hours each week, adjust your word count for that month and make up for it in subsequent months.
Journal it: Turn your heart desires into SMARTER goals, mini goals and the steps needed to achieve your outcome. Reflect and rewrite until it feels real, aligned and achievable. Make a list of what daily actions you need to take to help you get what you want. Tick them off as you do them, and add your success and celebrations to the end of your journal.
Grab your journal here.