After one year of reading self-help and steadily but slowly improving myself, I decided to write an article for my own reference compiling the most effective strategies that had worked for me towards achieving my resolutions and how to use them properly. Since using these strategies (it’s been more than a year now) my life has improved so drastically that I’ve decided to share the knowledge with you.
How to Accomplish Your Life Goals
1) Write down your exact goal and why you want to achieve it:
Just deciding in your head on a goal is meaningless. It takes two seconds to write down your life goals and the difference in success is gigantic.
Open a word document or get a notebook and write down a goal that is within your power. “I want to lose weight” is not a goal. “I want to eat 1500 calories a day and do a 30 minute lifting workout 3 times a week” is a goal.
Please understand that you are not going to suddenly eat 1500 calories a day and start exercising three times a week if you’re not in the habit of eating well and exercising. You will work up to the goal of eating 1500 calories a day and going to the gym 3 times a week. So the goal is the habit itself. The goal should not be a result but a habit that will lead to a result. This is the only way to make the life change permanent.
Then write down all the reasons why you want to achieve this goal.
For instance if you want to lose weight you might write down:
I want to lose weight by eating 1500 calories a day and lifting for 30 minutes 3 times a week because . . .
(1) I want to feel confident about my body
(2) I want to buy what I actually like in stores
(3) I want want to BE HEALTHY !!
2) Start with the tiniest action step and build up to your goal:
If you try to change your habits too fast it will inevitably feel painful and then you will give up. Make every short-term goal as completely painless as you have to. The only thing that matters is that you keep redefining normal, however slightly.
Start with a 10 minute workout. A 5 minute workout. Only do it once a week. Do it in the comfort of your living room. But keep doing it and when it begins to feel normal, make the workout ever so slightly longer or more frequent. Try to do it step by step. Remember if you want a permanent change, what’s important is the habit!
3) Constantly write down super specific reasons for why you want to achieve your long-term goal
Every time something makes you feel like you want to lose weight, write that thing down in your goal document. Your motivations could be big or little. You saw a girl at the mall and wished she would notice you. You want to join the army. You felt self-conscious at the beach. You want your kids to have a physically fit role model. You saw a shirt you really liked and wished you didn’t have man boobs.
The reason for doing this is that your reasons for wanting to achieve a goal often change and you want to keep an updated list of your motivations. When you have a spare moment, read your list.
Note: No matter how powerful your motivations feel, keep the action steps painless. Your motivation will go up and down all the time. Sometimes you’ll persist because you feel very motivated and sometimes you’ll persist because the actions steps are just so damn easy. Make sure you always have both on your side. Just because your actions steps feel easy doesn’t mean you don’t have to write down your motivations anymore. Just because you feel very motivated doesn’t mean you can make the action steps harder or stop writing them down. Do both always.
I’m going to say this again:
IF YOU DON’T START A GOAL DOCUMENT AND WRITE DOWN
A) THE GOAL HABIT YOU WANT TO DEVELOP
B) WHY YOU WANT TO DEVELOP THAT HABIT
C) YOUR TINY ACTION STEPS TO GET TO YOUR GOAL AND
D) YOUR LATEST SUPER SPECIFIC MOTIVATIONS FOR WANTING TO GET THAT GOAL
YOU WILL NOT GET ANYWHERE.
4) Create a system of constant rewards:
Create proportional rewards for every accomplishment. Completed your action step of studying 10 minutes tonight? Play a video game on your phone as a reward. DO NOT PLAY THE VIDEO GAME EVER UNLESS YOU ACTUALLY DO THE ACTION STEP. Use a reward that you actually want (spend a good amount of time thinking about this), and never reward yourself unless you complete that goal.
Create larger rewards for larger accomplishments. Studied for 10 minutes every night for the whole week? Go out drinking with your friends. DO NOT GO OUT DRINKING IF YOU DID NOT STICK TO THE GOAL THE ENTIRE WEEK. Cancel plans if you have to. Absolutely do not reward yourself if you don’t complete the task.
Followed your diet for a whole month? Or a whole month with only two bad days? (Or whatever you wrote down as a criteria for a monthly reward). Splurge on some expensive toy you’ve been eyeing. Go see a sports game. Whatever you decide (always decide beforehand what your goal will be), don’t indulge in that reward unless you’ve accomplished your goal.
When you reach the long-term goal you wrote down in the beginning, it’s time to go all out on the reward. You hit your big goal buddy. Go somewhere for a weekend. Take a spa day. Travel to an event where your favorite celebrity is appearing and meet that person. Tell him or her about the goal you just accomplished. It’s an awesome awesome feeling. Then, after you reward yourself, set a new goal and begin developing an action step plan to hit it.
Eventually your life becomes a constant rhythm of writing down new life goals and following new action steps until they become normal. And it’s not hard at all because you’ve simply adjusted to this way of life painlessly over a period of time. Although you’ll eventually be able to work on many diverse goals at once, begin with just one goal at a time. Just like with the goals themselves, add new life goals gradually. Focus on one goal for two months and then another goal for another two months. Then focus on two goals for two months. Then three life goals for two months. Etc. etc.
Right now you have no idea how much potential you have. Start using this system and remember the equation for achieving any goal is writing down your motivations + taking tiny, painless action steps + rewarding yourself constantly.