Last updated on January 1st, 2020 at 10:40 pm
Like right now–get out a piece of paper and a pencil.
Write down what your big dream is at the top of the paper. Write below your dream every single task that you can think of that you will need to do to achieve it.
For example, lets’ say you dream of running a marathon by the end of next year, but right now you can’t even walk down the block without sounding like you are gasping for your last breath.
The top of your paper might have the dream goal: Run a marathon by the end of next year. (Always put a completion date on your dream).
Then down your page, list tasks you feel you need to do to complete this dream:
• Start walking for 10 minutes every day and increase the time by 5 minutes every 7 days.
• Stop eating sugar.
• Lift weights twice a week.
• Buy hand weights.
• Buy cross-training shoes.
• Buy new sweats.
• Get protein drink recipes.
• Check out training coaches in my area.
• Cut back on drinking any sodas or alcohol.
• Drink 3 or more glasses of water a day.
• Subscribe to a running magazine.
• Find a work-out buddy or a meet-up group focusing on the same goal.
• Cut out photos of marathon runners and display them around my home.
• Register for a small marathon.
You keep listing the tasks that you think you need to complete to achieve this dream until you run out of ideas. Then get out a new piece of paper and write each goal as a positive statement like:
I will walk 10 minutes 7 days a week starting Monday [state date] at [state time].
If doing this goal in the morning will be difficult for you, go to bed in running clothes and put your shoes next to your bed. Move your alarm across the room so that you have to get out of bed to shut it off. Make yourself put on your shoes before you turn off your alarm.
5 Tips for Successful Goal Setting:
1. But before you take your first action steps, write your goals by priority.
Start with your most manageable tasks first, so you can build momentum as you complete them. If your beginning dream goals are too big or complicated, then you may put them off, or try them and give up because they seem like so much trouble.
Keep your starting dream tasks small and incremental.
2. Set a precise goal, with everything on your list.
For example, I will not eat any sugar on Mondays, Wednesdays Fridays, and Sundays from January 1 to February 1. Then I will change this to not eating sugar Monday through Friday, and Sunday, allowing only Sugar on Saturdays until March 1 when I will check-in and see if I can eliminate sugar from my diet.
3. Set back-up plans for your tasks to allow for worst-case scenarios.
Will you train when it is raining? Cold? When you are sick? What happens if you go to dinner at someone’s house and they offer you your favorite dessert on your non-sugar day?
Who will you call to motivate you when you want to quit? What happens if you get injured – how will you still train? You should take care to set up back-up plans for your tasks, so you have as much control as possible over your outcomes.
It can be frustrating to fail to achieve your dream for reasons beyond your control, or events where you didn’t have a back-up plan for something as simple as being sick with a cold for a week.
4. You may have to re-write your list a few times until you feel like you have a working plan.
Remember to set realistic tasks–tasks that are within your ability to achieve. Don’t tell yourself that you will walk for an hour your first day out when you haven’t done any exercising for 5 years. Start small. Give yourself a fighting chance.
Sometimes when you first begin to go after your dream, you may set goals that are too extreme for the level you are currently at because you may not appreciate the obstacles or understand how much skill you will need to acquire to achieve your ultimate dream.
5. And finally, don’t stress about your dream goals.
Start small. Reward yourself. Do something little for your dream today and celebrate it in some small way. Start a gratitude journal.
Be easy on yourself and remember: “Pain pushes until your vision pulls.”
In this video below, Early to Rise editor, Craig Ballantyne, shares the one thing to make every day a success.
Catherine Hughes is the editor and founder of 8WomenDream. She’s also a magazine columnist, content creator, blogger, published author, and former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine collaborates with companies to craft engaging web content and social media narratives. Her work, highlighting stories of the resilience and success of Northern California residents, appears in several print magazines. Outside of work, she treasures motherhood, her close friendships, rugby, and animals.
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