Everyone has dreams. Maybe yours is losing weight, maybe it is building a patio for your house, and or it could be learning to cook. Whatever your dream, consider making it a goal for self improvement. Making something from a dream into a goal is a little bit scary, because the second it’s a goal, you run the risk of failure. With the right steps, turning a dream to a goal, and a goal to an achievement is manageable and maybe even fun! Either way, there is nothing like achieving your goals to inspire some serious self confidence - which makes you feel like you can take on more goals to achieve, and so on!
Step 1: Pick a Reasonable Goal
The first and most important step in the process of achieving your goals is to make sure to set reasonable expectations for yourself. For example, if you want to lose weight, expecting yourself to lose 20 pounds in a week or two is just not going to happen. Setting unrealistic goals not only sets you up for feeling badly about yourself, but also can encourage you to make dangerous choices to try to get there.
A reasonable goal is a combination of enough time and a reasonable change. For example, say it’s February, and you burn soup - in the microwave. By Thanksgiving, you’d like to be able to cook your own turkey. This gives you about 9 months to master a moderately difficult recipe. Often, this is the stage of goal setting in which consulting a professional can help. If you want to build a patio, go to Rona or Home Depot and ask a department head what it entails, and what you can expect. If you want to lose weight, see a health professional and ask him or her to help you with step 2: making your plan of action.
Step 2: Make a Plan of Action
You will need a few things to do this: a calendar, your set goal, and probably a third thing specific to said goal. A calendar is essential, regardless of whether you use a paper calender, a white board calendar or some sort of eCalendar on your computer or smart phone. Break your goal down into smaller tasks: i.e. weight loss per 2 weeks, 3 new recipes each week, what stages of planning and execution your patio should be in each month, and so on. It is as important that these steps are healthy and reasonable as it is for the original goal to be.
Step 3: Get a Support Network
“No man is an island,” especially when he or she is trying to make a change in his or her life. So don’t try to do this on your own. If you are trying to lose weight, find a walking or jogging buddy. It is always easier to go work out if you have someone to enjoy it or commiserate about it with. If you want to learn to cook, find a friend to share recipes with, or a cooking class to join - there are many cooking classes for people who want to learn, but don’t have a clue how to cook. For your patio, find a friend or family member who can help you out! Achieving your goals can be discouraging when things aren’t going as well as you had hoped. Having someone around to give you pep talks when you just can’t muster one up for yourself is really important, as is step 4: choose rewards for yourself.
Step 4: Choose Rewards for Yourself
Punishing yourself when you get off track doesn’t help at all. Chances are, if you fall off the wagon in some capacity in regards to achieving your goal, you feel bad enough as it is. Rather than kick yourself when you’re down, reward yourself when you’re up. If your weight loss is going well, and you’re on track with your weight loss goals, get yourself a little treat. Some unsalted, un-buttered popcorn during a movie, some low-fat frozen yogurt on a hot day, something like that, to help quell your desires for junk food without totally trashing your diet plan. If your patio is under construction, and you feel like giving yourself a pat on the back, have a cookout so you can think about how much better the cookout will be when you can do it on your patio. If you’re learning to cook, have someone else do the dishes on a night when your recipe turns out just perfectly! Rewarding yourself is a good way to keep feeling good about yourself every step of the process.
Step 5: Do it!
The last step is just to do it. Stick with it even when things are hard, and don’t get too cocky when they’re going well. When you’ve achieved your goal, you will feel so good that anything you went through will have been well worth it. Believe in yourself, and follow these steps, and before you know it, you’ll be achieving all sorts of goals, big and small.