How To: Achieve Goals

I inadvertently started a “series” last summer when I wrote a post called How To: Host a Garage Sale. (I’ve also done less formal how-tos on meal planning and “getting” happy.) I’m not an expert on anything, but sometimes I find tips that work pretty well for me & I get the nerve to share them.

With 2019 right around the corner (and my winter goals laid out last week), I feel naturally inspired to make & meet some long term goals. How can I make my life better? How can I make life better for others? What are some changes that I can enact to improve my quality of life and my happiness and the impact I have on the world?

Deep questions.

Let’s take a pretty common goal and use it as an example for most of my tips:

Losing weight/Getting healthy

  1. Break it into smaller goals. Instead of declaring a ban on ALL sugar, start with cutting out pop (or soda for you not-Midwesterners) or refuse dessert. Instead of cutting all carbs, start with avoiding bread, then slowly add in pasta, etc.
  2. Spread out the lifestyle adjustments. I know some people can quit things cold turkey or dive head first into a new habit. I cannot and I fail when I try. I like to implement something for a week or month, then add onto that. Walk a few miles every morning & lift weights for a month. Then add 15 minutes of the elliptical in exchange for that time on the treadmill. Build up your intensity. Essentially ease into the cold water, don’t just cannonball into the pool.
    (Funny enough, I DO just cannonball into pools. I hate easing into it.)
  3. Invest money. If you’re a number cruncher or penny pincher, invest some cash money into your goals. Get the gym membership, sign up for the yoga package, etc. I know there are inexpensive ways to work out or organize your life or read more, but if you HATE getting no return on your investment, force yourself to earn that return.
  4. You don’t have to be an expert. I like to feel 100% confident when I do things. If I’m feeling self conscious, my anxiety creeps in and I abandon ship. I had NO idea how to do a rowing class and I was the slowest/weakest/most out of breath human in the room after my first class. (Still am, lol.) It was terrifying to move out of the introductory class into the main class with all the pros. I don’t like being the last one across the finish line- but you have to start somewhere. I go to the “big kids” class and I am the slowest rower and I don’t die of shame. So that’s a start. (Same with barre now. YIKES.)
  5. Ask others for their support (or doubt). I appreciate support from my husband when I’m trying something new. I feed off of doubt from others. Take what you need from those who love you and don’t be afraid to ask for the tough love if that’s what kicks you in the pants.
  6. Remember why you started. If you’re working out, maybe it’s because you want to feel healthier. If you’re trying to organize, maybe it’s to achieve peace of mind at home. If you’re aiming to write every single day, maybe it’s to finish the novel. Just make sure you’re doing whatever you’re doing forΒ you.
  7. Setbacks are ok and normal. We all fall off the horse or skip the gym or each an entire sheet cake. It’s OK. You’re human and humans sometimes go off the rails. Refer back to #6 and make the decision to keep. going.

I’ll say it again: I’m not an expert. I’m a professional amateur at procrastinating and making excuses, though. I fail over and over; it’s human. These are just some tips that work (85% of the time) for me.

What to you do to achieve your goals? Are you a cold turkey kind of person? What tips have worked for you in the past?

19 thoughts on “How To: Achieve Goals

  1. When I quit smoking I did that cold turkey. I am typically all in or all out, but I know with exercise especially I can’t do that. So there are some areas where I am incremental.

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  2. Love these, Audrey. I am generally speaking not a cold turkey person and definitely a baby step kind of gal. And as a former midwesterner now living in the West Coast, the pop to soda change was a hard one for me. πŸ˜€ #4 and #5 are tough ones for me too. Like you, my anxiety increases terribly when I don’t *feel* like an expert before attempting something new and/or different and I’m hyper-sensitive to doubt, although often times it’s my own doubt that I’m magnifying versus those around me. Good luck with your 2019 goals!

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    • I once had a very in-depth conversation about pop vs. soda.
      I HATE how my anxiety talks me out of new workout classes or volunteering more or anything really! And the only solution is to just DO it- which is so tough sometimes. It’s a mental hump I have to get over often. And when my heart rate spikes because of my anxiety it makes working out even harder!! Lol

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  3. I love this. I have to be incremental with most things… especially working out. I started trying to do three days a week and recently moved up to four. I did quit soda cold turkey, though I will drink one once a month or so.

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    • I quit pop and alcohol between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. We had/have two holiday parties that I’m letting myself drink at, but other than that no wine until Xmas. I’ve actually been ok on the alcohol front… but I have been CRAVING a Mt. Dew. I don’t know when I had one before Thanksgiving. But man…. I want one so badly. Lol
      Typically, I can’t do cold turkey. Especially with food changes and exercise.

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    • My brain tells me I’m a cold turkey person, but then right before I do something I start to formulate excuses. LOL. When I break it into smaller goals or sections I can usually quiet those excuse makers in my brain πŸ˜‰

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  4. Oh gosh, I’m definitely not a cold turkey kind of person. I did this weight loss thing at a local hospital so I kind of had to for that and it was rough. I’m having trouble with it right now because the shakes I was using as two meal replacements started really grossing me out more than normal, so I’m trying to do Quest Hero bars instead, and yeah, this time of the year just sucks. I’ve definitely gamed some, and I’m bummed about that because I hadn’t hit my big goal yet, so I really need to get back on track. I think taking out one thing at a time is a good way to go for sure!!! Thanks for sharing what works – mostly- for you.

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    • Don’t be too tough on yourself- the holidays are tough! My diet is crap, my house is a mess, my motivation to move my body is low. Don’t let any of that get you down if you’re experiencing the same things. It’s the nature of the beast. We’ll get back on track πŸ˜‰

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  5. Breaking things out in to small goals definitely helps. Also posting and writing those goals everywhere really motivates me! Great post!

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  6. These are all such great tips for achieving goals! I always try to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic. If I let myself be too generic then I wind up giving myself excuse after excuse on how I am making “progress”.

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    • I think I do the same thing πŸ™‚ Or I’m too tough on myself and even if I completed a fraction of the goal, I consider it a fail. Specific goals are a great way to stay on track!

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