I'm pretty good at maintaining my health goals. Eat nutritiously? Yep, most of the time. Exercise? I've got my regular routine. But my other goals? Not so much.
There's the magazine I've been trying to launch, the radio show, new fitness concepts, and business ventures. However, something more pressing always seems to surface.
As it turns out, there are plenty of people like me that get trapped in a state of inertia. Some are perfectly content with where they are and see no need to reach higher. That's OK. Most of us are stuck because we're afraid to take risks and fail. Fear of failure may be attributed to lack of self confidence. We're convinced we don't have what it takes to be successful. The more we doubt ourselves, the less likely we are to pursue challenging goals.
So how do you stoke your confidence and become a goal-getter? Here are a few suggestions and strategies that I have used to overcome my fears:
- Get Real: "I've turned into a lazy person" is usually the response I get when I ask people what happened to the energy and willpower that they had during their twenties. I don't think that is true, I believe that most of us are juggling too many things. It's hard to have willpower or energy when you're putting out fires all day. That doesn't mean that you can't reach your goals. It's just a matter of being real and honest with yourself. Maybe you won't be able to write a book, build a website, and start a new hobby, you can, however, choose one, make it a priority, and push all the other to-dos lower on the list.
- Do the write thing: When you write out a goal, it gives your conscious and subconscious a chance to fully absorb your intention. Your objective becomes real and demands a commitment. The best way to move forward with a plan is to go public with it. Post your goal on the refrigerator, your mirror, or on your timeline. Each week, record your progress. You'll feel more motivated to persist, if people are watching.
- Make a plan: Strategizing works! If your aim is to lose 10 pounds, then one plan might be to eat grapes instead of cake. The more you practice your plan, the more it will become a habit.
- Hangout with goal-oriented people: Whether its being fit or happy, we pick up behaviors from those around us. Study after study suggest that when we spend time with people who act decisively to get what they want, we begin to pursue our own objectives in a similar manner. When people share a meaningful bond - such as workout buddies - they're more driven to achieve the similar goals. It takes discipline to get to the gym, which is why we'll exercise instead of sitting around once we're there. So I challenge you to spend more time hanging out with and bouncing ideas off your most "get-it-done" friends.
- Recognize the good and the bad: Visualize not only your goals but also the challenges you'll face while pursuing them. Anticipating speed bumps prepares you for the work that's necessary to achieve success.
- Be picky: Ask yourself, "What would I like to improve in my life right now? What do I most want to change?" The right goals are the ones that speak to those wishes and desires. They should be goals you really want to accomplish as opposed to milestones you pursue because you think you should. Goals that are personally satisfying are naturally motivating. With a sense of choice, you can apply yourself fully and become more resilient to setbacks.
- Break it down: Goals need to be broken into attainable chunks. You may want to consider working backwards through the steps of your goals to determine the what's necessary to be successful. This strategy will work for any objective, to include losing weight and switching careers. Finding a new job isn't so daunting if you focus on the smaller achievements that will get you there. Write down the steps as a checklist. Checking them off as you complete them keeps you motivated.
"Just do your best" is a cop-out to me. Studies have suggested that a specific directive like "Run an eight-minute mile" or "Increase sales by 10 percent" will motivate people to perform better than if they were told to run as fast as they can or boost sales as much as possible. The admonition "Do your best" is a recipe for mediocrity! I resolve to work on my goals for an hour every day! I challenge you to do the same.
Goal reaching is as much physics as it is psychology: An object in motion stays in motion. With my visions of a magazine, new website, and radio show, I have no intentions of stopping now!