Set Goals, Achieve Dreams

“To live a fulfilled life, we need to keep creating the "what is next", of our lives. Without dreams and goals there is no living, only merely existing, and that is not why we are here.” - Mark Twain

We hear it all the time – life is short. Over our lifetimes, many of us don’t achieve as much as we’d like to simply because we aren’t organised enough! Ambitions come and go, dreams are born and set aside, thoughts are put into the “Too Hard Basket,” and fleeting thoughts are cluttering up our minds while we try to sleep at night.

For some of us, being organised comes as naturally as breathing. For others, it is something that needs to be learned and practiced. There can be a lot of stress attached to this sort of thing, so if that’s you, I hope this helps you out! Being a naturally organised person, I feel confident in saying that the first step to master is Goal-Setting.

Why are goals so important? 

In a word, Inspiration. You know how good it feels to have a holiday booked for the near future? Having something to look forward to helps you get through the day in a much better mindset. When you’re working hard, it’s helpful to think about that house you’re saving for. When you’re pushing through your workout, it’s easier when you’re thinking of those jeans you want to fit into. Humans are goal-oriented beings.

Goals are also important because they take a big thing, and break it down into manageable chunks. It’s that familiar saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” What if you don’t like the taste of elephant? Break it down even further until it’s an easy pill to swallow. If something seems too hard, just keep breaking it down until you can manage it. Eventually, you will finish!

That’s the why, here’s the how.

Before you can set goals, you need to take time to DREAM. Sit quietly and think seriously about what you wish to achieve, where you want to go, who you want to be. If you’re super creative, you can use coloured pens or paint and express your dream in a way that makes sense to you. Otherwise, you can just grab a pen and write things down as they come.

It’s important to catch the ideas that are flying around and make them solid, clear, and something to refer back to and keep you inspired. If you want to buy a house, draw the one you want and stick it on the fridge. If you want to lose weight, buy some clothes the size you want to be and hang them in your wardrobe so you are reminded every day why you’re sticking to that diet! 

So many New Year’s Resolutions fail because people confuse dreams with goals. The one I hear so often is “My goal is to lose weight!” Well…that’s a great dream, but it’s not specific enough for a goal. That needs to be broken down into clear, manageable tasks, otherwise it’s still just an idea floating around your head, and it will dissolve when you try to tackle the whole elephant. Even if you change it to, “My goal is to go to the gym three times a week this year,” you need to break it down into little steps to determine just how you’re going to make that happen. i.e. Have permanent alarms set for certain days to go to the gym, ask a friend to keep you accountable, join a gym, buy running shoes.

Break it down!

Once you have your dream and your goals, you may like to divide your goals further and set up checkpoints. So, if you want to lose weight (dream), and you want to lose 12kg this year (goal), and you want to achieve that by good diet (goal), and exercise (goal), you can take those goals and do something like this: Lose 1kg each month, make your own lunch to take to work, get up early and go for a 30 minute walk each morning. At the end of each month, check to see that you’ve lost 1kg, stuck to your diet, and gone for your walks. Decide how you’re going to reward yourself if you succeed at each checkpoint, and if you didn’t succeed, make sure you go back to that original dream and double your efforts for round 2. It’s way easier to lose 1kg each month than to lose 12kg in one year.

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” – Henry David Thoreau

You are not alone!

Find someone to encourage you and ask you how you’re going with your goals. It’s easy to quietly sweep it under the rug if you’re the only one who knows about it, but if you’ve got a cheer squad, you’re much more likely to stay on track, and even enjoy the process! We all thrive on success, so even if it’s a small win, it will still spur you on to keep going. So go for it! Dream big, break it down, break it down again, and have someone keep you accountable and celebrate your achievements with you.

I hope this is your best year yet! You can do it!