Why it is crucial to become crystal clear on what you want and why goals like “I want to get fit” usually fail.
My 2017 planner has a section each week where you can put in your goals and today I decided to look through each week to find out what I had accomplished so far and what I still need to work on (hint: a lot, but that’s okay because I think I just figured out why I was so unsuccessful with some things and incredibly successful reaching goals that weren’t even ON my list (e.g. I quit smoking, transitioning into a vegan diet etc).
So while I was looking at these goals I set for myself it was obvious they ALL were very general. Some examples are:
- get up early/sleep early
- take time to relax
- get your shit together
- work hard
- stay focused
- make more money
- stay positive
While these are good goals, for some reason I did not really achieve any or maybe I did but I didn’t notice because there is no way to check if I did or not.
Let me explain.
Let’s take the first one for example:
- get up early/sleep early.
So while I was fully aware that this was (and is) my goal, since I did not set clear conditions for myself it was very hard to stick to it and very unrewarding because I just thought “Well, I’ll just try and sleep/get up as early as possible and it’ll be fine.”
Nope, it wasn’t fine and nope, I didn’t. I half-assed it and told myself it’ll get better.
Bad news is: It won’t unless you make it better.
A better way to set this goal in my opinion would be:
- set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier each day starting at 8 am and working your way through to 6 am. Stick to it on week/workdays and allow yourself to sleep in a little on days off.
AND THEN very important is also to have some strategy behind it and really make clear what you need to do to make it happen and what you’re gonna do to reward yourself if you manage to stick to it.
HOW TO GET UP EARLY AND GO TO BED EARLIER
- get everything done before 8 pm
- plan your day ahead (To-do list, lay out clothes, meal prep…)
- turn off devices after 9:30 pm and start winding down
- establish a nighttime and morning routine and set time frames
- have someone that holds you accountable (wakes you up, texts you etc.)
- have a motivation to GET UP (exercise, delicious breakfast, getting things done earlier…)
Then make sure you add a reward to keep you extra motivated to stick to it, for example:
If I manage to push through and eventually get up at 6 am on workdays, I can go for dinner and drinks on the weekends and not feel bad if I sleep in or have a lazy day because I have been super productive all week.
Sounds good, right?
Now, IF you do oversleep one (or more) days… Don’t beat yourself up for it. This counts for EVERY goal. Beating yourself up only causes you to feel bad, get demotivated and give up trying.
INSTEAD: Keep your goal in mind and keep working for it and you’ll get there eventually, I believe in you if you do!
EDIT: The reason why I think I achieved other things that I didn’t necessarily had on my To-do list is that there was NO PRESSURE yet I knew EXACTLY what I wanted.
Now, Im not telling you to not write down goals but what I’m saying is some things simply take time. If you’re anything like me you will understand me saying if I would’ve tried to go cold turkey and quit smoking or become a vegan within 1 day I would have 100% failed. If I try and tell myself or get told not to do (or eat) something, the more I want it. Some people can go cold turkey and I admire that, but I knew I couldn’t and that’s okay. Good things take time. If you want to hear more about how I did manage to quit the nasty cigarettes and transition to veganism, stay tuned because I’m going to tell you all about it soon!
To finish it off, here’s my updated list of some of my goals:
- move your body at least 30 minutes everyday. Go to the gym x days a week for at least 1 h; on other days go for walks or do at-home workouts. Motivation: If I stick to my workout schedule I will feel amazing physically and mentally and I can eat lots of delicious healthy or not so healthy food without a worry in the world.
2. take time to relax:
- take at least one hour each day (preferably after dinner/before bed) to take care of yourself. (i.e. meditate, relax, journal, read, take care of my body…) This will help me feel better and recharge my batteries. On busy days, at least try and find 15 minutes to just stretch and breathe.
3. get your shit together:
- take a few minutes every night to tidy your room. Set a day each week to clean your apartment, meal prep, organize things, plan the week ahead. This will allow me to have better focus and get on top of things instead of letting them pile up all the time and getting overwhelmed just thinking about the mess I made.
4. work hard:
- create a work environment/creative space that is stress and clutter free. Put your phone on do not disturb. Set clear time frames (i.e. mon-thur 9-5, fri 9-1) and don’t burn yourself out. Write down what you want to achieve each day and tick it off the list once you’re done. This will help me get closer to my dreams and make me feel more accomplished.
5. stay focused:
- Take breaks every 2-3 hours. Don’t multitask. Get one thing done, then focus on the next one. Take a few deep breaths or go for walk to clear your head if you feel overwhelmed. Drink a lot of water. Take notes. TAKE YOUR TIME. Being focused on my work (but also being very focused and present when with other people) will in increase the quality of my work and social life and help me feel more relaxed than if I did everything at once and forgot half of it in the meantime.
6. make more money:
- Ask yourself these crucial questions: how much money do I have? how much money do I need? how much money do I want? what would I do if I had a certain amount of money and what do I need to do in order to get there? What are the biggest expenses in my life? What job fits my lifestyle and financial goals? Budget yourself. Each year/month/week/day. Know your savings but know your “spendings” too! This will help me achieve financial freedom and set myself up for success in the future. Money isn’t everything but it can provide a sense of independence and security and it is an important tool in our modern world. Money also allows me to invest in myself and things I believe in and lets me do things I love (going out to eat, travel…)
7. stay positive:
- Make a list of things that make you happy. Practice gratitude every day. Look around you and feel blessed. If you start feeling overwhelmed take out your list and realize you will be okay and there is always something to be grateful for and happy about. Something I do when I start panicking or freaking out about something is to go back to the basics and kind of change my perspective and look at the bigger picture. The most important things in my life that I need to survive are: food, sleep and exercise. Here I am ALIVE, BREATHING, YOUNG, HEALTHY. With food too eat and a roof over my head. I have a family and friends, I can move, I am safe, I am well and everything will be fine.
Sometimes we freak ourselves out over little things and forget to enjoy life and feel blessed to be here all together.
Make sure you set goals to improve yourself and your life but don’t feel like you need to work on yourself for anyone else but YOU. Being self-centered isn’t a bad trait.
I hope this blogpost was helpful for you! Please don’t think I am able to wing everything in life perfectly but I’m working on myself and my dreams every single day and sharing my experiences with you on here so maybe you can learn from some of the mistakes I made or just get some motivation or inspiration to start improving your life TODAY.
Feel free to message or comment if you have any questions or suggestions.