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How to Set Achievable Goals

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

Welcome back to another wonderful week of Design Create Inspire. I intended last week to be the final episode of the year, but couldn't go into 2021 without creating an episode all about goals. You may call them New Year Resolutions, I like to call them goals, either way, they can be fun, motivating, and an inspiring way to kick off the new year.

Life is about making goals. Creating a future that excites you and encourages you to move forward. That’s what the new year is all about, right? New year's resolutions are optimistic outlooks on how you envision the new year to go. What you want to achieve, what you want to change, and what you want to work on. Western Connecticut Health Network says, "Research shows that as many as 50 percent of adults in the United States make New Year's resolutions, but fewer than 10 percent actually keep them for more than a few months". Why is that? I believe we set our goals too high and give up too early. I am all about setting big goals, believe me! I talked all about setting goals and the goals I’ve set for myself in Episode 6: How to Become a Licensed Architect by 30, but, there is a secret to achieving these goals. Too many people give up too early!

First, you have to break up your goals into small increments. You want to set a goal that lights you up, excites you, and makes you want to achieve it. So, you want to create stepping stones for goals so they are realistic. For example, say you have 100 followers on your business's social media account and your goal is to reach 10,000. That’s a great goal! If that is one of your year’s goals, you may be disappointed because the reach from 100 to 10,000 is so big. You may find yourself giving up even when you are still making progress. So, make the goal more realistic. If you have 100, make the year’s goal 1,000 and next year's goal 2,500.

The Secret

Now here’s the real secret: go from macro to micro with your goals.

Here's an assignment for you:

  1. Imagine it’s December 31, 2021

  2. Sit down and journal what the best parts of your year were, what you accomplished, and what you are most excited about. Example: “Happy New Year's Eve! I can’t believe we’re already at the end of 2021, what an amazing year. We finally took that amazing trip to Guatemala that we’ve been wanting to do. It was beautiful! I spent so much time with family and friends, which helped make up for a lot of the lost time in 2021. My business is growing consistently and I finally hit 1,000 followers on Instagram! I’ve also been running 3 times a week, which has felt so good. I never thought I would consider myself a runner, but now I can’t go a week without it. We did a lot of hiking, swimming, and adventuring this year. It was wonderful!”

  3. Now dissect the accomplishments into big picture (macro) items. From my narrative:

    1. Travel

    2. Quality time with family and friends

    3. Business growth

    4. 1,000 followers

    5. Health: running 3x a week

    6. Adventures: hiking, swimming, etc.

4. Now take each of those macro items and go micro. What would you need to do each month in order to achieve those goals? It may include saving money, starting to walk, posting more on Instagram, etc.

By breaking out these big goals into 12-month increments, the goals become so much more realistic. As you’ll hear in this week’s podcast, I use weight loss as a generic example for this. If you want to lose 10 pounds, losing less than a pound a month is much more realistic and less daunting than 10. You’re less likely to give up when the goal doesn't feel overwhelming. Say that first month you’re working your butt off trying to lose weight and lose 1 pound, you might be totally discouraged and quit. If you work at it slowly, so you don’t burn yourself out, and at the end of the month you lose 1 pound, you can look at that as a win! Hey, you’re already ahead because you lost a whole pound! It’s essentially the same thing, but totally different psychology that is more sustainable.

Here are a few additional tips for achieving your goals.

  1. Just ask - People are a lot more willing to help than you might think. Asking others for help may look like asking a friend to be an accountability partner for health or reaching out to a business leader you respect and learn more about how they got to where they are. Not everyone is available, but you’d be surprised how many people are willing to share advice or help you achieve your goals.

  2. Take risks - Sometimes you have to take risks in order to achieve a goal. One of my big goals this year was to finish my California architecture exam and get licensed. The risk? Spending the time, money, and energy to take a test I might fail. Was it worth it? Yes! Take the risk, put yourself out there, be vulnerable! It’ll help you get closer to your goals.

  3. Release fear - Oh fear…our good friend! I have an episode all about fear setting you can listen to here. Fear rears its ugly head in our lives so often, especially when we’re getting close to a goal or working on something we are really passionate about. You have to release that fear in order to move forward. If you’re held back by fear, you’ll never take that next step.

  4. Be ok with messing up - it happens to the best of us. Also, if anyone tells you they don’t mess up, they’re lying. Messing up happens, we’re human. Say you’re working on losing weight and you’ve been doing great for 2 months and then you “mess up”, you slip up, have an off week, whatever you want to call. It’s easy to throw in the towel! Shoot, I messed up, forget it, I give up. How the hell are you supposed to ever achieve a goal with that mentality! Mess up, brush it off, get back on track. Also, sometimes goals aren’t achieved in the timeframe you desire, that’s ok! Goals sometimes need to be redirected, altered, or maybe don’t serve you at all anymore. Don’t look at this as messing up or failure, look at it as a time to reflect or pivot.

  5. Redefine failure - This is a big one for goals and one of the main reasons I like to start big and go small. If you’re hoping to gain 1,000 followers by the end of the year and on the first month you gain 50, you may look at that as a failure and not work the energy, so you quit. But, if you redefine this “failure” into a success, you’re much more likely to succeed.

Remember, nothing happens overnight and true success comes from persistence and consistency. Slowly working towards something brings huge results. Sometimes it’s hard to see because it’s coming slowly and consistently, so that’s why I love to take the end of the year to reflect on how far I’ve come!

Check out this week’s podcast or video to hear a few of my goals for this year. Let me know what your goals were, if you achieved them or had to pivot and if you’ve made your 2021 goals yet. I’m always interested to hear how other people set goals because I love to learn. So, definitely let me know! Also, some people don’t like to make resolutions, so if you’re one of them let me know why, and if after this episode you may be more inclined to do so. As always, thank you for spending time with me this week. I will see you in the new year! Happy holidays!



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