1. Use a calendar and write it down!
A central theme of goal achievement is to plan and track how you are going to get from point A, to where you want to be. What better way to do this than to use a printable calendar? A calendar, written or electronic, allows you to see all of your events quickly and lets you easily schedule new tasks. It helps you understand how you are using your time and prioritize things that are important. You can easily break down tasks into manageable chunks and schedule when you work on these tasks. Calendars also help gauge deadlines that may be approaching and can act as a motivator to not procrastinate on getting things done. Personally, I like using a printable calendar, slapped to the fridge, staring me in the face. That way I can frequently see how I am going to spend my time today, tomorrow, the next day, and next week.
Indeed, you don't have to get fancy to organize your life. Something as simple as a sticky note can do wonders for you. The key in my opinion is to write it down, and make it conveniently visible to you. Use technology to your advantage, or if you prefer, use traditional planning methods
2. Prioritize Your Time and Stick To Your Schedule
Lets face it. You are busy. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, and you often become overwhelmed with the amount of things that you need to accomplish in a day. Don't let unnecessary activities steal time away from you.
How do you do this? By figuring out what is most important to you. Spend time on the priorities you have made for yourself. Let the rest of the stuff go. Use a day planner or calendar to schedule your day and find chunks of time to spend on what you deem is important. Don't let things like an unexpected conversation with a long-winded neighbor or office mate throw you off-track. Stick to your schedule until you have completed your priorities for the day, and only then, let loose from the schedule.
3. Break It Down
Its great to have goals. But, it takes many small steps to reach your goals. Break your goals down into small, manageable chunks. Schedule these chunks out during the day or week so that you make incremental progress toward your goal. There is a Buddhist saying that a journey of a million steps begins with one! Figure out what these small steps are and put them into your calendar so that you have dedicated time to work on them. Rome was not built in a day!
4. Don't Wait For the Right Time To Start
There is never going to be a perfect time to start the march toward your goals. There will always be things that compete for your time and attention (and money). If you wait for everything in your life to be aligned before you start work toward your goals, you will never start. Life is messy and chaotic; you have to accept this. Don't wait. Seize the day! Start now! There is no time like the present! If you want it, you will make time to do it. Literally, just do it!
5. Stop Procrastinating on Things You Dislike
Everyone has things that they dread doing. I, for example, hate making business-related phone calls. I hate talking to strangers, I hate holding the line, I hate it when a 5-second answer takes half a day to track down. I hate it, and I avoid it. But this is where the crux of progress lies. Progress only happens if you can get through those menial or dreaded tasks so that you can move forward. Progress can only happen when you stop procrastinating. On these types of tasks, I blatantly schedule blocks of time where I work on the dreaded phone-calls. I tell myself, “From 1:00 to 2:00 today, I am going to make phone-calls and when its done, its done.” By using self-talk, and having a specific block of time dedicated to tasks where I tend to procrastinate, I allow myself a beginning and ending time. I know, in an hour, I'll be done. Here the objective to push through those tasks that you dislike, a little at a time, so that you make progress, and the pain of doing so is taken in small doses.
6. Look For Like-Minded People
The idea here is to surround yourself with like-minded people or like-minded thoughts. Such people can be a significant source of inspiration and guidance. Figure out who has achieved feats that are similar to your goals, and read, listen to, or watch what they have to say. If your goal is, for example, to become YouTube famous, look to learn from people who have done just that. Set a goal to read books, listen to pod-casts, watch videos, or whatever it is that you can do to learn more about like-minded people. Schedule this into your day or week just as you would any other task. People who have achieved things similar to your goals are your peers, even if you are just getting started. Learn from them!
7. Find Inspirational Quotes
We all come to points in our journey when we tire. You may find yourself lacking your initial enthusiasm for your goals. These lulls can really thwart progress, so you need to find a way to push through. Have you ever considered a looking for motivational quotes that are geared toward your specific goals? There are a ton of websites with inspirational quotes out there that can jump start your desire and remind you why you are on the path that you chose.
8. Evaluate and Reevaluate
Periodically you will need to take a step back and evaluate the steps you are taking to reach your goals. Again, a calendar of written tasks will be a useful log that can help you easily review all the things you have done thus far. Simply look over how you are spending your time and energy with regard to your end goal. Are the tasks that you have done in the past still relevant to keep you moving forward? Similarly, take time to reevaluate the goal itself. Has the end-goal changed or been tweaked? If the goal has changed, how do your actions need to change in light of the new goal?
9. Realize that Progress is Not Always Linear
The path to success is never a straight line. There are always going to be setbacks and you are going to screw things up from time-to-time. Don't become frustrated with setbacks and stumbles, and by all means don't quit! Learn from your mistakes and use that knowledge as you plan for the future.
10. Reflect on Where You Came From
Goal setting and attaining goals requires focus. You must constantly look forward and keep your eye on the end result. Sometimes this laser-like focus ends up causing us to operate with blinders on. All we can see is what is directly in front of us. It is imperative that you must also take time, not only to plan forward, but to remember and reflect on why you are on this path to begin with. What was your impetus to set this goal to begin with? Does attainment of the end-goal still burn inside you? Look through your old calendars and schedules to see how far you've come. Take time to pat yourself on the back and celebrate milestones.