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How to Achieve Your Preferred Goals One Day at a Time

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Glenn Stok studies topics on self-awareness and emotional well-being and writes about it to help others with mindfulness and self-doubt.

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You can achieve many great triumphs by focusing on what's needed to be accomplished and phasing it in gradually but systematically.

We all tend to let things sometimes go without taking action. Usually, it’s because we’re busy with life as it is. But those undone tasks could have been significant game-changers.

Now you're upset because you knew you intended to achieve a particular goal but never got there. The truth is, you need to know what’s important to you. Otherwise, you might reach burnout before getting started.

I’ll help you focus your energy on the right efforts to achieve your preferred goals.

Five things are necessary, and I'll discuss each of these in detail:

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Build self-confidence
  3. Get motivated with a vision
  4. Take action
  5. Stay focused

How Do You Reach Your Personal Goals?

Believe in Yourself

The first step is to have the confidence that you can do it.

It would be best if you believe in yourself and know that you can succeed.

The way that works well is to think about something significant that you accomplished in the past, something you completed without anything holding you back. Even if it was just a trivial thing, try to remember how much effort it took of you at the time, and how you worked your way through it anyway.

When we were very young, everything took more effort. We all had those experiences. Memories of those times will help reinforce our strength to accomplish even more significant tasks in life.

Build Self-Confidence

So let's try this exercise. Try to remember one of those doubtful experiences when you were young and got something accomplished despite the anxiety you had about it. How did that work out?

  • Did you just get started without thinking about it? Overthinking makes us procrastinate. Sometimes it’s best to do things without further judgment.
  • Did you plot a clear path to your goal in your mind and follow it? That usually helps us stay focused until the end.

Give yourself credit for your prior accomplishments. When you recall situations that prove you can manage something new, you will have the confidence to do it again.

How Do You Stay Motivated to Pursue Your Goals?

Understand the Cause of Procrastination

We usually have many things we want to accomplish, but that could become overwhelming. We need to determine what's essential and eliminate the rest. Then we'll find it easier to get motivated with the crucial tasks.

Drs. Sreenivasan and Weinberger, both Ph.D.s, explained in an article in Psychology Today1 that procrastination could be viewed in two ways:

  1. I learned from them that when I'm procrastinating, it's usually because that specific goal is not significant enough in my mind.
  2. I'm wasting energy keeping it on my list of things to do. That wasted energy could be better applied to a goal I truly intend to accomplish.

I find that when I put my attention to something, I can make it happen—but only after I've determined that it's absolutely important to me.

Some things are just not that important. Don't waste your energy holding on to a plan if you know you really don't want to put effort into it anyway.

Try to be honest with yourself and decide what's essential in your life and what you actually want to achieve. The motivation will flow much easier.

Set Clear Goals With a Vision of the Outcome

Once you decide to do something, visualize yourself actively pursuing the steps required to accomplish the goal that you have.

Try to see how it will turn out. That gives you the strength you need to stay focused on the conclusion.

Think of what's required to get started and the steps you need to take. Write down these steps so you'll have a guide to follow. That list will provide a visual representation, which makes it much easier to plot the required tasks.

Once you have the design of your plan, you'll have a good idea of what to expect of yourself along the way.

Take Action One Day at a Time

Anticipating the end result might cause stress because we think about all the complicated steps we need to take to conclude the task. Also, it's unfamiliar to us because it's something new, which gives us a feeling of anxiety.

I always find it easier to get something done by taking things one small step at a time. Every step we get closer to the outcome allows us to get used to the change gradually. That is how we can get somewhere without feeling anxious or stressed.2

How Do You Achieve a Successful Goal?

Stay Focused

I learned four crucial points from Benjamin Franklin’s book, "The Art of Virtue," that relates to achieving goals.3

Let’s review each of these items to help you stay focused.

  1. Let each requirement for the goal have its place.

    It’s vital to keep every step leading to your goal in the proper order. There is an appropriate place for every required step. That means you need to begin with the most straightforward steps and continue with more involved actions as you proceed.

  2. Do without failure what's necessary.

    Don’t skip essential items that need to be resolved before going on to the next. You need to be determined to complete every necessary step.

  3. Waste no time. Avoid all unnecessary actions.

    If you find yourself doing things that are not related to achieving a specific goal, you’re wasting time. Pay attention to your actions, and stay focused. Keep asking yourself, "Is this necessary for my purpose?"

  4. Don't be disturbed by unavoidable accidents.

    Life has a way of getting in the way. Don’t be too hard on yourself when an emergency occurs, or you need to tend to someone in your family who needs help. You can always turn back to what you were doing when things calm down.

In Conclusion

Act quickly to embrace your desires when you know what you want to do, and you will realize the vision that is meant to be yours.

References

  1. Shoba Sreenivasan, Ph.D. and Linda E. Weinberger, Ph.D. (Jun 15, 2018). "Procrastination Can Be Viewed Two Ways" - Psychology Today
  2. Susan Weinschenk Ph.D. (Oct 16, 2013). "Use Small Steps to Motivate" - Psychology Today
  3. Benjamin Franklin. (June 1, 1996). "The Art of Virtue." Compiled from his miscellaneous writings by editor George L. Rogers. Acorn Publishing

© 2012 Glenn Stok

Comments

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 17, 2012:

Jo_Goldsmith11, Well, actually I have not been so good at that as you say. I have let ships pass in the past, and I regret it now. This is one reason why I write about these types of things, with hopes of saving someone else from making similar mistakes. I try to reflect on how I missed certain opportunities and look for ways to improve myself going forward, so as to still achieve goals that are not yet met. It's never too late. The best time to start is "now." Thanks for your kind words and for your vote up.

Jo_Goldsmith11 on June 17, 2012:

You are so right in every thought you have perfectly written here. I have saved this and will reflect on it when I have the doubts that sometimes come into my life. It appears you are not letting any ship pass you by. Good for you! I shared and a definite vote up! Thank you for this useful, awesome and interesting piece of art. :)

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 06, 2012:

Sue,

That is a very enlightening comment that you made and I thank you for that addition. I actually never gave thought to that concept. That over controlling our lives can interfere with being open to new ideas. 

Not controlling our lives at all is definitely a bad thing. But over controlling is clearly bad too, as you had indicated. 

We definitely need to have an open mind to new paths and concepts that may come along. So keeping a middle ground on our control is very important.

I'm glad you like my concept of crossroads. You added an additional thought to my idea however. And that is that the crossroads may bring us to a better path than we had before. I like that. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Always good to see you around.

Sue B. on June 06, 2012:

Glenn,

I really liked this hub. I too ponder these things!

I find myself in a situation now where I am making important decisions and what you wrote really spoke to me. I tend to be the person looking for a new way to move closer to my goal. I think it takes a lot of patience and perseverance not to give up.

Your hub made me think about the thoughts I have had about determining our own destiny versus over-controlling our lives. Realizing you have more power over your life is great but too much of something is usually a bad thing. You describe people who have let go of their controls and gave up their power. The flip side is the person over-controlling their lives and not allowing new paths and new options they did not originally think of to unfold.

I like what you wrote about the crossroads to get back on the path you want. What I find interesting is sometimes this crossroads, or alternate route, that brings you back to the original goal may even be a better way to get you to where you want to be.

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