How To Set--And Actually Accomplish--Meaningful Goals

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June 4, 2015

We’ve all done it–heck, we all do it every January. There probably isn’t a woman out there who hasn’t loosely set a goal that she’d like to accomplish only to let it fall by the wayside after just a few weeks (or days). But where’s the fulfillment in that? How discouraging is it to constantly “commit” to doing something only to realize you aren’t actually doing that thing.

I recently went to a goal-setting workshop sponsored by Marshalls and it was truly game-changing. There are really only a few things you need to do differently to change a goal from a pipedream to a reality. Before we get into that, though, let’s just clarify that there are actually two different types of goals. Natural goals enhance your everyday life by adding excitement to things you already do (think cooking or working out more), while dare goals challenge and create major change in your life, such as pursing a new career or learning anew instrument. With that out of the way, here’s what life coach Lauren Zander recommends for setting goals–and actually accomplishing them!

Put It In Writing. Write that goal down… in pen! Be specific about what you want to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it. For example, instead of just saying you are going to lose weight, specify how you will do it.

Break It Down: Break your goal up into smaller, more realistic steps. It typically takes 21 days to make something a habit, so set deadlines to make your dream a reality.

Exorcise the Excuses: Think about the excuses you make to yourself that may get in the way. Write them down and call yourself out whenever you start to go to the dark side.

Put Aside Your Ego: When you try something new, you can’t expect to be great at it. Don’t let mistakes stop you–confidence comes with practice.

Create a Tagline: Your dream deserves a mantra, chanting your tagline will motivate you to keep moving forward! For example, if you’re looking for a partner, every time you talk yourself out of going out or accepting a date invite, repeat to yourself “I met him!” to remind yourself of the end game.

Socialize Your Status: Share your dream with the (social) world! There’s no better way to be held accountable than by making a promise to others. Facebook is a great place to share your goal and status updates.

Buddy Up: Find a buddy who will support you along the way. Push comes from a promise and a promise made to someone else is harder to break.

Accessorize It: Make sure you have the tools to give you the confidence going in. Whether it’s new fitness gear to kick start your weight loss plan or a revamped power wardrobe to propel you towards that promotion, you can head to Marshalls to find the items you need to look and feel your best as you pursue your goals.

Face the Music: Implement self-imposed consequences. If you don’t go to the gym three days a week, no wine on Fridays. That’ll get you to the gym on time!

What goals do you have for yourself? As Lauren said, one of the keys to accomplishing a goal is publicizing it, so share in the comments!

Be sure to check out 5 commencement speeches with good advice for everyone, plus 5 fruits that taste better grilled.

 

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