3 Tips For Creating More Practical And Achievable Goals
Achieving the lifestyle you've always wanted isn't as complex as you think.
Without an exciting prospect to look forward to, the daily drudgery of life can quickly become deflating. Most happiness and fulfillment in life comes down to growing, and growth comes down to leaving one’s comfort zone. Ditching your comfort zone invariably comes down to discipline, and this is where most people get stuck. Discipline means real work, and everyone who has experienced success in some form understands that self-discipline is the only path to sustainable success. You cannot rely on others to get you energized in the morning and prepared for the sacrifices necessary for your dreams.
Therefore, you need a system for your goals that’s reliable over time. One-time success stories cannot be deemed liable because they aren’t replicable. If you cannot sustain the system through which your work produced a desired result, you might as well spend your time elsewhere; otherwise you’ll be running in circles. Read on for three tips necessary for creating highly practical and achievable goals.
1. Ask Yourself Why
Before a worthwhile goal can be tackled, you must ask yourself why it appeals to you. Remember that humans make emotional decisions and justify those decisions rationally. As an example, we do not purchase weight loss materials because it logically makes sense if we are overweight. Even though they do, we make these purchases because of the emotional result we’ll achieve. In other words, the feeling of losing weight is the apex of desire when it comes to trading money for products, not the reality of having the product itself.
A workout DVD in and of itself is not necessarily valuable; it’s the information and value contained within the message that addresses an emotional need for change and the ensuing behavior adjustments. Asking yourself why you want to reach that goal will give you the exact answer needed to establish the clearest what and how.
2. Create A Process
Having valuable goals in life has long been touted as the prime example of a life well lived. Learning how to make more money, losing weight and staying fit for a lifetime, achieving that romantic connection you’ve always dreamed of and being able to do what you love for a living are all common fixations. These are not bad ideas in and of themselves, but approaching them through a binary mindset causes more trouble than it may seem.
Let’s say you’re convicted to find the romantic partner of your dreams. Signing up for dating sites and spending more time out will raise the likelihood you’ll cross paths with someone, but you’ll merely be increasing your numbers unless you holistically address the type of person you want. Put another way, it’s not always increasing quantity that will get you what you want; you often have to examine the core of your actions as often as the frequency.
If you want a specific type of person and not just anyone, it’s worth your time to sit down and establish the characteristics of the person you’re looking for. As you’re doing this, keep in mind that you attract who and what you are. If the qualities you’re looking for in a mate are high above the qualities you currently exhibit for yourself, it’s necessary to practice these traits yourself before you can expect to find someone of the same caliber.
I’ll use writing as another personal example. When I was writing my first book, as much as I enjoyed the process, it didn’t hit me (until near the end) that I would have to find a fresh process for writing future works. In other words, it’s easy to get wrapped up in wanting a certain result so badly that we miss out on creating the lifestyle necessary to achieve sustained results.
Tony Robbins and Charles Duhigg talk about this concept a ton. They both hit on the aspect that getting a result is great, but that outcome means little unless you know how you got there. This is why creating a process (especially on a scale and schedule that works for you) is so essential to long-term lifestyle results.
3. Incorporate An Accomplishment Into Your Lifestyle
In the same way that transforming goals into processes makes them truly growth-oriented, transitioning an accomplishment into your larger lifestyle gives it the momentum needed to become a true success. See, if a one-off event or accomplishment is successful, that is closer to the definition of luck than victory. For example, if someone decides to run their first 5K but falls back into their old bad habits afterwards, was the 5K really a victory? It was more like a marooned moment of luck. Granted, I cannot think of many people who have completed a 5K and relapsed into poor behaviors, but this does not mean it never happens.
When you move an accomplishment into your daily lifestyle pattern, this is what genuine progress feels like. Using diet as an example, someone may decide to drink less or eat fewer desserts in a month. While these are not bad goals, they generally miss the point of what progress and growth are supposed to look like. Instead of merely looking to reduce harmful choices, we should seek to master beneficial ones. While all decision-making processes for humans are emotionally rooted, this does not mean a system cannot be used to improve one’s life.
Continuing with the food example, many of us understand that cupcakes and beer are not nutritionally sound choices. We consume them anyways because they satisfy one’s taste. However, after we make the choice to reduce our intake of these items, we must look to the next step and replace them with healthier foods. In other words, progress and lifestyle changes are always about replacing bad habits with new ones. If we reduce or remove our consumption of sweets and alcohol but leave everything else the same, we fail to move our patterns from good to best.
Getting the lifestyle you want requires producing certain results, and getting the right habits in motion is the exact catalyst required before anything else can happen. We feel most alive when we feel that our goals are going somewhere, but in order for our goals to outlast temporary circumstances, emotional obstacles and periodic defeats, we have to associate goals and processes with our identity. Below are a few questions designed to cut straight to the root of a goal you want to transform into a lifestyle:
- What is the emotional and/or tangible victory I desire as a result of this new habit?
- What are the one to three things I must do every week to ensure my lifestyle will be different and produce this result?
- What are the obstacles to making this result sustainable?
- What will I do to overcome them?
- Why is this new result/habit important to my identity?
- How will my improved sense of identity help me and help others?