We always struggle to stick to a goal we set for ourselves. We say we want to lose weight. We are gung ho about it for a few weeks (if we can make it that far) and then we quit. Maybe we want to save money, but end up going on a spending spree instead and spend all the money we saved. Or maybe we want to take classes, but end up quitting after a few weeks.
We’ve all been there. We try, but often give up before we’ve truly started. We give it our all at the beginning, but then lose steam and all interest shortly thereafter. We don’t like the discomfort, pain and changes that come along with trying to accomplish our goals. It’s so much easier to just give up and go back to our old ways, saying we’ll try again later. It’s easier to say “Yes!” to the doughnut, instead of focusing on our healthy lifestyle.
What if you discovered the secret to accomplishing all of the goals you set for yourself? Would you try again? Maybe set higher and better goals for yourself?
The trick to accomplishing your goals all lie in changing your beliefs by creating new beliefs.
Polly Campbell writes in “Detoxify Your Thoughts,”
Beliefs are simply thoughts or ideas repeated over and over until they become tethered to every aspect of our lives. We take them as truth — even though they are merely illusions. We act from them. And, as a result, they are reflected back into our lives as tangible results. Empowering beliefs can support us en route to our greatest potential. However, often we are saddled with limiting beliefs that narrow our possibilities and keep us from the things we most desire.
She goes on to discuss how we can recognize beliefs that sabotage our goals, and silence them by creating new, positive beliefs to help us accomplish our goals. It is an article worth reading in understanding the process of stopping the sabotage right from the start and trying to overcome it by creating new and positive thoughts that will help you accomplish your goals.
Create Daily Visualization
I create new goals for myself all of the time. The current goals I’m working on in an attempt to make them a lifelong habit is to exercise more, meditate two times a day, complete 100 chores a day, eat healthier, read more and write more. With each goal, I know that I have to make small, but definitive changes each day where I can see I have made actual progress.
Having a monthly/weekly calendar to keep track of the progress of my goals has been the most important tool I have in my arsenal. By visually keeping track of each accomplishment, it gives me more power and incentive to keep going.
I use THIS calendar as my every day calendar. It is unique because at the beginning of the planner, you can list all of your goals, including a time frame you’d like to accomplish each goal. The calendar is designed by Whitney English of Day Designers. It has by far been the best calendar I have used to date. You can download FREE printables from Day Designers to get yourself started. What’s great about Day Designers is that you can customize your own calendar according to your lifestyle or needs. What I also love about Whitney English’s Day Designers is that she teaches you how to best use your calendar by offering you guidance on how to calendar and focus on getting the things done you want to get done. Her calendars are one of the best calendars for perfectionists, Type-A’s, and people who have goals and need a structured way to accomplish their goals. She helps you think outside the box and gives you the tools to focus on how to get through your day and accomplish the goals you have set for yourself.
Day Designers has been working in collaboration with Blue Sky (soon her calendars will be in Target). So if she’s sold out on her site, check Blue Sky for additional products.
Don’t Be Discouraged
One resolution I have this year is to read more than 52 books (12 classics) by December 31, 2016. I started off fantastically. But this past month, I read only two books. Visually seeing that setback could be discouraging. I could do like I did in the past and stop reading for the next few months, telling myself this is something I can’t do. It’s just a crazy feat I will not be able to accomplish. In other words, I could completely sabotage myself.
It’s something we all do because it’s so much simpler to not challenge ourselves to be better. It’s easier to just curl up and flip through Instagram photos, or play Farm Heroes, or read tweets on Twitter. Why read when you can do something else, right? We can always do mindless things that do not challenge ourselves to be better.
It’s easier to indulge in our cravings and reach for that doughnut when you’re on a diet, or buy that new handbag when you’re trying to save for a house, or sleep in when it’s raining outside and you are supposed to go workout. After all, we live in an age of instant gratification. Why work hard to be something we’re not, when it’s so hard or too much work is involved? It’s just easier to give into our cravings then it is to resist them.
That’s because the things that are going to be amazing for us takes a lot of work. We appreciate it more when we have to work hard for it. We will never appreciate the things that come to us easily.
A calendar is a great way to reflect on how you are accomplishing your goals. Even if you only complete two items that month towards that goal, or you suffer a bit of a setback…don’t look at it as a setback. Look at it as part of the challenge. Reflect at the end of the month how you can work with that ‘setback’ to get yourself back on track to accomplishing your goal.
For example, say you saved up $5,000 for a down payment on your dream home, and then your car breaks down. All of that money has to go towards the repairs on the car. You are dismayed because you have to start saving all over again. Don’t give up! Just keep doing what you were doing. You got to $5k and that was an accomplishment. It also means you can do it again. Keep going. Maybe even look for more creative ways to make that money a little faster than you did the first time around. Find fun ways to make that money. Pretty soon you’ll find twice that in your savings account. What you thought was a setback ended up being just a small snafoo.
One thing I always like to remind people is that even millionaires and billionaires can lose their entire fortune. They can end up far more broke than the homeless guy on the street. They pick themselves up and in no time, they have those millions/billions of dollars back in no time. How? Because they had the tools of knowledge on how to make that kind of money. All they had to do is keep doing what they were doing before. Soon they have even more money than they did before. That minor setback was only a learning experience. It wasn’t forever.
That setback taught them how to be better at business so that they could make even more money than they ever did before. They learned from their mistakes and went in a new direction.
Accomplishing your goals are simpler than you think it is. You just have to be willing to do the work. It first starts by changing your beliefs.
- Get a monthly/weekly calendar. Write down all of your goals for the year. It could be getting out of debt, saving more money, paying off your mortgage or student loans, eating healthier, exercising more, learning a new language…whatever you dream of being, put down all of your goals that will lead you to your ultimate goal of the person you envision yourself as being.For me, each time I finish a book, I put a sticker in my monthly calendar, marking completion of a book. I write down the number of the book, so I know how many books I’ve read so far that year. I then put another sticker in the weekly section and write down the name of the book and the author. Being able to visually see what books I read gives me a clearer reflection of what I read over the past year. It also helps me remember what I read!
- Stay positive. In the previous example, even though you suffer a little setback and feel like you have to start all over again, you shouldn’t be discouraged. You were able to save $5k. Give yourself a pat on the back. You were able to create success in attaining your goal. You were also given the tools on how to save up that money. You can use those tools to raise that money again.By remaining positive and staying focused on your goal, you can keep pushing forward. Campbell says “with practice and commitment you can trade out the bad beliefs for better ones.” So instead of thinking you failed, think of how you were lucky that you had that $5k saved up. If you hadn’t had that money saved up when the car broke down, you would have been screwed.Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the positives of the situation. With that new understanding, you can charge forward with your goal. But while you’re charging forward with your goal, think of how you can improve on this situation. Is there a way you can make the money faster than you did before? Can you start making money off of a hobby you have? Can you make money off of the items you don’t need anymore? Can you work a part-time job? Brainstorm how you can help reach your goal faster after this small setback. You’ll have the $5k plus more in no time.
Just remain positive.
- Take pride in every little accomplishment. Losing weight doesn’t happen overnight. Books don’t read themselves. That mile isn’t going to run itself.The purpose of the calendar is so that you can see that you are actually accomplishing your goal one step at a time. Each day, I count how many chores I do. My goal is to do 100 chores a day. I wake up and start doing chores, counting them in my head, no matter how sleepy I am. I write the number down on the chalkboard and move on with my day. When I get home at the end of the day, I finish up my 100 chores and then I sit down and relax.You may think it’s nuts doing 100 chores a day, but it’s actually quite simple. Each dish I wash counts as one chore. Each piece of mail I go through counts as one chore a piece. That makes getting through those 100 chores so much easier. I oftentimes have to make myself stop at 100 so I can have something to do the next day. I do it this way because knowing I accomplished a daily goal makes me happy. It tells me that I can do anything I set my mind to, because I accomplished a goal for the day.
If I didn’t have those 100 chores a day, I would save the chores for the weekend and end up not being able to relax and enjoy my weekends. In a way, I would be sabotaging myself from all of the other things I want to do…like write more.
My daily goal of 100 chores a day spills over into wanting to accomplish other goals. Those 100 chores forces me to get up at 5:30AM to meditate, workout and write. It encourages me to create healthier recipes and to eat healthier. It allows me to create time for doing the things I want to do with my life, because I’ve created a new belief system. I can visually see that I can accomplish a daily goal. That good feeling of knowing I’ve accomplished a goal I’ve set for myself, tells me I can accomplish all of my goals.
- If you make it part of your belief system, you’ll find time. One of the biggest excuse people come up with is not having time to do what they want to do. They don’t want to make time to do it. They are not a morning person, so they don’t want to wake up to workout. Eating healthy is too expensive. They don’t have time to read. They’re already strapped for cash, so how can they save money?Simply put, if you make your goal a part of your belief system, you’ll accomplish your goals. I don’t like waking up before the sun rises, but I do. I have a Maine Coon cat that wakes up at 4AM every morning. He tries to wake everyone up at that time and doesn’t stop until he’s fed at 5:30AM. After he’s fed, maybe he’ll let you sleep until 7AM.After two years of this, I find I wake up a few minutes before he does. That’s when I was able to find time to meditate in the morning. At 5:30AM, the cats are fed and I start yoga or tai chi. After yoga, I sit down with a cup of coffee and write or do research. At 7AM, I begin my day. As I go along in my morning routine, I do chores here and there. On the commute in, I read. At the office, when I find I’m going to be at my computer for an extended amount of time, I listen to an audio book, mainly classics (like now, I’m listening to Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”). On the commute home, I read. When I get home, I finish up the 100 chores for the day before sitting down to relax. By the time I’m in bed, I do some more reading, waiting for both cats to fall asleep so that I can do one last meditation before I go to sleep.
I’ve learned that through meditation, I don’t have to sleep as much. Five to six hours of sleep are all I need. I’ve learned to sleep when Matthew Lucifer (the Maine Coon) sleeps. It’s quite similar to new parents learning when to sleep when their children sleep. They learn to get their few minutes of ‘me’ time in here and there.
The thing is no matter what your circumstances are, you can create time to accomplish your goals by making it a part of your belief system. If you want to live a healthy life, you have to constantly make it part of your choice and belief system until it becomes an unconscious belief. In the beginning, you have to keep at it until the change has become a part of your life.
Matthew used to wake me up every hour on the hour when I first adopted him. I had Mom Brain that whole first year…then all of a sudden a miracle happened. In November 2015, he slept through the night, waking up between 4AM-5AM, demanding breakfast at 5:30AM. Now, we’re all on his sleep schedule. Luckily, the times he wakes up are the times I’m supposed to be getting up to meditate, workout and write. He has helped me find a time to do the things I really want to do. Those are the times I used to wake up when I was in high school to finish my homework, because I was too tired at night to think. I’m still that way. I never write at night, because I’m too tired.
It was difficult at first getting used to waking up early again, but bringing meditation into my life helped me see that I don’t need to sleep as much…but I do need a lot of coffee.
- The mind is a powerful thing. By meditating twice a day, I am able to focus on the things I want out of life. All of my goals are easier to accomplish, because I am able to get rid of the clutter in my mind and focus on the things that are important to me.If there’s anything I know that is true, always keeping a positive mind will make wonderful things happen for you. It doesn’t just take a positive mindset, it takes a powerful mind. Meditation is the only way to creating a powerful mind. You’ll be able to confront your own demons, the ones that try to sabotage you every step of the way. You’ll be able to vanquish them and decide that you are not going to listen to the naysayers in your head. You’re going to focus on the good stuff.You learn how to speak to yourself in a nice way. You won’t tolerate the bad thoughts. When the bad thoughts happen, you’ll decide that you’re not going to listen to those thoughts anymore. You choose to listen to only the good things. You choose to remain positive.
It takes a lot of practice to focus on choosing the good and positive things in life. That’s why I meditate no less than two times a day. A lot of times, I go for walks and meditate while walking (not all meditations are closed eyes).
We all have things we have to work on inside of us. We can choose to let go of our past and focus on creating a better self for ourselves. Meditation is a powerful thing. It’s you taking back control over your entire life and deciding that from here on out, you’re going to live an amazing life.
You’ll begin to see that you are not a victim of circumstances. You are the creator of your circumstances. We all have choices we make in life. How we view life and the challenges that happen along this journey, is all a choice.
We can choose to look at life negatively, thus creating a negative circumstance, or we can choose to see things in a positive light and see great things happen. We can see the silver lining even in the worst of circumstances.
Achieving your goal is all in a mindset. It’s all about incorporating your goal into your own belief system.
WHAT TO DO
You’ve gotten this far. First, read that article by Campbell. You’ll see how you can stop from sabotaging yourself and strengthen your belief system.
Get yourself an all-in-one monthly/weekly calendar to keep track of your accomplishments. Be colorful about it. I use different color pens and stickers.
Create a daily goal that you know you can accomplish every single day. Mine is 100 chores a day and to read 50 pages a day. This is your daily dose of the “You Can Do It!” feeling that will overflow into your other goals. It will help give you motivation to accomplish your other goals.
See your setback as a challenge to up your game. Don’t be dismayed when you feel like everything you worked so hard for is wiped out from under you. Instead, take a moment to reflect. Keep doing what you were doing, but ask yourself how you can do this better. Is there something you overlooked? Is there a way you could probably improve upon what you’ve already done? Is there a way you can do this differently, but still accomplish your goal?
Take one step at a time. It is tough making changes like waking up early in the morning to go for a run. When you get up in the morning, resolve to thinking the SNOOZE button no longer exists and you have a crazy Maine Coon cat waking you up and attacking you if you even attempt to press snooze (yes, mine does this). You are accomplishing something each time you wake up and resolve to run.
Keep in mind that you are taking this one step at a time. Create better habits with each step. Maybe instead of taking the elevator up those few short flights, you’ll arrive 10 minutes earlier to walk up those flights of stairs. If you sit at your desk during lunch, resolve to walk during lunch to get in your daily 10,000 steps. Make small, but positive changes to accomplish your goals. This is about incorporating this into your belief cycle…the belief that you should be doing this because it is WHO YOU ARE.
Do this again and again and again until it becomes an unconscious decision inside of you. Practice Makes Perfect! If you want to eat healthier, it’s about always wanting to choose the healthier food the majority of the time. If you don’t like healthy food, create healthy food you’ll fall in love with. It’s all about trial by error. Sometimes you’ll find that trying and trying again, even attempting new things to reach your goals will create a new passion in life…being the person you always dreamed of being…YOU in this moment…the person that accomplished their goals and made their dreams come true.