6 Tricks to Reaching Your Goals

Since ultimately, New Year’s resolutions are just personal goals. If you don’t know how to set and achieve your goals, your New Year’s resolutions will be doomed from the start. So let’s talk about 6 simple tricks to reaching your goals.

Big Picture: If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t know when you get there. So a great starting point for setting goals is to think about the big picture. Are you trying to lose weight? Get a job? Find a significant other? Get a promotion? Buy a new home? With every goal, make sure you know what the end looks like before you do anything else.

Be Specific: A lot of people make generic goals. I want to be happy. I want to lose weight. I want to make more money. But generic goals aren’t really goals at all. They are more like wishful thinking. Sort of like a commercial I saw a while back where a guy finds a genie in a lamp and makes a wish for “a million bucks.” So the genie gives him a million male deer. HA! Obviously, he should have been more specific.

So when you make your goals, be clear about what you want. I want to lose 10 lbs of fat is a much better goal than I want to lose weight. It’s possible to just cut your leg off and lose weight, but that probably isn’t what you really want. So be specific.

Small Bites: The big picture is a great starting point, but you have break it up into smaller pieces. This reminds me of the question “How you eat an elephant?” The answer is one bite at a time.

The big picture is your elephant but breaking down your goals is like cutting that elephant into bite-sized pieces so you can handle it. So for instance, if you have 100 lbs to lose, break that down into 90-day goals, 30-day goals and daily action steps. You can’t lose 100 lbs of fat before you lose 5 lbs of fat. Trying to eat your elephant all at once is just going to lead to discouragement and burnout.

Rewards: Reaching your big picture goals isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time. That’s why breaking it up into smaller bites is a good idea. Along the same lines, big wins always come after small wins. So celebrating the small wins along the way will make your journey a lot more enjoyable.

Like I said before, you can’t lose 100 lbs of fat before you lose 5 lbs of fat. So celebrate the 5 lbs. Celebrate achieving those 90-day goals, 30-day goals and accomplishing your daily action steps. Before you know it, those little wins will turn into big wins.

Accountability: Change and personal growth can be challenging. You will inevitably have a bad day and get discouraged. You may even quite. That’s OK. It happens to the best of us.

That’s why you need people in your life who are going to help pick you up. You are not an island and you were never meant to do everything yourself. Surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable, encourage you and pick you up when you are down. Maybe it’s a friend or a family member. Maybe it’s a personal trainer or your chiropractor. But having people in your life to hold you accountable and encourage you, is critically important to your success.

Self-Talk: There have been studies done that have suggested that people that go around talking about what they are “going to do” are less likely to achieve it. That may sound strange, but the reasoning is that when you tell people about the good things you want to accomplish, the positive reinforcement you get from the person you are telling actually sets off the reward centers in your brain. Very similar to the stimulus you get if you were to actually accomplish the goal. But you haven’t done anything but talk about it.

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t speak your goals. There is a lot of power in words and hearing yourself say what you are going to do is important. But that can actually be done in private, by yourself. It may sound strange at first, but you should try standing in the mirror and telling yourself what you are going to do. Hearing and seeing yourself speak your goals, can help with your resolve. 

And keeping quiet doesn’t apply to your accountability partners. You need to tell them your goals. But they are there to help keep you on task and encourage you when you get discouraged. They are not there to pat you on the back for only talking about your goals. So talking to your accountability partners about your goals shouldn’t prematurely set off any reward centers in your brain. It should help you stay focused.

Final Thought: I want to end with an encouraging word. If you are like most people, you probably don’t give yourself enough credit. But regardless of your age, history, disability, family, friends or finances, you can be better. You can do much more than you even think is possible. If someone (including yourself) has told you otherwise…that’s a LIE. You can do it!

ASK: If for some reason you don’t know where to start…ASK someone. There are doctors, trainers, therapists, friends and possibly even family near you that would gladly help you reach your goals.