1. Set Goals that are Motivating: Set goals that have value. Focus on what you want to achieve in life. When we set goals that have meaning to us, we have more of a tendency to pursue them. Motivation is key to achieving goals.
2. Set SMART Goals: For goals to be powerful, they should be SMART.
3. Write down Goals: Recording the goal makes it real and more likely attainable. When goals are recorded, use the word “will” instead of “would like to” or “might.” Using strong, positive words keeps motivation strong and can improve retention. Writing has been proven to help store and internalize ideas for longer periods of time, thus helping you stay focused and on track.
4. Make an Action Plan: This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. Write down individual steps and cross each one off as you accomplish it.
5. Stick with it! This is the hardest step. Don’t give up. Life is certain to throw obstacles in the path. It is how we handle those obstacles that control our success. Goal setting is an ongoing activity. In goal setting, set reminders to stay on track and schedule time to review goals. This keeps goals current and relevant to aspirations. Ralph Ryback, author of The Science of Accomplishing Your Goals, explains the best way for the brain to form a habit is to stay consistent. When goals we desire become habit, as creatures of habit, they are more easily attainable.
6. Use Dopamine to your Advantage: When we desire something our brain releases dopamine. It’s possible to manipulate your dopamine levels by setting small goals and then accomplishing them. Every time we achieve these smaller goals, our brains receive a rewarding transmitter. The more often we give our brain this rewarding feeling, the more often our brains will want us to repeat the associated behavior.
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration – the rest of us just get up and go to work.”