Dream Accomplished, Not Dream Deferred: Five Tips for Realistic Goal-Setting

Do you remember your New Year’s resolution? If that resolution is a distant memory, you’re not alone. For at least the past 10 years, researchers from around the globe have been telling us that nearly 90 percent of us will fail in our resolutions. More than half of us have failed by now … within six months of our making the resolution in the first place.

It’s even harder to stick to your goals with the warm weather beckoning you, evening soccer games, summer travel, etc. etc. There are a lot of “commitments” vying for your attention. But there is no time like the present to take stock of your goals.

Successful individuals set clear goals, and measure progress toward accomplishing them.

Here are some ways you can either stay the course or find your way back on-course:

1. Align your goals with your strengths. Are your objectives in line with your innate talents abilities? It makes sense that if your goals jive with your strengths, your performance will reflect that. Plus, once you’ve achieved your goal, chances are it will be gratifying and meaningful to you. If your goal isn’t in line with what comes naturally to you, maybe it’s time to reassess what you’re after.

2. Be realistic. You want to be a VP or partner by age 30. Or to invest half a mil by 40. Sometimes life gets in the way. And reality can be a beast. Unexpected events are bound to arise. So remember to adjust your objectives accordingly and actively manage your goals based off of changing life circumstances.

3. Stay the course. Follow Winston Churchill’s lead and never, never, never, never give in. Sometimes life can be nasty. Downright unfair. But dig in and keep working at it. If you hit a roadblock, reassess your progress. You have to be driven to overcome any setbacks. Refine or readjust your goals, but don’t just desert them when the going gets tough.

4. Celebrate your wins. One surefire way to stay motivated is to reward yourself. Break your goal down into manageable parts, and each time you fulfill these steps toward your objective, treat yourself. It will help to keep self-doubt away (and make disciplining yourself a little more bearable).

5. Embrace the journey. From the outset, it may sound counterintuitive to say, “The outcome isn’t your goal.” As you celebrate these milestones toward your goal, embrace the self-improvement and personal development that is occurring within (or around) you. There is a lot of good that comes from the perseverance and discipline required you work toward an achievement.

Tied to the last point, the fewer than half of the population who have kept their resolutions probably have done so because they’ve made the resolution part of their lifestyle. They haven’t looked upon the resolution as one act, or one event with a defined destination.

Every race has a starting line. Don’t wait to get into the blocks until “tomorrow” or “next Monday.”

Do it now. Don’t defer the dream any longer.

Set your goals. Step into action. Get out of the gate!

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