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Three years ago, I really wanted to go to grad school. I was working several jobs just trying to keep up with my life and I knew that going back to school would be my key to finally getting ahead. Even though I knew that's what I needed to do, it wasn't as easy as Nike would suggest. #JustDoIt.
It would always start off the same way, I would pick up a GRE book stare at it for a few hours and feel great! But then the next day would roll around and there was always something that came up. One day it would be that I was exhausted, another day it would be after school activities and PTA meetings, another day, still, I just didn't feel like it - but I did really want to accomplish that goal.
The truth is, accomplishing any long term goal (like studying for the GRE) tends to be very difficult because it requires you to focus on one thing for months at a time. Even if you approach the first few weeks with gusto, that same enthusiasm will not last you two months or six months or a year. You need discipline.
Rather than internally scold yourself on why you don't have the discipline to complete your goals (like I did for about a year of false starts with the GRE), try to find another way to complete that same goal that comes more easily to you. Here are some of the things I do to continuously crush my goals - no matter how difficult they are.
Give yourself one cheat day a week.
All work and no play make you a very dull woman. #truth Make sure every week has time for you to enjoy your time alone (preferably with a glass of wine) or spend time with friends and family. This is the best way to clear you mind and take care of yourself so you don't hit burnout. After a good day of relaxing and catering to your personal needs, you'll be ready to attack your goals when you come back!
Get an accountability partner.
An accountability partner is someone that you talk to periodically about your goals. My accountability partner is my secret weapon. (Seriously, I have two accountability partners for each of the big goals I want to crush this year.) Not only do my accountability partners talk to me about my goals, they also hold me accountable to the goals I set AND suggest ways that I can approach my problem from different angles based on their personal experiences. We call each other once a month and take turns talking about where we are on our goals and strategize on how to accomplish them. This makes goal crushing more social - and more fun!
Set a trigger point to remind yourself when to work on that goal.
Sometimes working on a goal is simple enough, but finding the time to work on that goal is the difficult part. With events and networking and building/maintaining relationships, it's understandable that long term goals fall through the cracks (Hey, you can always get to it tomorrow, right? WRONG.) The best way to get a goal to completion is to do it every day so find something that you do every day and commit to following your goal right afterwards. For example, after I put my daughter to sleep, I work on my goals. Also, on Sundays after breakfast, I work on my goals. I don't put anything else in that time and after a while you'll get used to doing it that you don't need to be reminded or force yourself to do it anymore.
Create hard deadlines for yourself.
Some people are able to get things done simply - because. But, trust (and believe) not everyone functions that way. In fact, I love setting hard deadlines for myself to make sure that I get things done on the day I say I will. For example, if you're thinking about creating an event, the best way to make sure that event happens is to set a date and pay for the space. Better yet, you can start marketing it so people know that you have an event scheduled. (Try not making that deadline. 😃) For this to work, it can't be an arbitrary deadline - make sure that you're held accountable to this deadline by something concrete. For example you could try pre-selling your product and agreeing on a launch date or betting friends and family you'll get it done - and put money on it!
Go to a conference.
Conferences (that, of course, are all about the project that you are currently working on) have a keen way of revitalizing the way you originally felt about your project. For example, if you're a blogger, but you've been having writer's bock and haven't been able to complete a blog post in a while, going to a blogger's conference like Blogalicious or BlogHer could be really helpful for you. You'll learn new tools and tactics to implement in your journey that could be game changing. You'll also meet new people that are traveling the same path as you and can identify with what you're going through that could give you tips on how they've forged through.
Schedule a nice break at the end of your goal.
I love accomplishing a huge task with the understanding that once this task is complete I will be able to have a nice, long break (that usually consists of me, on a rooftop or massage table immediately followed by wine). Having a light at the end of the tunnel gives you something to look forward to. It also makes it easier to suffer through the difficult times of working through a goal because you know that your moment of peace and relaxation is right on the other side of your accomplishments.
Some people really struggle with staying on track while others can power forward on their goals without ever losing steam. To get though the GRE, I met with an accountability partner IN PERSON once a week and we would work through different pre-tests in the work book and give each other an assignment at the end of our study sessions. Another one of my best friend's even paid for the test for me (I told you I was barely keeping up during that time - I wasn't kidding). With one best friend as an accountability partner and another putting the money up for me to take the exam, I was more focused than ever.
There is nothing standing in your way of accomplishing your goals, you just have to find the motivators that work for you. When you find yourself struggling with sticking to your goals, just choose one of these tactics and work through the list until you find something that works for you.
Best of luck goal-crushing!
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Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her book, Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams, gives women a step-by-step guide to create, plan and achieve their grandest goals.