As you have probably already noticed, it has been quite a while since my last post- over a year. I let life get in my way of my goal to maintain and grow this blog. I was so enthralled in post-college life, planning a wedding, moving into a new house, and starting a new job that I completely forgot about me. Yes, this past year has been a really great one and tons of really fabulous things have happened to me. But, that doesn’t mean that I should neglect the person I was or the goals that I had prior to this “new life.” I’m really glad I finally came to terms with this, instead of constantly tucking this blog into the back of my mind every time I remembered how long it has been. Although I recognize where I went wrong, I still need help. Goals are not easy to maintain and that’s why we set them. We can’t expect to meet every goal we set for ourselves- what’s the fun in that? But, we can certainly try. In search for help, I surfed the web and read a handful of articles about how to achieve the goals you set for yourself. As I was reading, I complied my top ten list of the most helpful advice that I found and I would like to share those with you here. It’s always nice to know that you aren’t the only one struggling and that there is someone out there willing to help.
1. Don’t put off your goals. You may already have a goal in mind that hasn’t left the ‘idea’ stage yet. Let’s say your goal is to lose ten pounds, or save enough money for a new car, or perhaps it’s to get an ‘A’ on your next paper but you keep thinking of excuses to delay taking control of your goal. You may think, “Oh, I can just do that tomorrow… or next week.” There might be a big party this weekend where you want to be able to eat whatever you want or your favorite musician might be coming to town and you desperately want to buy tickets. But, why put off what you can do today? Even if it’s the smallest of steps- do it right now. You still have two days until that party, eat right and exercise then you can enjoy yourself guilt-free. Put $5 into your “car fund,” it’s a start. I can’t even tell you how many times I have thought about this blog in the last year. Every time I had a different excuse/reason why I should do it next week. Well next week turned into a year and here I am, feeling incredibly defeated. There was no reason why I couldn’t compromise and write a shorter post every other week instead of a longer post every week. At least I would have been writing something.
2. Try to put your goals first as often as you can. I realize there are going to be times when something comes up and your goal may have to be sacrificed a little but don’t make it a habit. It’s O.K. to say “no.” If you had a plan to go on a run after work but your friend calls you during the day to make plans to meet for dinner after work, suggest meeting for a late dinner so you can still get that workout in. It’s Friday, you just got paid and you had a plan to put a large chunk of that money in your new car fund but your friends want to spend the night at the casino, instead suggest something more low-key like drinks and game night at your place. Don’t let other people’s needs and desires get in the way of your own desires.
3. Be specific and take small steps. Don’t just say you want to lose weight, give it a number. Want a new car? Decide on what type, make, or model. For me, instead of saying that I want to write a blog post this week I pick my topic before hand. Knowing what I’m going to write about, thinking about it for a few days, then sitting down to write makes my goal seem ten times easier. You should also break your main goal down into many tiny baby goals. For example, I want to lose 2 pounds in the next two weeks or I want to save $100 this month. It makes your goal seem less daunting and gives you something to focus on in the short term.
4. Know your strengths and use them. If you have a weakness for chocolate but you enjoy working out, run an extra few laps around the track because you know you are going to have a piece of that Hershey’s bar later. I know that I won’t get any writing done on the weekends, it’s my downtime and I just want to relax. So I publish posts at the end of the week. Giving myself all next week to write a new one.
5. Plan ahead and give yourself deadlines. Most of the time, we know when events are going to occur in our lives. You have your best friend’s wedding next month or your going on a cruise vacation in the Fall. Eat right and exercise plenty until that big event. You deserve to enjoy yourself. If you work hard then you can fully appreciate that reward. Maybe you have a student loan payment coming due in a couple months. Skip the dessert or extra drink at dinner, save your cash so you don’t have to crack into that car fund to pay for it. When I know I’m going to have a busy week or I will be away, I write two blog posts in one week and save the second one for my busy week. All I need to do is click “Publish” and there I did it- I reached my weekly goal without much effort at all.
6. Do something your proud of. Have a goal to go law school or medical school? Stop and think a moment, is this something that you want to do? Or are you being influenced by friends or family? If it’s not something that you truly want to do, then don’t do it. There is no greater feeling then accomplishing your goals but I promise you won’t get that feeling if you aren’t truly excited about what you just accomplished.
7. Wash away negativity. Every time a negative thought comes into your mind- let it go. You only lost a half a pound this week? So? At least you lost something. You couldn’t save any money this month? So? At least, you didn’t lose any money. Don’t expect to hit every goal- it’s highly unlikely. But do keep pushing through, what’s the worst that could happen?
8. Seek help. There are very few things in this world that we can do completely alone. If you are struggling, ask for help. Ask a friend to be your gym buddy. Seek advice from a friend who saved up for their new car last year. How did they do it? Don’t be ashamed to get help, it’s a lot better than the alternative.
9. Consider new opportunities that arrive. We all have a plan about how we want to achieve our goals, but what happens when something new arises? We tend to let it pass by just because it simply wasn’t in our plan. Your local fitness class center is running a special on classes? Sign-up! It may not be in your current running workout regime but maybe it will be more effective for you. You won’t know unless you try. Perhaps a local store is looking for seasonal or weekend help? Try it out, if you hate it- quit. That extra money could serve as your gas or grocery money letting you save more money from you real job for your new car. You never know, you may really end up liking the job or meeting some new awesome people.
10. Evaluate your progress and your goals. Did a certain technique not work for you? Did you notice that you slacked off in morning workouts versus evening workouts? Try to avoid hitting the gym in A.M. Adjust your daily habits to benefit your goal, not hurt it. You need to evaluate your goals themselves as well. Maybe you set a goal to lose ten pounds in six months. But, you are well into month four and you have only lost a few pounds. Adjust your six month goal to five pounds and try to hit that mark instead. The feeling of success will encourage you to keep going instead of giving up.
I know this a boat-load of information to digest but it is all totally doable. You may not get it on the first try, but try and try again. You aren’t alone- I know I will certainly be trying over and over again.
Follow me on twitter @lconfidence and “like” my new Facebook pages- “Lipstick Confidence” AND “Lipstick Lit.” I post more than just my blogs there, or at least trying to…. progress people, progress.