How to Set Goals + Actually Stick to Them

Tips to Achieve Your Goals, How to Set Goals, Meet Your Goals, Lifestyle Blogger, College Blogger, How to Stay Organized, Goal Action Steps, Break Down Goals, Crush Your Goals

It's easy to set goals, but actually sticking to them is another thing. I wanted to share some tips and techniques I am going to be using myself the rest of this year and into the new year to help me achieve my goals. First things first, set some goals. Think about what you want to accomplish next month, next year, and in the next 20 years. Just because the year is halfway over doesn't mean it's too late to set goals for this year. What do you need to do to make those goals a reality?  After you have some goals committed to paper, read on to learn how you can actually stick to them:

Motivate yourself! Dig deep down to figure out what your reason for wanting to achieve a certain goal is. For example, I'd love to own my own Certified Financial Planning business one day and work from home. My reason for wanting this is to have flexibility in my life and to have the freedom to be able to be home while my theoretical children grow up. This is a big, longer-term goal, but it works for small goals as well. Whenever I'm down on myself or feeling unmotivated, I picture myself at 40 in my home office working for myself while my kids play in the next room over. Picturing the end result of your goals makes it so much easier to stay motivated. Another example would be buying my dream purse. This is a short-term goal, and all I need to accomplish it is saved money. Sometimes I get annoyed at not being able to eat out much and having to cut back on coffee, but then I remember why I'm doing it - so I can buy my dream purse.

Make your goals visible. There are so many ways you can make your goals visible. Make a vision board, write them on a dry-erase board, or write them on sticky notes and stick them to your bathroom mirror. You can also write them in your planner, jot them down in a note on your phone, or make them the home screen of your phone! If you see them every day, you are more likely to keep them in the forefront of your mind.

Set long-term and short-term goals. Some goals can be accomplished in days, and some take years. Don't limit yourself to just long-term or just short-term goals. Don't just limit yourself to what you can accomplish in a few weeks. Even though some long-term goals seem unattainable, you can work towards them in small steps. After you have a list of your goals, decide which are most important for you to achieve and start there. Prioritizing your long and short-term goals will start you along the path to success. 

Break down goals into smaller, more manageable pieces. By creating "action steps," you will have a much easier time staying on track. You can also set a "due date" for each action step. This gives you some structure. Here's a basic example of one of my goals:

          Big goal: Own my own Certified Financial Planning Business
          Action Step 1: Research the major, see if my college offers this major, enroll in classes
          Action Step 2: Complete my coursework, graduate with a Financial Planning degree
          Action Step 3: Research and interview with several banks and financial planning companies
          Action Step 4: Land my first job/internship in the finance industry, work for 3 years
          Action Step 5: Study, study, study for the exam I'm finally eligible to take
          Action Step 6: Pass the CFP Exam
          Action Step7: Continue to work for hopefully the same company, build up clientele
          Action Step 6: Start my own CFP business, work for myself

Review, review, review. By reviewing your goals, they stay fresh at the top of your mind. This is one of the most important steps towards reaching your goals. Even if you don't have time to review them daily, schedule some time on your calendar to do a weekly or monthly review. It's okay to update your goals as your life and priorities change. Periodically reviewing your goals will help you keep them up-to-date and re-motivate you.

Tips to Achieve Your Goals, How to Set Goals, Meet Your Goals, Lifestyle Blogger, College Blogger, How to Stay Organized, Goal Action Steps, Break Down Goals, Crush Your Goals

Use a planner. If you've been here for long, you know that I am OBSESSED with planners and organization. I stand by my opinion that planners are the number one tool you can use to help get your life together. They are so simple to use, but they will change your life. I've used a lot of planners in my life, so I have tons of tips and tricks. HERE, HERE, and HERE are some previous posts I've done on planning. I am SO excited to start using my new Erin Condren Life Planner in a few weeks. Erin Condren products are my favorite ever - I will never go back to a different planner brand. If you sign up for an account on their website, you will receive a $10 off code to your inbox that you can use on your first purchase! You can do that HERE. Stay on the lookout for a full post on my Erin Condren Life Planner. One way to use a planner to help reach your goals is to add in some small tasks throughout your days that will help you towards your goals. For example, on Monday, I could spend 30 minutes researching ways to study for the CFP exam. It seems small, but it would help me move that much closer to my goal of owning my own Certified Financial Planning business.

Set up systems. There are certain systems that can help you stick to your goals. For example, if my goal is to save up enough money to buy a house, there are some systems I can set up to help. I can go to the bank and have a certain dollar amount of every deposit automatically transferred into my savings account. Or, I can add a category into my monthly budget to increase how much I'm saving for my house. Systems take the stress out of having to constantly think about the logistics of how you are going to save enough money to meet your goals, it automates it for you.

Reward Yourself. Be sure to reward yourself when you reach a milestone in your goal-reaching process. There are obviously plenty of ways you can reward yourself. My favorites are shopping, getting my nails done, or going to my favorite place to eat. An example of how powerful this can be is: Say I set a goal to lose 50 pounds. I broke it down into the following tiers: After I lose 10 pounds, I will buy myself a new sports bra. After I lose 20 pounds total, I'll buy myself new leggings. After 30 pounds, I'll get new sneakers. And so on and so on. These "tiers" help keep you motivated to keep pushing towards the end goal by constantly giving you something to look forward to.

Tips to Achieve Your Goals, How to Set Goals, Meet Your Goals, Lifestyle Blogger, College Blogger, How to Stay Organized, Goal Action Steps, Break Down Goals, Crush Your Goals

Build a Support Network. It's hard to do anything in life without support. Achieving your goals is no exception. Once you have your goals set, share them with your friends, family, boyfriend, social media following, whoever! By doing this, the people in your life are likely to hold you accountable. Your mom might ask, "How's that weight loss goal going?" or your friend might bring up your goal to buy a new car in conversation. Frequently being reminded about your goals makes you more likely to achieve them and keeps you motivated.

Don't stop. Some days, life happens. It's impossible to stay motivated every single day. Whatever you do, remember that tomorrow is a new day. Don't throw away your goals and give up because of one (or two) bad days. You can do it!

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