Thinking back, there were several times in my life where I:

– Set a goal
– Didn’t write it down or share it with anyone
– Made excuses
– The goal was swept “under the rug” and was not accomplished

This happens to everyone. Sometimes we let our excuses get in the way of achieving great things. “I ran out of time.” “I was stuck at work.” “I’m too exhausted.” What if you took a few minutes to write down a few things you wanted to accomplish and put together a plan to hold yourself accountable? Sound tedious? It doesn’t have to be! I sat down to plan out my own bucket list for the next year and came across a few ways to make goal planning easy, effortless, and will help you stay on track to crush them!

5 Ways to Set Goals and Crush Them

1) Write down goals that motivate you.

If you write down that you want to run a marathon to lose weight, but you absolutely hate to run, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Focus on something that’s meaningful to you. Ask yourself WHY you want to accomplish this goal. Here’s one of my examples:

I want to run a marathon because it’s been a long-term dream to complete and raise money for a charity that is close to my heart.

Asking yourself why will help you get to the root cause of your motivation. This, in turn, will help you stay focused once you get started.

goals2) Be specific.

The more specific you are in defining what you want, the more real and attainable it will become. When your goals are well-defined and thought out, they provide specific direction for the steps you need to take to accomplish it. Let’s take my example from Step 1:

I want to run the NYC Marathon on November 4, 2018, to raise $4,000 for the Ellie Fund because my grandmother passed away from breast cancer.

Since I defined which marathon I want to run and when that marathon takes place, I can now take the first steps in planning:

– Reach out to the Ellie Fund
– Begin my training plan to prepare for the race
– Register for the 2018 NYC Marathon
– Plan out my fundraising strategies for the Ellie Fund

3) Share your goal with friends and family.

When you share your goals with those around you, it can be a motivation booster and a way to hold yourself accountable to reaching them. When you reach a point in your plan where your goal can seem unreachable, your friends and/or family can be a valuable source of support to keep going. For example:

Alysia, my co-worker: Hey, Dana, how’s the marathon training coming along?

Me: I had a rough 13 mile run over the weekend. I’m not sure how I’m going to make it to 26.2 miles!

Alysia: Hang in there. You’ve come this far! You’re at the “Wednesday” of your training…you’ve gotta get over the middle hump to get to the finish line!

Me: Thanks, Alysia. I needed to hear that. Next week’s long run will be better!

4) Start an action plan.

This is crucial in keeping yourself in check throughout the goal-setting process. Begin with the basic elements of planning, then dive into the more granular aspects. Set dates or “by whens” for yourself for each action item. Cross things off as you complete them. List one of your friends or family members in a “who needs to know” column, so they can help hold you accountable to each step. For example:

Register for the NYC marathon

– By-When: June 8, 2018
– Who needs to know? Alysia

Hold first fundraising event

– By-When: July 20, 2018
– Who needs to know? Alysia

Having an action plan will enable you to feel organized and accomplished as you make your way towards your goal.

5) Celebrate!

When you reach your goal, don’t forget to reward yourself for your accomplishment. YOU DID IT! You declared a goal, shared it with others, stuck with it and crushed it! Planning a reward for yourself ahead of time can be a significant motivator in helping you finish as well.

I.e. when I complete this marathon, I will treat myself to a spa day!

Give yourself a pat on the back. Pursuing goals can be challenging so you must take the time to soak in your achievement. What do you do once you’ve crossed a goal off your list? Easy. You set yourself up to slay a new one!

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