Preparation and having an detailed action plan is very important to the success of achieving a goal or completing a challenge. These are the 13 steps I use to prepare for a new goal or challenge.
How to set and achieve goals:
1. Write down your concrete goal in positive terms. Make sure your goal is concrete and positive (I want get fit and run for 25 minutes) and not negative and vague (I want to get my flabby butt in shape).
2. List your reasons for setting this goal. Why do you want to achieve this goal? What does it represent in your life that you want to change? Do you want to do it for yourself, or for someone else? Think specifically about why you have set your goal to really understand your motivations. The better you understand your motivation, the more likely you are to stick to your goal.
3. Do your research. Research the activity you are taking on. Learn about some of the common barriers and key strategies for success so you are better prepared to take them on yourself.
4. What are you going to do to achieve your goal? Write down specific steps you need to take and match them with a timeline.
5. What are the obstacles to achieving your goal? If you have tried before, what difficulties did you come up against?
6. How will you overcome these obstacles? Write down specific solutions before you come to the obstacle so you are fully prepared to deal with them if and when the time comes.
7. What are your triggers? Is there a certain time, place, or event that you know will prevent you from reaching your goal?
8. For each trigger, write down a positive habit you’ll carry out instead.
9. Who will help you? It is important to have a strong support system to keep you on track. Support can come from friends, family, or online forums. Reach out to someone when you are feeling unmotivated.
10. Create a mantra or positive saying. Have a few positive phrases to repeat to yourself when you are feeling unmotivated or defeated. They can be as simple as, “You can do this,” or the oft-used, “Not One Puff Ever” (for quitting smoking). Repeating these phrases truly does make a significant difference.
11. Establish rewards. Positive feedback is important! Set up regular rewards for yourself for successful completion of a milestone. Rewards can also be verbal.
12. Set a start date and an achievement date. Setting a concrete start date helps prepare you mentally to begin your challenge. It sets a mental barrier between before starting your challenge, and having begun your challenge.
13. Keep track of your progress. On a white board, on your calendar, in a blog; anywhere that you look at everyday. A constant reminder of your goal will remind you of your commitment to achieve the goal.
Need some extra help? Check out Henriette Klauser's book: