Sometimes, it feels too easy to set goals: my journals are packed with them. Despite making my goals SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely), I often end up looking back at my old journal entries and feeling disheartened at the lack of progress I've made.
Lately, I've began to realise why I haven't been achieving certain goals. It's because I haven't articulated the reasons that achieving a goal would be so great. Simply put: I don't know why I'm setting out to achieve the goal.
It sounds ridiculous: like duh, obviously the reason that I want to give up sweets is to be healthier. But what does being healthy mean to me? Do I want to give up sweets and be healthier in order to live longer? For better skin? To lose weight? For whiter teeth? And hold up: Why do I even want white teeth? Is it to look better in photos, to feel better about myself, to feel more confident? It's only when you get really specific about the reason why you're doing something that you can crystallise your intention and get motivated enough to actually put the hard work in to achieve your goal.
Think about it. When you've got to get to the airport for an early-morning flight, how easy is it to get out of bed the second that your alarm rings that day? But try setting your alarm for 6.30am on a Sunday morning and see how many times you hit the snooze button... Or just sleep through it entirely. I have first-hand experience with this struggle: one of my personal goals is to get up earlier. But every morning, when my alarm blares, I hit snooze over and over again until holy shit I have to wake up now, I mean right this second, or I am seriously going to be late for work- o'clock.
Both examples involve hauling myself out of bed in the morning, but it's only when there's a flight to catch that I actually achieve my goal. Clearly, there's a big difference between the two situations. When I've got to get to the airport, there's a crystal clear reason why I've got to get out of bed: if I don't I'll miss the plane, miss out on an incredible holiday and waste a lot of money. But in the second example, there's no obvious reason why I should wake up... So I don't. A vague notion that early-risers achieve more, doesn't work. If I really want to start waking up early I need to let myself know why I should bother.
I need to ask myself why is this so important to me? What happens if I achieve my goal and why does that matter? Why do I want to grow my blog, run a 15k, do anything that involves getting out of bed at all, let alone at 6.30am?
For the best results, ask yourself why and write down your answer. Next time you're writing your goals down, spend an extra few minutes to jot down all the benefits you'll get from achieving the goal. If your struggling to think of more than one solid reason that you're attempting to achieve a goal, google it - I found out that early-risers are more productive, and added that to my list! If you're still finding it difficult to come up with numerous reasons to achieve a goal, perhaps reconsider the entire goal: is this something you will really dedicate time and effort into achieving when you can't even list off the benefits of achieving the goal? This gives you a chance to prioritise the goals that will bring about the most positive change in your life.
With a clear understanding of why you want something, you'll find that your willpower will skyrocket. At least that's the theory! So there's nothing left to do except my alarm for 6.30am and wake up bright and early. See you then?