Put those goals into action

action-before-motivationAfter your have written down your “S M A R T” goals.  The next step and perhaps the most important step is to take action to make those dreams and goals a reality.

Take the first step

This may come as a surprise to you but motivation comes AFTER action, not before.

If you have been waiting to wake up one morning and feel motivated to get started, you are actually more likely to keep procrastinating. When you set a goal that challenges you, there will be some things that you may not enjoy doing. You will probably need to force yourself to do a little something to create the momentum to take the next step and the next.

Remember in my blog I wrote that you needed a goal that motivates you?  It would have been more accurate to say you need a goal that inspires you.  It’s the inspiration that gets you taking action, then that action sparks the motivation to take more action.

I often find that the hardest part of writing an assignment for many clients is making a start.  Instead of  feeling stuck while staring at a blank computer screen, just simply start typing.  If no ideas come, just type randomly, until ideas start to form.   Once you have some rough notes and ideas, taking the next step of building on those ideas becomes easier.
It is important to take the first step, it can be a small and relatively simple step, JUST DO IT!

cycling-familyEliminate excuses

“I don’t have enough money” “I don’t have enough time” are excuses not reasons for not achieving your goals.   For every excuse there’s a solution you need to find, i.e.  You don’t FIND the time you MAKE the time.

If you have trouble finding time to exercise because you have small children, find exercise you can do with your children.  Put your baby in a pram and go out for a walk, put a child seat on your bicycle, run on the spot or do star jumps in the water while you play with your children in the pool, participate and play with your kids at the playground instead of sitting back and watching, walk or run around the field while your kids are at footy training.  Ok, you may not develop enough fitness to run a marathon, but you will be fitter (and firmer) than if you just sat back and watched.

Every time you hear yourself making an excuse for not achieving your goal, train yourself to start looking for the solution and then put it into practice.

Set yourself up to achieve

Be organised and make a plan.  The old adage “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” is very true.

If you have set a goal to cut down the sugar in your diet, you would need to do some research to plan out a new menu, shop for the new food items and clean out the sugary food items in your cupboard.  Work out the strategies you will need when sugar cravings hit so you’re prepared.

If you are planning to hit the gym every night after work, it’s a good idea to take your exercise outfit and accessories to work with you, so you can drive straight to the gym, get changed and start exercising.  If you have to think too much you will think of all the reasons not to go.  I personally find that if I go home with a plan to go to the gym later, the washing, preparing dinner or any other excuse become much more important than going to the gym.  One student told me her house had never been so clean as it was now she had started studying.

balinese-jungleStep by step

Sometimes we look at a big goal and it seems overwhelming and impossible to achieve, so break it down into smaller more manageable goals.
If, for example, your goal is to run a marathon by Christmas, some of your smaller ‘step by step’ goals might be; to research and sign up with a coach, establish a training plan, set a monthly distance and time target, and compete in a couple of smaller events.  Having several smaller goals, means each one is easier and gives you a feeling of achievement along the journey towards your major goal.  Remember, as with your big goals, keep the smaller goals S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time limited).
Start steady and build your skills and practices on a solid foundation so that you don’t burn out and give up on your goal early.  Going from doing no exercise to running 5km every day in the first week, would leave you sore, tired and prone to injury.  You would be better to find a training program that builds the distance you run gradually.
When working towards your goals try to create new habits or practices that will serve you well long after you have reached your goal.  If your goal is to write a book, the habit of sitting down and writing for two hours each night after the kids have gone to bed is a discipline that will serve you well for writing a second book or taking up a study program.  Focusing on the process, instead of only on the goal has the advantage of helping you to meet and exceed your goal.
If a step you’re doing doesn’t seem to be working, or you feel blocked or stuck, think of an alternative approach that will still move you forward. Or look for someone who has already achieved in the field you are working, to get some different ideas.

As you get close to your goal, set your next goal

winner

I remember a client who came to see me because in her last semester of her degree she found herself unable to focus on study, procrastinating assignments and generally sabotaging the completion of her degree.  We found that for the previous 3½ years her focus had been to complete her degree and as that completion loomed she had started to sabotage herself.  What she needed to do, was start planning what she would do once she had completed her degree.  I’m not saying that you need to keep driving yourself hard to achieve goal after goal, rest and relaxation is important too, but feeling stagnant is not a happy state to be in.

Celebrate your achievements

When you achieve your goals, whether they are your major goals or your smaller step by step goals don’t forget to celebrate.  Give yourself a pat on the back, the self recognition helps to keep you motivated and on track to the next goal.  Importantly, thank the people who have helped you along the way.

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