When you decide that you want to live a more productive, fulfilling, and successful life, the first thing you should do is grab a pen and paper and set some goals.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that simply setting goals is the easy part of improving your life – and it’s actually not very useful unless you strategize about how to achieve those goals.
Here are 15 absolutely bulletproof goal-setting strategies that will ensure you get what you want out of life, starting today!
If you want to achieve your goals, you’ll need to be disciplined. Accomplishing your goals will require hard work. If you want to be an Olympic swimmer, you’ll need to get up early for training and commit to healthy eating.
When studying for your Ph.D., you’ll have to limit your Netflix consumption and motivate yourself to open your books. This comes with practice, so start today!
Setting broad and unspecific goals such as ‘become a professional ballet dancer’ is not very helpful. Instead, you should set more specific, achievable goals.
It’s fine to have high-level goals, but having smaller, specific steps to complete such as ‘audition for X part’ or ‘sign up for extra ballet classes’ will make your goal seem more manageable and make you more likely to actively achieve it.
Beyond your specific goals, you should also have a concrete, step-by-step, detailed plan. Your plan should include dates by which you want to have achieved each step and how you will do it.
If getting your degree involves completing a big assignment, for example, make a daily plan of how many words you need to write and when each draft should be completed by.
Do you have bad habits that get in the way of your productivity? Now is the time to leave these behind. For instance, if you’re training for a marathon but have developed an unhealthy habit of eating fatty ready meals every night, you should make a commitment now to change your eating habits.
Any habits that are standing in the way of your goals need to go.
Your goals should not only be long-term. You need to have daily goals to complete to ensure you keep progressing towards your ultimate aim. Every morning, or each night before you go to sleep, make a to-do list with constructive tasks to check off.
Do you have a tendency to accidentally binge-watch entire seasons of Ru Paul’s Drag Race when you’re supposed to be working? If practicing self-discipline isn’t working, you might need to remove the distraction altogether.
That might involve deactivating your Netflix account or telling your friends not to call you during certain hours to make sure you get things done.
Studies have shown that we are most productive early in the morning, so you should definitely consider waking up earlier. You don’t have to suddenly go from waking up at 9 to waking up at 5 am – just wake up 15 minutes earlier each day until you’re where you want to be.
It can be hard to hear critiques of our work or performance, but criticism is actually essential if you want to improve. After all, if you never receive criticism, how will you know that you can do better? The truth is, there’s always room for improvement.
Even the smartest people can get smarter and elite athletes can still get stronger. So welcome criticism with open arms and see it as an opportunity to grow.
If you think the best way to meet your goals is to work tirelessly from 8 am to 2 am every day, think again. Success is about working smarter, not harder.
The Pareto Principle dictates that 80% of results come from 20% of our efforts. So, you need to identify the areas of effort that are likely to yield the most results and work from there.
Never underestimate the importance of inspiration when it comes to achieving your goals. That doesn’t mean you should spend hours on Pinterest and fool yourself into thinking this is productive – but if you find your motivation diminishing, taking time to get re-inspired can be really useful.
Whether that means putting up posters of your inspirational person or reading some motivational quotes, remind yourself of what inspired you to pursue your goal in the first place.
If you find that time seems to slip away from you during the day, you need to manage your time better. Planning out your day in time slots can be helpful, as can setting timers to let you know when it’s time to move from one task to another.
If you’re taking a break (which you should be throughout the day), make sure to time this, too.
No, creating a third mood board for your next creative project is not being productive, it’s procrastinating.
Here’s a tip: when you choose to prioritize one task over another, ask yourself if it’s because it’s more important or more low-effort. If the honest answer is the second one, use your self-discipline skills to make a better choice.
So, you didn’t get that job offer, or someone else landed the role you auditioned for. You might be disappointed or even sad, and that’s normal and healthy – to an extent. But you need to learn to bounce back and accept failure as a part of life.
Failing at something means that you tried, which is what’s really essential. The more you fail, the more you learn, and the closer you are to success.
If you can speak to and confide in someone who has experience in pursuing the same goals as you, do it! Involving someone with experience in your decision-making process and having a list of questions to ask will maximize your chances of hitting your goals.
Every now and again, check in with yourself (and your plan and to-do lists) to see if you’re making the progress you wanted.
If so, this monitoring will give you something to celebrate and an opportunity to create new, positive goals. If not, it can be a wake-up call to incorporate more of the steps on this list into your routine.
No matter how ambitious your goals are, know that they are within your reach! All you have to do is use the goal-setting strategies we’ve shared with you today and adopt a positive mindset. You’ll be making more progress than you ever imagined before you know it!