Achieving goals is easier said than done. It’s why less than 10 percent of people ever achieve their New Year’s resolution. For most of us, the desire to eat healthy, work out regularly, spend less, and be a better person is there, but it’s the follow through that is lacking.
Life = Hard
Life is complicated. It’s stressful. It’s tiring. It never goes as planned. So how do you hold yourself accountable to reach your goals when it seems like the world is constantly trying to thwart your progress?
During the 2018 Academy Awards, Jordan Peele became the first African-American to win an Oscar for best original screenplay. In his acceptance speech, the comedian, actor, writer, producer, and director discussed the struggle of making his dream a reality: “I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible; I thought it wasn’t going to work; I thought no one would ever make this movie.” The lesson? Don’t be afraid to dream big. Don’t tailor your dream to other people’s perceptions. The bigger your dream, the more personal it becomes, and the greater the possibilities. Whether your goal is to win an Oscar or run a 5K, don’t let anyone tell you it’s unachievable.
While your overall dream should be big, you need to start small, to avoid getting overwhelmed. Focus on just one goal, then break it down into smaller milestones. Write down those milestones, then reward yourself as you reach each one. The key is to advance toward your goal and continually reward progress. Entrepreneur and life coach Tony Robbins explains: “By rewarding yourself in the moment, your brain elicits positive emotions, leading to the realization that your efforts result in a positive reward.”
Face Adversity Head On
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was named by Forbes as one of highest-paid actors in 2017, grossing $65 million. Before he was famous, The Rock had just $7 to his name. As a teenager, he and his mother were evicted from their apartment. It was this moment in his past that motivated him to never end up financially unstable again. When times look bleak, dig deep. Try some introspection. Why did you choose your goal? What’s your motivation? Are you angry about something? Focus on your own story as motivation when the going gets tough.
Build Your Team
Bill Gates is one of the richest and most successful men in the world, but he knows success rarely comes from a siloed environment. He discussed this idea in a 2007 thought piece: “Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people.” Your goal may not be to create the next multibillion-dollar computer software company (or maybe it is), but the concept is the same for achieving goals: you need to build a support system around you.
There are many different ways to hold yourself accountable to your goal. Dream big, reward your progress, understand where your motivation comes from, and lean on others, and you’ll improve your chances of success.