Sticking to goals: How to stay on track

By Mitchell Hedges

Almost everyone at times would like to lose weight or make changes in their life — but not everyone is willing to set goals and achieve them. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds or save $1,000, you start with small steps.

Sticking to goalsBy continuously meeting short-term goals, you will be primed for your longer term ones. American InterContinental University suggests making a to-do or goal list and be sure to be realistic. Identify the end goal and break it into smaller steps.

Here are tips to help you with sticking to goals:

  • Adviser Dave Ramsey recommends using the acronym S.M.A.R.T. to set the right goal(s). S.M.A.R.T. stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Focus on exactly what you want to achieve. Be specific. Don’t say you want to lose weight; instead set a specific goal and consider breaking it into smaller steps – if it is 50 pounds in a year, set a goal for 4 to 5 pounds a month. By breaking the long-term goal into small steps, you will be able to remain on track.
  • Research techniques that you can use to accomplish your objectives. Abundant resources are available online with tips on how to budget, dieting/food planning, or stopping tobacco use, for example. Not all techniques and blueprints are universally compatible. Find one that works for you.
  • Remind yourself of your goals daily. Taking time to do this builds and strengthens your will and determination to achieve your objective. Harvard Medical School advises using visual reminders such as keeping a photo related to your goal in constant view – a picture of a vacation destination, for example. Remind yourself of why you set the goal in the first place. If you are losing sight of your goals and motivation to reach them, by routinely going back to the mindset of when you first started, you are able to get back on track.
  • The sacrifices you are making are not forever. Yes, that piece of cake may taste great or that new TV would be amazing in your living room. Just remember if you discipline yourself now, you will reap rewards later. Ignore the pressure to indulge.
  • When faced with a decision that you are even slightly hesitant about, ask yourself – is it a want or is it a need? If it is a want, think about the decision could affect your long-term goal. Is it worth it? Short-term satisfaction can deter you from the path to your objective.
  • Look for inspiration. Find someone or something that inspires you. It could be something as small as a quote posted on the bathroom mirror or a video on YouTube. This will help you realize that you are not alone on this journey. Finding motivation can be difficult, especially when giving up can seem so easy.

Your source of motivation may lose its impact along the way; it’s important to find new sources and forms of motivation throughout your journey to help in sticking to goals. It’s up to you to stay focused and avoid distractions that take your eyes off the prize.

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