On Making Goals and Keeping Them

Hello awesome readers! I know it's been almost a month since I last posted (shame on me!) and I'm so sorry about that! My life has been crazy lately, especially with my college classes.

Have you ever felt like you were barely keeping your head above water and more water kept being dumped on your head? Yeah, that's how college has been for me lately. (But it will all be so worth it when I receive that diploma!)

But I have been writing and working on a few projects for my current novel. Some of these tasks include: revising and editing the second draft of my novel, putting together a "soundtrack" for it, and collaborating with a sketch artist to bring to life my main characters by charcoal. I cannot wait to share all of these things with you!

Concerning my not posting for almost a month now, I wanted to chat with you all about how much this has been bothering me and what I've decide to do about it. You see, I'm a very goal-oriented person and when I want something, I make a goal and then start figuring out how to achieve that goal.

I make goals for everything. Yep, everything from writing chapters in books, to running races, to making grocery lists. I make goals All.Of.The.Time. Not just on December 31st. :)

Fortunately, I'm also very good about working on my goals and fulfilling them.

Some current goals that I've been working on include:

-training for this year's 10k race
-training for next year's Disney Princess Half-Marathon
-finish writing the second draft of my current novel
-earn my Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education
-get my house organized how I want it

Working on attaining these goals has been going great, but I've been bothered about how long it's been since I've posted on my blog. So, I decided to solve the problem that's been bothering me, by setting a goal for it to make sure it doesn't happen again. :) Surprised? Me neither. ;)

If you haven't guessed where I'm going with all of this, I'm going to share tonight about making goals, working on goals, and fulfilling goals.

So, without further ado, here are my tips:

1) Decide what you want and why you want it.
-To attain a goal, one must first make one (Duh Heather!).

No, but really.

In order to achieve a goal, you must first figure out what you want and decide that you're going to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The decision making process—while seeming quite simple, is actually a tad more detailed than you'd expect.

If you can't figure out what you want and why you want it, how are you going to keep a goal that you never specified in the first place? There's a big difference between saying, "I want that blue sweater, because I think it'll be perfect for that work party that's coming up next month," and "I want that sweater so bad to wear to that work party next month, and I'm going to do a, b, and c to get it!"
Did you see the difference? Okay good. :)

2) Once you decide what you want, write it down and make it specific. Why be specific? Because if you're not, you'll end up altering it to fit your (ahem) unmotivated self when that point hits (I've done it, you've done it, we've all done it— no judgement here!) and we know that it inevitably will. So when you're writing down your goal, be specific enough that when the lack-of-motivation stage hits you, the written contract to yourself will be a reminder of what you wanted when you first started and why you wanted it in the first place. Sound fair enough? Okay, good. Moving on. :)

3) When you've decided what you want, why you want it, and you've been specific about it enough that it'll drive you to finish what you started, make a plan (a specific and realistic one that you believe you can keep) of how you're going to work towards achieving that goal.

Ex. Say you want to lose 30 pounds by January 1st, 2016. Okay, that's awesome! Now make a specific plan to achieve that goal.

Try this: "I want to lose 30 lbs by January 1st, 2016 and I plan to do this by 1) going to the gym for 30 minutes a day, 3 times per week 2) using an app to track my daily steps and 3) counting calories. My gym days will be Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and I will pack my gym bag the night before those specified days."

See what you did there? You brainstormed a specific plan that you believe you can stick with and wrote it down. ;)

4) Mentally prepare yourself for the fight (yes, the FIGHT) ahead of you to keep that goal. Why? Because the moment you decide what you want and why, you've been specific about that goal, and brainstormed a plan for how you're going to achieve it, life will decide to throw you a million and one distractions to keep you from working on it. It's kind of just the nature for how things work in life.

The good news? If you prepare yourself for your fight against the inevitable distractions, you arm yourself against the excuses that come with them, when they try and persuade you that you've already failed.

Expect the distractions and the excuses to come against you as fast as you're reading this post— because they will! :)

Prepare yourself for your fight by writing your specific plan down and putting it somewhere that you will see it everyday. Announce to your family and friends what your goal is and how and when you'll be working on it. Let them know that you will be unavailable for anything else during those times and days, because you have an appointment with your goal. Then ask them to remind and encourage you with your written contract to yourself, should you start making excuses or accepting defeat from life's obstacles.

5) When you've prepared yourself in all the ways stated above, make the decision that you're not going to let Timmy and his Granny convince you that what they want or need help with is more important than you being true to your word. Help the people you care about in your life by all means, but if it's not an emergency, schedule them in during a different time. Remember, your goal achieving time-slot is already taken. If you give in to any and every request that comes your way and replace it with your specified goal achieving time, January 1st 2016 will come around and you'll totally be bumming that you fell off the band wagon again.

You can accomplish anything you put your mind to! But you'll need to fight to make it happen.

6) Now, the most awesome part about making goals: achieving them!

-There is nothing like seeing the hard-earned fruits of your labor in front of your eyes. You think back on the journey and remember how sweat, blood, and tears were all a part of it, but you decide quickly that you wouldn't go back and trade the process, or your great reward, for anything.

-You realize that the process of attaining your goal, created determination, perseverance, and faith in yourself and what you think you could do (and how it's so much more than you had originally thought), and how grateful you are to yourself for fighting for what you wanted in life.

-You realize that when people told you that you couldn't do it, when life told you that the cards it dealt you were not in your favor, and when you told yourself that you didn't have what it took to achieve your goals, that all of you were wrong...and that you're a winner.

A wise and wonderful role model of mine once said, "If you can dream it, you can do it."

This guy was actually fired from a newspaper company because they told him he "didn't have enough imagination." This man with no imagination was Walt Disney! (Lol, I bet they're kicking themselves now!)

But seriously, if you can dream something up, or decide on something that you want in life—you can do it. All it takes is the idea, the decision, the specific plan, and the will to fight for what you want in life to make your goals and your dreams come true. I dare you to make a goal and make it happen. ;)

You are your biggest enemy for failing, because ultimately, it's YOU who decides your destiny, not the obstacles that life throws at you. If something major happens and you need to adapt and overcome in order to continue working towards achieving your goal, then by all means, adapt and overcome! Make a new plan—one that works for your new situation and keep the faith that it is still possible to reach your destination. :)

Wait...I almost forgot! As far as making a goal for posting on my blog goes- I decided that my goal is going to be: to post at least once per week by Sunday morning. I plan to work on my weekly post on Saturday afternoons, once softball games are over. If you don't get an email notification of a new post by Monday morning, I give you permission to chastise me by email and hold me accountable to keeping my goal. :)

What are some things you've always wanted to do or places in your life where you may be slacking in and want to do something about? Share with us in the comments below. :)

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