As enthusiastic and consistent as we are in setting goals, we are often just as consistent in not following through on actually achieving those goals.
I’ve always heard the advice that you’d better hurry up and make it happen because, “it’s now or never.”
This may be true in some cases, but it’s not easy, because “now” always feels like a very slippery point in time. “Now” is a single moment that must somehow accommodate an entire ocean of tasks simultaneously.
Your brain may think that you want to achieve a very specific goal that you’ve had in mind for years. Your heart may feel and believe that you want to make it happen.
But, if you aren’t actually doing something to make progress (every single day), if you aren’t taking action, all your thoughts and beliefs about your goals are nothing but that. Dust in the wind.
Why are you doing this?
Why do you want to achieve this goal? Especially when it’s something you’ve desired for years, and you still haven’t done it–well, it might be time to reevaluate that goal and decide if you still really want it, or even need it for the path your work and your life has taken you down. You don’t necessarily need to delete that goal from your life, but you can modify it to fit better with your current situation.
Also consider if you are pursuing this goal for yourself, or because your peers or competitors have done this same thing.
Do you just need to get this over with or do you truly want it to happen? When you envision yourself in the future where you’ve completed this goal, do you feel excited and happy, or do you just feel neutral? Follow this guiding feeling and reassess the why behind the work you’re doing.
Related to the reasoning behind your goals, is the fact that you won’t be motivated to do anything unless you feel genuine passion for not only the end result, but for the process as well.
You can get a motivational coach to yell at you, or an accountability buddy to support you—but if your heart’s not in it to begin with, the best coach in the world won’t be able to help you reach your goals.
Now that you’ve zeroed in on the real reasons and passion behind your goals, you can move on to the herculean task of actually achieving them.
Anyone can create a goal, but you need a realistic plan to carry it out to a successful end.
And that’s where most people fail. If you’ve never run a marathon before, how do you expect to run it without weeks of training and building up your stamina? There’s nothing different about your business-oriented goals.
Break it down into baby steps.
“All I have to do is take one step at a time, and I can do anything!” realizes Bill Murray’s character in the classic comedy hit, What About Bob. Simple, right? Part of breaking down your project is getting specific.
Vague goals like “earn more money with my business” will get you nowhere.
You’re going to need details. How much can you increase revenue per month, how much increase do you want for the year, with which income streams, how many more hours of work does this involve, and more. The deeper you can get into the minutiae of the goals you want to achieve, the easier you’ll be able to draw linear connections to them – and devise a plan to actually get there.
If you are working on a large creative project, you need to set small deadlines for different stages, figure out the time and even the actual place where you will work on the project, and what tools you’ll need to obtain. All of this can help you transform the vagueness of your goals into something more concrete and feasible.
You might find that the process of breaking down your project into more manageable pieces can also be hard work. Take your time on this—it will largely determine how you feel about following through with this goal.
This is entwined with how much passion you feel for your project.
The stronger your desire to see this project completed, the more you will persist regardless of the obstacles that get in the way. And there will be obstacles.
You’ll feel lazy, you’ll get tied up with other work or family situations, you’ll start wondering if this is all worth it, you’ll run out of inspiration.
But this is also where technology and your support network can come in handy. Try productivity apps like Coach.me or LifeTick, or consider partnering up with a friend or fellow artist to keep each other motivated and accountable with your deadlines.
Just remember that you can always correct your course along the way—no matter what.
Priorities change, and maybe this is no longer the right project for you at this time. Or if something isn’t turning out the way you expected, stop and search for an alternative way forward. Take a break, do some research, seek out advice.
Every day is the day when you can take action and follow your true passions, and today could very well change your life.
Join Set Your Income Goals and Develop a Revenue Strategy with Megan Auman for much more about how to set (and achieve) realistic goals in life and business right here on CreativeLive.