The mind-blowing secret for sticking with your goals

February is nearly over. How are those new year goals going? Have you been consistent with your goals?

After the new year high has worn thin, after the gray and cold has taken its toll, we need to get honest about what it takes to stay consistent with our goals.

It is not unusual to make progress for 2-3 weeks in January on those big goals and then peter out. By the end of February, it might have been weeks since you thought about those goals.

No worries – after all, there’s still most of the year ahead, right? You can pick those goals back up when X is over.

That kind of thinking is what got you to this place where you haven’t thought about your goals at all for 2-3 weeks.

How are we going to stay consistent with our goals with an on-again, off-again pattern? That’s not consistency and it’s not motivating.

To stay consistent with goals we don’t need more motivation and we don’t need more grit. Instead, sticking with your goals comes from attention and awareness.

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We need to keep our goals visible.

First, that means writing them down. Vague ideas rolling around in our head make us feel idealistic and accomplished (or potentially accomplished someday). That is, when those same vague ideas aren’t making us feel strangely tense and anxious or like frustrated failures.

Writing our goals down in concrete words and complete sentences forces us to completely articulate what it is we’re aiming for. Often we find we aren’t exactly sure. When pressed to put pen to paper, we can’t quite express it – and that means we don’t really know.

Until your goal is written in a clearly communicated sentence, you might not actually have a goal at all – just a vague, nebulous wish.

Second, you need to actually look at your goal. Once it is written down, it is possible to read it and review it – and that is the nub of the mind-blowing secret.

They say out of sight, out of mind for a reason.

We need to keep looking over, rereading, reviewing our goals if we’re going to stick with them and make progress on them.

If we don’t keep our goals in front of our faces regularly, acting consistently with those goals will be impossible because we will simply forget what they are.

No matter how much motivation we have when we begin, it will wane. To keep our attention focused, we have to continually bring it back to the written goals.

How and when to look at your goals

To be consistent with your goals, you have to know what they are first. It’s so easy to get distracted by all the incoming and potential tasks that are involved in mothering and homemaking. We need to read over our goals again and again so that thinking about them – and then acting on them – is more likely.

Being familiar with our goals only happens after consistent review. Consistent review will help you stick with your goals.

We need to look at our goals for consistency’s sake at least weekly. Once a week, while we review our past week and plan the next, we should read over our goals in order to keep them top of mind. In fact, the reading of the goals should come before making the week’s plan.

When you review your goals and only then make your plan for the week, you can choose actions, tasks, and priorities in keeping with your goals rather than by whim or urgency.

How to stick with your goals

Look at your written at least weekly and plan what you’re going to do this week and this day to move them a tiny step forward. Stop thinking about accomplishing them in one go and break them down into tiny steps and take regular action.

If you have one particular goal you are working on, try writing it out on a post it or index card and stick it by your kitchen sink or on your bathroom mirror where you will see it throughout the day.

Sticking with your goals is not about getting them all done in one fell swoop. It’s about taking small steps over time.

We need to keep our goals top of mind if we’re going to let them influence our choices and directions. The most common reason for not following through on our goals is simply the fact that we get caught up in the moment and forget that to reach a goal takes change in some way.

If we’re going to change our habits, change our direction in an area, or change our momentum, it will take sustained attention.

The best way to keep up sustained attention on our goals is also an easy, simple thing to do. It is simply to look at our goals often.

Declutter your head.

  • Reduce stress by getting your thoughts onto paper
  • Reduce frustration by assigning homes to stuff, tangible & intangible
  • Reduce anxiety by knowing what you have on your plate

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3 Comments

  1. Yes! I’m so so bad about writing out the PERFECT goals/plans/ideas and never looking at them again! Ah! That second part gets me. It would yield much more satisfying results to keep them in sight often, rather than happening upon them when it’s too late and realizing I totally blew it the whole year-or-however-long. I have also been trying to get over my former “all or none” perfectionist attitude, and replace it with a “some or none” mentality. While it always feels impossible to do it ALL, it is always totally doable to tackle SOME. And some is way better than none (which is what I get with the all or none mindset). I’m thankful for your encouragement!

  2. Reviewing has always been my downfall. I write lists on index cards in the morning, and then actually FEAR looking at the cards again. I don’t throw the cards away because I’m afraid there’s something on them I may really need to remember, but the cards are just strewn about on a desk or surface or lost in a pile around my house. When the rate moment comes that i fell brave enough, I collect the cards I can find, look them over and am relieved to find several things I can cross of as done. I then make a list of what’s still to do and finally throw the cards away… Just to start the cycle again.

    Figuring this out, though, along with the instruction and encouragement in your post, Mystic, is a HUGE step in getting past this less-than-helpful habit.

    Here’s to PROGRESS!

    Thanks, Mystic. : )

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