About a week or so ago, I was up late and happened to hop on Lewis Howes‘ Insta-Live he was doing. So many people were asking questions and one viewer asked about how one stays consistent with their goals.
That got me to thinking.
Haven’t we all been there before? We have big goals, but it seems like we can never reach them? We dream big, write down our lofty goals, have all this energy, get started and then we fizzle out.
Why does our motivation to keep going die when it comes to our goals and dreams?
Let’s be real. Is it just me or is the part of staying consistent with our goals difficult?
In my experience, I believe there are seven keys to staying consistent that will help us to ultimately reach our goals. The secret is to stay consistent in these seven areas that will help you take action…even on days you don’t “feel like it.”
1. Your Why Should Drive You
I’m sure you’ve heard over and over that “your why” is very important. It’s not a business or success cliche because it’s the truth. The reason behind why you do what you do has to drive you on your on and off days. When you understand your why, the how will become easy. And on the hard days, remember and shift your focus on your why to push through the hard stuff.
For me, when I feel like I’m dying and can’t finish a set in the gym, I always think of my why: my future husband and our kids. Because I want to be able to have the energy to keep up with them, something happens when I refocus my attention on my why. All of the sudden, I realize that I just blasted through to the finish line! I’m exhausted, sweaty, but feel sooo good! My why isn’t about me, but about those important to me.
2. Know Your Goals
When setting an action plan, a key step to staying consistent with your goals is to understand if your goals are truly your goals or not. I say this because I’ve seen it once too many times where people’s goals are based on someone other than themselves. Ask yourself, are your goals your’s or is it your family’s goals? When you’re doing something to appease someone other than yourself, you will be miserable. Period. Whatever your goals are, just know that no one will live your life, but you. To achieve what you set out to achieve and be happy doing it, you have to own your goals.
For me, my parents wanted me to become a doctor or do something that involved math. Their ideas seemed like torture to me. Aside from not being well-versed in math, my interest never lied in anything analytical-related. I love writing, speaking, acting and things that has to do with entertainment and the arts. I’m a creative at heart and always will be. If I had worked towards a career like a pharmacist, I know the money would’ve been good, but I’d be absolutely miserable on a daily basis.
3. Keep It Simple and Fun
I learned this one from Jon Acuff from his book Finish. Jon is right. For some reason, one of the many reasons why we don’t finish what we set out to do is because we feel like the process has to be torturous and hard. I laughed when he made that point. It’s true because I did that in the past! Why would I torture myself in doing certain exercises I hate just to get in shape? Is cardio really the only way to work out? No. If I like lifting weights, boxing, dance (the only form of cardio I love) and the like, that’s what I’m going to do!
Currently, I find it easier to keep things simple fun in order to stay consistent with my goals.
For me, when I switched my perspective to what Jon said, my life became so much easier. I’m going to the gym consistently because I want to. Me! That’s so crazy to type, ha!
4. Take Action in Small Bites
If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by anything, you know that you either tried to take it all on or just ignored the situation and ran away. Am I right? Been there. Done that on both sides. The key to staying consistent with your goals is to break down your goals into small, bite-sized action steps. You can get a lot of things done if you take tiny steps every day. Remember, you do NOT have to do everything. Understanding delayed gratification is important because little steps you take each day adds up to big results. Read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy to understand this process.
For me, when I broke down lofty goals into smaller and extra smaller steps, it became very easy to stay consistent with my goals. Also, knowing that my to-do list will never end has brought me so much peace. I just pick 3-5 things from my MIT list (also known as Most Important Things) that are most crucial to get done for the day, put it in my Five Minute Journal and get it done. Results? I end up feeling very happy and accomplished!
5. Understand and Apply the 5 Second Rule & ‘Do It Now! Do It Now! Do It Now!’ Mentality
Did you know that when you have an impulse to do something (like working out, for instance) and you don’t take PHYSICAL action to move in that direction to make it happen within FIVE SECONDS, your brain kills it? Yep. You read that right. Why is that? Because your brain doesn’t want to do anything that’s difficult!
This is quite possibly the most important key to understand, learn and apply. Because our brains naturally don’t want to do anything difficult, it’s important to apply this method on a consistent basis to everything in your life to be productive and successful.
For me personally, I learned and applied this thought process from Mel Robbins after listening to her on a Success Magazine CD in my car several years ago. I must say I have been extremely successful! However, I do not count down from five seconds like she advises. Once I learned “Do it now! Do it now! Do it now!” from John Maxwell, I combined his strategy with Mel’s 5-Second Rule and I’ve been golden ever since!
6. Set a Routine and Stick to It
Success leaves clues and the most successful people I know are ones who set and stick to a daily routine. To have the most productive days, have everything mapped out in advance. Every hour must be accounted for and followed down to the minute. Have set days and times when you’re working and when you’re done with work. It’s important to set cut off times and stick to it. By doing so, you’re not only getting things done in a timely manner, but you also train others to respect your time as well. In your routine, set time aside for your own self-care, family and friends, fun activities to do as well as things to do to take care of your physical health.
Whatever your routine is, you’ll realize that once you get set in your ways, it’s hard not to stay focused and get things accomplished on your to-do list! Remember to do what works for you!
For me, I’ve learned that when I have a routine set in place and stick to it, my days go much smoother and I get more things accomplished. However, when I don’t, I feel disorganized and definitely don’t get anything done. I’m working on redoing my own routine and can’t wait to set it into motion once I finish mapping everything out!
7. Give Yourself Grace.
On days you’re not consistent with your goals, you’ve got to be aware of it and give yourself grace. Seriously. Guilt and self-shaming won’t help get things done so don’t even go there with yourself. Know that everything on your to-do list will never be done. Your list will never stop growing no matter how many things you cross off of it and that’s completely okay! Yep, go ahead. Breathe a sigh of relief.
For days that you aren’t able to get things done on your MIT list, give yourself grace anyway. Remember, your mind and body needs the energy from your grace to get back on the horse when you fall off to continue to stay consistent!
For me, once I realized that it was useless to beat myself up, I got my time and energy back to get back on track! Once I extended myself grace, life has become much less stressful. I’m also enjoying my days a lot more these last few years since practicing giving grace to myself.
If you’ve been struggling to stay consistent with your goals, you’re not alone.
We’re all human. Trust me, there will be those down days where you don’t want to do anything. However, if you stay consistent in these seven areas, you’ll be able to push through tough days and get closer to accomplishing your goals.
What do you do in staying consistent with your goals?
Leave me a comment below and let me in on your secrets! I’d love to learn any methods you’re using!