We have been fed an incomplete set of rules to accomplish what we want in life.
Choosing goals alone does not lead to achievement. It’s a combination of mindset, planning, strategy and science.
Here are 13 Science and Psychology backed steps to reach your dreams once and for all.
STEP 1: Remember How Far You’ve Come
We get so set on our goals for the future that all we can see is the gap that’s left to where we’re headed.
But science tells us that motivation is fueled by wins, not wants.
In order to push further and make it to the finish line we can foster a dopamine hit by remembering how far we’ve come.
Two easy ways to do this:
- Reflect on the last 10 years of your life. Recall all the things you’ve accomplished and challenges you’ve overcome.
- Do the Three Wins Practice. At the end of every day, find three things that were a win for you and then choose your next three wins for tomorrow.
STEP 2: Know Where You Are In Your Life Right Now
A map is useless if you don’t know where you are starting from.
Take stock of your current reality by doing a quick Life Audit.
- What is your life like right now?
- How is your health, wealth and happiness?
- What does your everyday look like?
- How does it feel to be you?
- What could be better?
- What would be best?
STEP 3: Have A Clear Vision
In case you missed it, those areas are:
- Intimate Relationship(s)
- Household/Home/Personal Space
- Giving Back
- Relationship to Self
- Quality of Life
When looking at these areas, ask yourself these 4 key questions:
- What do I believe about this life area? (and why do I believe that?)
- What is my vision for this life area?
- What is the purpose for excelling in this life area?
- What is my specific strategy for creating my vision in this area?
STEP 4: Know Your Endgame (The Big End)
It’s easy to get lost in the day to day rollercoaster of life. There are setbacks. We lose motivation. And ultimately, we forget the point of why we are doing all this in the first place.
To keep you on track when the going gets tough, it’s important to remember the big picture, some may say the “big finale”.
One powerful way to grasp onto your purpose is to Write Your Obituary.
I promise it’s not as morbid as it sounds.
This simple practice of determining how we want our life to look like at the end enables us to embrace the impact of what we do now and remember the bigger reasons behind it.
Here’s a WORKSHEET to try it out.
STEP 5: Choose Your TOP 3-5 Goals For The Year and Strategize
After we’ve stepped back to look at the big picture, it’s time to zoom back in with the microscope. Look at the next 12 months ahead and determine what 3-5 things on your list are the MOST IMPORTANT to accomplish this year. This allows us to narrow our focus and action for the next year.
Look at those goals and ask yourself:
- What do I need to do to make these happen?
- What are 3 activities I know I need to stop doing to make these happen?
- What do I need to stop or uncommit to?
- What activities do I need to make sure to keep doing?
- What do I need to step up and do even more, grow or expand?
STEP 6: Uncover Your True Motivation
Your “WHY” will take you further than any surface based gratification.
When you find yourself moving from peaks to plateaus to valleys, knowing the deepest purpose of your goals will be the thing that carries you through the darkness.
You can use the “Uncover Your Deepest Motivation” worksheet to find what’s really underneath your desires and light that torch that will get you to the other side.
STEP 7: Set Your Environment To Win
My grandma always said “If you hang out in a barbershop, you’ll eventually get your haircut.” It was one of the few pieces of wisdom she had without expletives.
Your environment trumps all motivation and willpower.
In order to win, you need an environment that supports your goals.
- What do I need ADDED to my environment to succeed?
- What do I need REMOVED from my environment to succeed?
If you really want to dive deep into this practice, use the worksheet HERE.
STEP 8: Have A Roadblock Plan
If you’ve learned nothing else from 2020, it’s that life is 100% unpredictable.
Instead of being surprised, expect things to fall apart.
Not in a “doom and gloom” kind of way but in a way where you’ve already prepared your resilience ahead of time. Setbacks don’t have to throw you off, they can strengthen you.
You can do this by anticipating rough patches and planning your mindset and actions to get through them ahead of time. You can test this out using the worksheet HERE.
STEP 9: Set Up Daily Habits To Support Your Goals
What you do first thing in the morning sets the tone for your day.
How you sleep the night before sets your morning.
Your energy and productivity are affected by what you eat, drink and when you move.
Mindset affects your motivation.
What are you doing to put yourself into a peak state every day?
Simple habits such as staying hydrated, going to bed at the same time every night, laying your workout clothes out and skipping social media first thing upon waking can have a huge affect on your daily success.
It’s those small wins that add up to the big wins.
STEP 10: Identify Your REAL Schedule
This is the actual time you have available when all your obligations, have-to’s and has-to-happens are accounted for. Your calendar is there to serve you, not the other way around.
Appreciate and respect your time by being mindful of where it is going and how you are spending it.
Once you do this you can create your life and goal strategy accordingly.
STEP 11: Schedule Your Goals
“I’m going to work out” is a statement, not a plan. If you’re going to make your goals a reality, then you need a plan based in reality, with real dates and times.
Need “time to think”?
Whatever it is, stop pretending the time will find you.
Make the time.
And make it real by putting it on your schedule and honoring it.
STEP 12: Set Milestones & Rewards
You may think that holding that carrot on a string will keep you moving forward, but it turns out that taking some nibbles of that carrot along the way is the true path to success.
The brain has very precise and strong reactions to rewards.
Dopamine has been improperly labeled as the “pleasure chemical” but neuroscience has shown us that it primarily deals with motivation.
One easy way to get a dopamine release is to set milestones along your goal path and reward yourself when you reach them.
Once the brain experiences this, it is motivated to do more of the same to get that reward again.
This means that celebrating your 2lb loss will motivate you to lose the next 5, 10 or 20.
Here is a list of some easy Milestone Rewards to try.
STEP 13: Create Accountability
More times than not, it was knowing that my gym partner was on their way to pick me up that kept me from ditching my workout plans.
Like it or not, we do better (and act better) when we are being watched.
Getting a coach, partner, or tutor will build in consistency and increase your likelihood of success 10 fold.
Another great way to stay the course is to track your progress.
Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t lie. We tend to overestimate or underestimate how well we are doing. Knowing your true report of how many times you showed up will allow you to stay focused and adjust your direction as necessary.
You can use this fully customizable Goal and Habit Tracker for 2021 HERE.
Lastly, make it a habit to “review the game”.
Reflect on your progress. See where you can improve and anticipate future roadblocks by looking back on your day, month and week. Looking back will allow you to see the future better and put your goals into perspective.
You can join us free every month at our Monthly Reflection & Planning Sessions HERE.
What it all boils down to
If you want to be part of the 8% that follow through on what they plan, then this is the real work that needs to happen.
You are the only one standing between yourself and the goals you want to achieve, but now you have the tools to take back to the power and design your life on your terms.
It doesn’t matter what happens this year when you’re equipped to bend, flex, flip and adjust while keeping your eye on the prize.