How to Set Goals and Keep Them
Deciding that you want to do something is one thing, doing it is another. High up on my list of flaws is the daunting truth that I am notorious for being a dreamer and not so much a doer. I hate the idea of failing so much that it has hindered me from not only completing even the smallest of goals, but also from making them in the first place. Growing up in a small town in the middle-of-nowhere, Iowa, it was easy to be content with mediocre. I always just accepted that mediocre was who I was. I was wrong. No matter what chains tie you down to the idea that you are mediocre, that you can't accomplish great things, they are a lie. Here are some steps that I started taking to break free from the chains that hindered me from dreaming and then doing.
Ask yourself why you're afraid of it. What even is failing? And what's so scary about it? Why is this particular dream or goal so scary to you? Write it out. Most of the time getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper helps you realize what your fears are and if they're rational. When I started modeling, I was terrified because I wanted it so badly and I didn't know if I could do it. When I started to express my fears, I realized they weren't worth giving up following my dream for. The first step is always the hardest. Acknowledge and overcome the things that keep you from taking that first step.
Break it down. Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to accomplish everything at once. Develop a system that works for you. I like to break my goals down into difficulty level and then timelines based on that difficulty. If a goal I want to accomplish is harder, I break it down into smaller steps and give myself more time to accomplish it. It's helpful to set goals on a timeline; ten years, five years, two years, etc. Try not to set goals that are out of your control.
Two years ago I set a goal to be married by twenty-five. How ridiculous! A more achievable goal would be to take steps to become a woman who would be a good wife.
If you wake up at 10 AM every morning and don't exercise, setting a goal to wake up every morning at 6 AM and run 3 miles probably won't end in success (unless you have insane will power, and in that case, you go girl!) Setting goals that are out of reach will become too overwhelming and are easier to give up on. Don't be afraid to take your time! Think outside the box and change your perspective.
Give up the need for immediate results. We live in an instant gratification centered culture. We want and then we get and often times there is no waiting and no effort involved. If you want to do great things, it will take time. You won't get a six pack from working out once, you won't have a successful business the day after you come up with a brilliant idea. Let go of the need to be an instant success. Even Justin Bieber's "overnight stardom" wasn't so overnight. All the obstacles, time, and effort put into achieving your dreams will make them that much sweeter when accomplished.
Performance vs. outcome. Measure your performance, not the outcome. Your success isn't based on the milestones but your effort on the way. You can't control the outcome of anything, but you can control your performance. If you're happy with your consistency and hard work, thats an accomplishment in itself! Doing nothing gets you nowhere. Hard work pays off, even if it doesn't always look how you want it to. If you're diligent about working hard, you can accomplish anything.
Don't base your happiness on milestones. My dream was to be a model. I've wanted this job since I was sixteen. I work really hard, but I'm not a supermodel. I don't think I'm a failure because I'm not walking the Victoria's Secret fashion show. If I based my happiness and the definition of my success on milestones, I would never be happy. There will always be a higher goal to reach. Reaching milestones will not fulfill you because there will always be another one to hit. There will always be something better, there will always be more. Most of your life will be spent in the stride to reach the milestones. If you're not happy until you reach one, you will be perpetually unhappy. It's the in between, the journey, that really counts. I may never be a Victoria's Secret model, but I will be something else, and I'm proud of how far I've come regardless.
Celebrate yourself today! Don't dwell how far you have to go, but be proud of how far you've come!