Reaching a goal is hard work. Sometimes, whether or not we can achieve our ambitions is completely dependent on our habits. What you do every day to work toward your goal is just as important as whether or not you actually reach it.
Here are 10 no-brainer habits to fast-track your goals, get them done and continuously feel good while doing it.
1. Start small
The fast track to your end goal will be a lot slower if you try to cover too much ground your first time around. Starting small is almost guaranteed to lead you to success, even on a smaller scale. If eventually you want to lose weight, saying you want to lose 20 pounds is great … but it’s going to take you awhile. Why not start by saying you want to lose five pounds instead? You’ll be able to achieve that goal a lot quicker, and it will motivate you to keep going and lose the next five pounds, until you eventually reach 20.
2. Make it a priority
The fastest way to not reach your goal is to adopt the “I’ll work on it later” mindset. If you put it off until the end of the month; the end of the week; even the end of the day, it will not happen. Do whatever you have to do to put your goal first, even if that means waking up a little earlier, spending less time on your phone or saving the new episode of your favorite T.V. show for later.
3. Give up something you don’t need
There are always going to be things distracting you from the goal you’re supposed to be prioritizing. To combat this, think of something you spend a lot of time on that has absolutely nothing to do with your goal. Though you may really enjoy spending all your time on that one thing, you could probably spend less time on it, or no time at all, and use your newly acquired free time to focus more on the goal you are trying to reach.
4. Set strict time restrictions
All goals should be timely, but there is such a thing as spending too much time on something. Set not only deadlines, but time limits for yourself as you are working toward your goals. For example, give yourself a two-hour time limit per day when working on a project so that you still make progress, but do not end up burning yourself out by working yourself too hard.
5. Don’t talk about it
It might seem like telling everyone you know about your goals is the best route to take if you want to achieve them, but it turns out that’s a wrong assumption. The minute you announce you’re going to do something, psychologically, a part of you starts to believe you’ve already made progress, even when you haven’t. For the most part, it might be best if you keep your ambition to yourself. At least for now.
If nothing else, at least be aware of this phenomenon if you do tell a few people about your goal, and take extra steps to make sure you still work toward achieving it.
6. Take care of yourself
You’re going to run into a lot more setbacks as you’re working to reach your goal if you don’t take care of yourself in the process. With hard work should come rest, exercise and a balanced diet. You need fuel to give you energy to keep working, but you also need a healthy way to burn off excess fuel (exercise) and to give your brain and body the chance to recharge (sleep).
7. Reward yourself often
Each goal should have small milestones, and at the end of each milestone there should be a small reward. Giving yourself an incentive to get something done, and then actually rewarding yourself with something tangible when you finish, will help keep you motivated. It doesn’t have to cost anything: it can be as simple as taking a weekend off after working long hours all week long.
8. Stay focused
When working toward a goal, it’s important to remember that it isn’t always going to be fun and it isn’t always going to be easy. At some points, you will get bored or feel like you aren’t actually accomplishing anything. Just keep at it. Push through it when it gets hard and be patient. Don’t give up just because you aren’t seeing results or you feel like it’s taking too long.
9. Find productive ways to relax
Making time to relax is important, but relaxing doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in front of a computer screen for hours at a time. There are other, more productive ways to relax, and in some cases, these are also things that can also help you reach your goal. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, you could try relaxing by taking a walk around the block. It doesn’t require much thinking, and it will help you take small steps – literally – toward your goal.
10. Keep track of your progress
Working toward a goal is actually much more about the road to the finish line than the finish line itself. That’s why keeping track of your progress is a habit that will get you to your goal in no time. If you can measure a step at a time, even if you have to take it day by day, you’re much less likely to feel like your hard work isn’t paying off. It probably is: it’s just paying off slower than you’d like. Use a journal or calendar to keep track as you slowly move your way forward.
Your goals themselves are important, but so are the steps you need to take in order to reach them. Develop healthy habits along the way to keep you motivated and keep you on track. With a lot of hard work and patience over time, you will reach your goals a lot faster than you might expect. Just keep at it, and don’t forget to let yourself rest every once in awhile.