What do you say when someone asks you about your dreams? We immediately think of a million things we dream about. We all have dreams of being famous, or having an amazing body, or paying off your house in 10 years, or affording the car you’ve always wanted. Dreams are easy to make, but the goals we make are the little stepping stones that help us reach them. We all have something we would like to do, but when we have precise goals, we have a clear vision of how to get there. With clear goals, we will know exactly where we are headed and when we know where we are going, it is much easier to get there.
We all want to be healthier, but what is it going to take? We all want to be happier, but what does it even mean? We all want to have a fulfilled life, but what does a fulfilled life even looks like? Not all goals are created equal. Living a life with a random destination is not a good way to live. We basically live day by day feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied and completely out of control. Nothing we do or say makes any sense. The point of living a mindful life is being in control of the direction you want your life to take. The opposite of this is a mindless life, or one that is out of control and unsure of where it’s taking us. So how do we create goals that are more likely to succeed? Here are three easy ways to make goals that will turn your dreams into reality.
Don’t be vague or general with your goals. Be as specific as possible. Set your goals so you can be able to tell that you did them or be able to check them off a list. I am checklist obsessed and I find that keeping a monthly, weekly and even a daily To-Do list helps me stay on track. Making specific goals that zero in on just one thing you want to accomplish a day will increase your chances of keeping at it. I create my daily MIT (most important thing) and I always make sure I make this happen by the end of the day.
So, how specific do they need to be? As much as possible really. Break your goal down as much as you can. As in vague means the ocean and specific is a grain of sand. Basically, the more vague and big your goal is, the more discouraged you will become at doing them. Making specific goals makes them look easier and more manageable to accomplish and you’re more likely to keep doing them.
That is how specific your goals need to be:
- Don’t say: “I want to lose weight”, say “I will run twice a week.”
- Don’t say: “I want to eat healthy”, say “I will eat oatmeal for breakfast,”
- Don’t say: “I want to be happier”, say “I will practice meditation.”
- Don’t say: “I want to be a better parent”, say “I will read a book with my child daily.”
Create moderately challenging goals you are able to reach. If you set impossible goals to maintain, we will end up feeling like a failure and stop. If we set goals that are too easy, then we won’t notice any difference in our lives and become unmotivated to keep doing them. Our goals needs to be just the right fit for us to work. First find if you are a beginner, intermediate or an expert and then you can be more realistic in setting your start level. If you want to start running, but you’ve never run in your life, then don’t say “I will run 10 miles a day”. You may be able to keep that up for a week if you’re lucky, but then you will burn out and your brain will come up with any excuse to never go back to that torture. Our brains perceive everything we do as either a reward or punishment, so be very careful to turn a positive goal into something that will instead harm your body. Your mind will put the brakes on and it will be very hard to get back to it again. Your brain will avoid it like the plague!
One time I worked out so much in one week because I wanted fast results, that my immune system got so weak and sick that I absolutely felt repulsed at the thought of working out again. It took me months to convince myself I would take it easy the next time I worked out. Take it easy with your self. Be honest about your situation and be realistic of where you stand. Don’t try to rush your goals because you want to see immediate results. That’s not how anything works. If you want long lasting results, we have to take it a little bit at a time. Our brain creates habits by repetition, so the more we repeat the same behavior over and over again, the more long lasting a habit will become. Soon, you won’t even notice you are doing it, it will become second nature.
Ok, so you created a goal that is specific and realistic, but why would you even want to do it in the first place? Is it because some friend at a party made a comment about it? If the goals doesn’t mean anything to you, then you will not care to keep doing it. You have to create goals that matter to you and only you and that will improve your own life. Don’t make goals because someone else wants you to. They can set their own goals. It’s your life and they should be your goals. This is the only way we can stick to our goals. We will begin to see them transforming our life little by little and this will reinforce us to keep going.
I always saw my husband and daughters working out or going to martial arts class, but I never made time for myself to exercise. I just thought that as long as I took them to gymnastics and they were exercising, I was ok. I was always making excuses for myself or feeling tired. It wasn’t until I finally made the choice to make this a personal choice that I became dedicated to making this a priority in my life. They now know when I say I’m going to work out, it’s me time. It’s the hour I use to take care of myself and I no longer leave it for another day. I no longer make excuses. This was my choice, my struggle and only I get to enjoy the results.
Goals and decisions go hand in hand. Hoping and wishing is not enough when you want to see real change.
So, in my own life this is how I implemented the three rules. I always wanted to be fit, but I wasn’t sure how to make that happen. It wasn’t until a fibro-flare left me bed ridden of pain for a week and couldn’t walk of my back pain. It was then I decided if I got better, I would make a change in my lifestyle. I began to exercise regularly and saw a reduction in pain in my lower back and over all more energy and I’ve never been happier.
SPECIFIC: At first I started all over the place, just picking up whatever weights I saw laying around. I didn’t follow a single exercise routine so my results were never consistent. I finally began to keep track of my schedule and my exercise routines and then I began to see my progress. I bought a fitness log book where I and watch many instagram workout videos for ideas. I also check my calendar with a W every day I work out so I can celebrate my accomplishments every month. You know, it’s the little things that make all the difference.
REALISTIC: I now keep a log of the times I workout and reward myself if I meet the number of workouts I set for myself for the month. I know the number of workouts I can realistically do based on how my body recuperates due to my fibromyalgia pain. I wish I could say I work out every day, but I know that is incredibly unrealistic for me. I can’t even say I work out every other day. What I found works just right for me is every third day and I also alternate body areas. This allows my muscles just enough time to recuperate. At first I was trying to push myself by doing full body workouts, but I began to reach burnout and I was too exhausted to work out again. I know now my body perceives this as punishment and it will do anything it can to avoid it. So I go easy on myself and as soon as I notice I am too exhausted to continue, I stop and say good job and continue another day.
PERSONAL: I take time to do this for myself and not not for anyone else. This is the choice I made for myself and my health and I’m so happy I did. It’s hard sometimes but I know this is what is best for me and I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I have seen the positive changes in my life as I continue to improve in my goals by reducing back pain and increasing my confidence.
Even though I’ve been working out for a few years now, my own specific, realistic and personal goals of fitness has taken me over a year to modify to my specific needs. Create your own goals and fine tune them until they become just right for you. Find out if you are a beginner, intermediate or an expert at your habit and then start there. When we start at the right level and find the right fit for us, our goals will become so much easier to keep up with. Our goals will soon become habits and then our new way of life. I hope these goal ideas help you as much as they have helped me.