how to accomplish your goal

The Simple Guide To Using Gratitude To Supercharge Your Goal Setting

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Did you know that gratitude and goal-setting go hand in hand?

Being appreciative of what you've accomplished helps give you the strength to push forward and continue to accomplish more. 

A few years ago, despite my obvious lack of funds and clear desire to be frugal AF, I decide it was about darn time I took a vacation. It'd been almost two years since I'd done anything other than struggle and wonder why I was still freaking struggling. (That was my vicious cycle. It looked something like this: struggle-pity-struggle-pity-struggle)

I planned to spend two days in Chicago (that was all I could afford). I had a deep dish pizza, tried my first chili dog, went on the beautiful architecture tour and meandered around the city. I spent the rest of the time in my room, enjoying silence with a bottle of wine, cheese and fruits I picked up from the grocery store. 

I was so relaxed, I missed my plane to go back home. 

Rather than feeling angry that I'd wasted the money I was fighting so hard to earn, I felt a calmness. I realized that, for the first time ever, I had enough money to buy another plane ticket. I would get to stay another day in this beautiful city.

That feeling was gratitude. 

 

What is gratitude? 

Gratitude is the conscious decision to appreciate someone (or something) in your life simply because it exists. Many people show gratitude for a person when they receive a gift, mentorship or support. It's also common to express gratitude for a course or program that made a significant life difference for you. 

If we take this idea of having gratitude and apply it to progress towards your goals, you'll see that we become more exited about the difficult journey. 

 

How Can You Use It For Your Goals?

Accomplishing large goals can honestly feel like a pain in the butt. They drag on forever, one tiny shift at a time and usually we'll make progress without even noticing it because the larger goal is still staring us in the face, mocking us with with it's incompleteness. 

If you're working on a long term goal like losing a significant amount of weight, writing your first book, getting out of debt, or finally socking some money away in your savings account, it can feel like FOREVER before you start to see progress. 

Spending a small amount of your day, even 5 minutes, having gratitude for your ability to inch towards your goal, will change your perspective, increase your happiness and supercharge your ability to crush your goals.

 

How Do I Get Started? 

Start with noticing that you're making progress. It happens very slowly so it's easy to overlook. To be grateful for your progress, don't overlook the small things. 

Imagine that you have a goal of saving $1000 in your emergency savings account. The first thing you probably did was decide that you were going to do this because you want more security in your life. Maybe you made a budget to start saving a bit of money. Maybe you cut back your expenses to be able to make this goal a reality. 

These small, intangible (damn near invisible) goals might not have made a difference in your bank account (just yet) but they are the stepping stones you'll need to sock away some serious cash.  You can be grateful for them by noticing how much money you'll now have available each month because you were courageous enough to set an important goal for stability, savvy enough to create a budget and strong enough to make sacrifices that would serve your goal. 

 

Create A Daily Gratitude Habit

The only thing you really need to start incorporating this into your life is a pen, paper and a willingness to give it a try. Start today by simply writing down the answers to any of these four questions on a daily basis to create a gratitude habit:

 

What are you grateful for today? 

You always have something to be grateful for while pursuing a goal. Maybe you can finally fit into that little black dress because you've been eating healthy regularly. You might have the first chapter of your epic novel finally complete - you can be grateful that you only have 36 chapters to go. 

In my story, I was grateful that I was able to pay for another plane ticket. After years of struggling and watching my bank account go negative several times, I started to see myself as a poor person. I started to believe that at my core, I was a person who would struggle to succeed. Being able to afford my plane ticket was a moment of gratitude because I realized in that moment that I was making progress. 

 

What did you learn today? 

Big goals have a way of teaching us some serious lessons. Sometimes we learn new skills (like that one time when I started paying my student loan debt I learned more than I ever wanted to know about interest rates). Other times we learn new things about ourselves (like how courageous, scrappy and unstoppable you totally are under pressure). 

Whipping out my credit card and dropping and unnecessary $200 on another plane ticket wasn't the greatest feeling in the world, but I did learn that I was on the right path. If I continued to sock away money,  it would add up. It would protect me in difficult times. I would be there when I needed it. 

 

What did you accomplish today? 

The big win (your end goal) is not the only accomplishment. Each day you take action toward your goal will bring you a new success. If you're trying to lose weight, every time you eat a healthy meal is a win (especially since buffalo chicken wings are so darn tasty). Every time you put on your running shoes and hit the gym is a win. It's your job to recognize it. 

To be perfectly honest, I hadn't even realized that I was accomplishing anything. $5 saved here and $10 saved there felt like a massive failure to the 3-months of living expenses I was striving to save. I didn't even realize that the ability to cover my ass is an accomplishment - and that I'd earned that. 

 

What brought you happiness today? 

There is at least one reason to be happy in every day and it may have absolutely nothing to do with your goals. You can be happy that you've spent time with family or that you took a peaceful walk around the block. Happiness is everywhere around you, take time to appreciate the little things and you'll find more energy to tackle the big things as they come. 

 

What Tools Can I Use?

 

Start a gratitude journal

You can use any blank journal to write down the answers to any one of the questions above on a daily basis. Your entry should describe what you're grateful for each day. Here's an example: 

Today I am grateful for waking up this morning energized to go to the gym. I remembered to put my shoes right next to the bed last night so I didn't feel the urge to lay back down. 

It can be as long or short as you like. Over time as you continue to write about your success, you'll notice it comes easier to you and you start to feel gratitude even when you're not writing it down.

Recommended: The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day, is a proven system based on psychology research to improve happiness by establishing a gratitude habit  just 5 minutes every day.

 

Create a gratitude log

A gratitude log is a simple list of the things you're grateful for and looks something like this: 

I Am Grateful For: 

  1. Completing the outline for my first book.
  2. Waking up this morning energized to write.
  3. Finding a great podcast on writing and publishing a book. 

You can continue the list for as long as you like. The benefit of this is it's easier to start because you only have to write a few words.

 

Being grateful places you in a position to enjoy your journey on the way to accomplishing your goals. With this very simple habit, you'll acknowledge the improvements you're making in your life on a daily basis and you'll feel happier and more excited to keep pursuing your goals. 

What are you doing to have gratitude for your journey? 

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The EASIEST Goal Planning Strategy To Make Your Dreams A Reality In Exactly One Year

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At the beginning of each year, I become the old grandma that you want to avoid at Thanksgiving dinner. You know, the one that’s constantly asking you "how's school going" (when you spent way too much time drinking and may have to drop a class or two) and the unavoidable “what’s next for you” question you’ve been ducking by quickly stuffing some turkey in your mouth.

My favorite question to ask by far is not the typical “What are your new year’s resolution?” No, it catches people much more off guard than that.

I have the audacity to ask people something they have not thought about at all…

What’s your plan to do that?

You see, I’ve learned one thing about New Year’s Resolutions (and goals in general). People LOVE setting goals at the beginning of the year but they don’t create their plan at the beginning of the year.

However, if you add this one, simple step to your goal setting process, you’ll be able to better determine what you need to do to accomplish your goal.

Thinking about your goal in terms of the goals you have to accomplish on  a quarterly basis and then breaking that down further into the smaller goals you must accomplish monthly does a few things for your brain:

  • It let’s you know that your big goal IS POSSIBLE.
  • It helps you understand EXACTLY WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO GET THERE
  • It puts you in a mindset that your goal will be accomplished OVER THE COURSE OF A YEAR

That third point is the most important because it transforms your mindset from having a goal – to having a long term goal that you are not prepared to dedicate yourself to.

Now let’s get to the fun part… How do you break down your large goal into quarterly goals and then monthly goals?

Before you get started breaking down your goal, you need to have one LARGE goal to work with. If you're still nailing down your big goal (or still searching for some mental clarity in your vision, check out How To Create Your 5-Year Vision (even if you don’t know where to start)

Once you have your big goal, it's time to break it down into the tiny steps you'll make over the next year to make this your best year ever.

 

CREATE YOUR QUARTERLY GOALS

As a child, I was a serious gamer. (I actually had an entire birthday party where I asked my friends to show up with their Gameboys to play Pokemon together.) I would get super excited when I hit a checkpoint and now I could do no wrong in the game. No matter what I did, I was not going back to square one.

Think about your quarterly goals like a checkpoint in a video game. Once you've crossed one of these large hurdles, you're well on your way to completing your goal. 

What four huge milestones do you have to hit to be able to accomplish your goals at the end of the year?

For Example, if you want to write a book you may want to:

  • Quarter 1: Create the book outline and the characters.
  • Quarter 2: Write the first draft of the book.
  • Quarter 3: Get feedback.
  • Quarter 4: Write the final version of the book.

(Side note: Before you legit writer’s start judging, please know that this is my loose – very loose – interpretation of what it would take to write a book. I understand everyone’s process is different.)

Now that you know exactly what you want to do for each quarter of the year, you have already achieved one massive benefit: You don’t have to focus on everything all at once. That means that while you’re creating your outline, you don’t have to concern yourself with writing the book. In fact, you can clear your mind of the next steps entirely because you know exactly what you will do – and when you’re going to do them.

 

BREAK DOWN THE GOALS INTO THE MONTHLY GOALS.

With three months in each quarter, we’re going to take the quarterly goals and break them down further into three bite-sized goals.

Let’s take the Quarter 1 Goal from the first example.

Quarter goal: Create the book outline and develop characters

  • January: Create the outline for the book
  • February: Develop the plot, conflict and scene
  • March: Describe the characters look and personalities

By breaking your goals down in this way you can celebrate your small wins each month, while still having a legitimate plan to get to the rest of your goals. You can also work on one goal without the pressure of feeling like you have to do "it all" right now.

With that mental weight off your shoulders you can fully immerse yourself into what you're working on right now. You can slowly think through exactly how you want your book to flow (or start your weight loss journey with eating one less piece of fresh-baked sugar cookies or reclaim your time by NOT letting Netflix force you into an additional episode of Stranger Things) knowing that you'll get to the next step of the process shortly. #GoodLuckWithThat

 

Taking some time to develop your largest goal into an annual plan will help you map out your goals and ensure that you complete them by the end of the year.

Happy Goal-Crushing!

xoxo

 

 

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About Chantl

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.

The High-Achiever's 7-Step Guide to Setting Crystal Clear Goals

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This new year my family did something we never have done before. In an effort to spend more time with their adult children who have gone from smiling children to stressed out college students with on-and-off relationships and the occasional all-nighter, my parents planned a trip to the Poconos for the holidays. (As a family who is deathly afraid of the cold and own zero snow gear we gave a hard side-eye to the snow-infused activities and spent most of the time in the house playing Uno. #TravelFail)

2 hours before the ball in Times Square dropped signifying yet another year my mother had a trick up her sleeve. She wanted to spend one hour talking about what we did in 2017 that we were proud of... and another hour talking about what we're going to do in the new year. 

But there was a twist. 

Rather than allowing people to simply call out their New Year's resolutions, the family was given an opportunity to ask questions about each person's goals.

Through that process, we encouraged each other to think deeper about the pie in the sky goals we were setting and confidently walk into the new year with a crystal clear vision.

You don't really need a whole committee pelting you with questions to get clarity on your goals (though my family did take joy in interrogating each other). Instead, you can take your use these seven tips to think through your largest goals.

 

Step 1: Know Your Why

Your goals become more powerful the second you attach a significant meaning to them. Your "why" is the reason you want to accomplish a goal.

Anyone can set a goal to lose weight, pay off debt or make more money, but what does that change mean for you in your life? If you can take a step back from the actual goal and think about how your life will be impacted by this action, you'll be able create more powerful goals. 

For example: 

Your Goal: I want to pay off my student loan debt.
Better Goal: I want to pay off my student loan debt because: 

  1. I will have more disposable income.
  2. I can save more for retirement.
  3. I can be a better role model for my daughter. 
  4. I can focus on investing and creating a better financial portfolio.

Having a goal is great, but understanding why you want to accomplish that goal is even better. If you can pinpoint a few good reasons or great side effects of accomplishing this goal, then these reasons will help you continue to commit to the goal when times get rough. 

 

Step 2: Quantify it

Quantifying your goals means to attach a number to it. This means breaking down how much weight you want to lose, how much debt you have to pay off or how many times you want to get deep tissue massages. (Just me?)

For example:

Your Goal: I want to pay off my student loan debt. 
Better Goal: I am going to pay off $32K in student loan debt. 

The benefit of quantifying your goals is that you can clearly and easily articulate exactly how much you have to go on your goals. 

 

Step 3: Add in a due date

Do you remember being in high school and the teacher tells you you have a paper due at the end of the month, but you'll wait until three days before it's due to start studying? Due dates add a sense of urgency. It can give you the kick in the pants that you need to get moving on the goal. 

Your Goal: I am going to pay off $32K in student loan debt.
Better Goal: I am going to pay off 32K in student loan debt by December 31st

Always set a concrete date for when you want that goal to be completed. Otherwise, you might be reaching towards the same goal every single year because you did not give yourself a definitive date to get it done. Your goal for the year becomes a "someday" goal.

 

Step 4: Add in the how

Your "how" is your action plan. Breaking your big goals into the simpler goals it'll take to accomplish the goal, you make the goal more tangible. You give yourself an opportunity to mentally break down what it will take to get there. 

Your Goal: I am going to pay off $32K in student loan debt.
Better Goal: I am going to pay off $32K in student loan debt by December 31st by lowering my living expenses by half, sticking to a strict "fun money" budget and creating online products.

This step is one of my favorites because it forces you start talking in terms of action. 

 

Step 5: Think about the frequency

Every week on Sunday, I head down to a coffee shop and get to work. I can sit there anywhere from 4-6 hours (like a legit 9-to-5) and that is the day that I'm most productive. When I first started doing this, I would pull myself out of bed, shower and have breakfast then (after a half hour of convincing myself that this was good for me) I'd head to the coffee shop. After weeks of doing this every Sunday, no matter where I am or how I feel that day, my body pulls me into a coffee shop to work. 

Adding in the frequency that you will perform an action that helps you reach your goals (whether it's daily, weekly or monthly) will help you develop a habit over time. 

For example:

Your Goal: I'm going to work out more. 
Better Goal: I'm going to work out three days a week. 
Best Goal: I'm going to work out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

Getting super clear on your on when you will work on your goals - and sticking to it over time - will increase your ability to accomplish your goals because over time you'll develop habits.

 

Step 6: Make Your Goal Present On Your Schedule

Chris Hart once said

"Show me your calendar and I'll show you your priorities." 

It basically means that we all make time for the things that we want to do and the things that we value in our lives. If you want to be a high achiever, you simply have to make your goal one of these priorities. 

That starts with giving your goals a definitive time on your calendar. 

For example:  

Goal: I'm going to work out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 
Better Goal: I'm going to work out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays after work.

When you have time slotted for your goal and nothing else can take that time, you become unstoppable.  

 

Step 7: Speak as if it's already done

Your brain, while incredibly complex, is also pretty easy to trick. That's why we do vision boards annually and look at them daily - the more your brain sees something, the more it believe's it's already done. The same thing goes for what you say. 

Changing your goals from something you will do in the future to something you're currently doing not tells your brain that you are committed to doing this NOW - it's not something you're putting off to a later date. 

For example:

Your Goal: I'm going to work out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays after work. 
Better goal: I work out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday after work.

 

Bonus: FOCUS on one goal at a time

My last piece of advice is to focus on one large goal at a time. If you're trying to do five things at once, you're putting 20% of your energy into 5 different things. While you might be incredibly busy, you may have nothing to show for it at the end of the day. Choose one goal that will make a huge difference in your life - and once that goal is completed - move on to the next one. 

Happy Goal-Crushing!

xoxo

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Download the FREE Crystal Clear Goal Setting checklist and set goals that will create MIRACULOUS change in your life. Enter your email to subscribe to the newsletter and grab the freebie!

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