Setting goals is one side of the coin, but sticking to them is the other, more challenging side. If the goal has a medium- to long-term horizon, you’re likely to lose motivation, dedication, and commitment along the way. This is a natural process, and because you know it’s likely to happen, you need to factor this into your goal-setting success plan. Even the goals that you have autonomy over – the ones that result in you leading a better life, or that you initially found self-motivating and self-fulfilling – will lose their sparkle over time. The more personal value connection you have with the goal the better, but life does tend to get in the way, and can side-track you from achieving your desired goals. Think about the goals you set in the last year. How many of them materialised, and how many fell by the wayside?

How to stick to your goals

Let’s be honest, the answer to sticking to your goals is as simple or as complex as you wish to make it. There’s no single solution, and everyone’s approach will be different. The three most reliable strategies that have been proven to be the most successful are:

  1. Be Clear And Specific About Your Goals
    I heard someone say that, “specific is terrific”. This makes sense to me because you need to be able to say, in a few words, what you want to achieve. You can start the sentence with “I want to … by the …”. I know you’ve heard this before, but if your goal is vague, you can’t plan it or break it down into smaller steps. The clearer and the more specific you are about your goal, the more likely you are to stick to it, and achieve it.
  2. Visualise Your Goal
    A picture says a thousand words. Visualising your goal is a powerful way to stick to something. Make the visual something you can recall immediately, because the advantage is that your brain
    cannot differentiate between the current or future reality. It only knows the here and now, which are your thoughts in the moment. If you visualise your goals, your brain believes it’s the current moment, and acts accordingly.
  3. Have An Accountability Buddy
    Even the most disciplined goal setters lose their mojo at times. It’s important to acknowledge when you have lost traction on your goals, and then to ask for help, or have a circle of support around you who can be your cheerleaders when you aren’t able to. An accountability buddy doesn’t need to be time-intensive, and a weekly 15- to 20-minute check-in is often more than enough to hold you accountable to what you committed to. We do this in a work setting all the time when we check-in where projects are, who needs support, or if there are bottlenecks on deliverables, so we know that it’s successful. Use the same approach for your personal or professional goals.

Key take-aways of how to stick to your goals

  • Factor in that you will lose your goal motivation along the way.
  • Make your goals as specific and clear as possible.
  • Visualise your goal in detail.
  • Have an accountability buddy for regular check-ins.

Over to you for sharing your comments and experiences.

Why do you think it’s important to stick to your goals?

About the Author: Kerstin Jatho

Kerstin is the senior transformational coach and team development facilitator for 4Seeds Consulting. She is also the author of Growing Butterfly Wings, a book on applying positive psychology principles during a lengthy recovery. Her passion is to develop people-centred organisations where people thrive and achieve their potential in the workplace. You can find Kerstin on LinkedIn, Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook.

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