What is a goal? According to Merriam-Webster it’s something that you’re trying to achieve. Usually we determine a goal without much forethought, which often leads to frustration, incompleteness or failure. Remember January’s resolutions? How are those working out?
Knowing the goal you want to attain is not sufficient to guarantee success. It’s important to do a reality check assessing how passionate you are about the goal, how certain you are that you will complete it and how committed you are to making it happen. If any of these are lacking, your goal is almost certainly doomed.
So, let’s say your goal passes the above litmus test. How else can you increase the odds of achieving it?
Here’s the process I recently followed that led to a successful personal goal. I outlined the various steps needed, chunking them into logical sections. And at the completion of each chunk I got a reward. If I didn’t complete the section, I got no reward. Simple.
Up front I made sure that my rewards were motivationally juicy and that they would happen often, usually weekly. My rewards were predictable and outlined before I even began to work on a task. What I noticed was that I really looked forward to the upcoming reward. My brain wanted these rewards.
I’m sitting here wearing adorable blue flats I earned by completing some tasks on my way to the goal. Every time I wear them I’m reminded that I followed through, training my brain to take me seriously when I say I am going to do something.
I worked on my goal for over three months. Some days it felt like plodding; some days were easy-peasy. But I always had my small rewards to keep me going. And in the next few days I’m headed off for a successful photography workshop experience, full of confidence in my skills, eagerly looking forward to the adventure, and without a trace of overwhelm or anxiety. I am prepared technically, physically and mentally.
Bring it on!
Enormous thanks to Joycelyn Campbell and her Goals, Habits, and Intentions class offered at farthertogo.com. Couldn’t have done it without the knowledge I gained!
Now It’s Your Turn
How could small rewards help you to achieve a goal? What rewards would be motivational for you? What do you enjoy doing but never have time for? What little gifts could you give yourself? How will these help make your goal more achievable?