The Key To Meeting Your Biggest Self Development Goals

Why do our New Years Resolutions fail more often than not? Why do many of us struggle so hard to achieve our most important self development goals?

It isn’t for lack of desire, because many of us would give anything to meet these goals. It isn’t for a lack of discipline, because we use discipline constantly in our lives: getting to work on time, picking up our kids when needed, paying our bills, and so on. So what is the problem?

For years I asked myself this same question. I was able to meet smaller goals without too much trouble. Keeping up with my coursework, going for runs, and getting to my 7:00 am volleyball classes with time to spare was no big deal. But my one or two biggest goals in life still seemed to elude me. As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t seem to reach them.

How to Set Self Development Goals that You Achieve

There are two parts to achieving a huge goal, and they start with planning. First, plan to go big or go home. Many people advise that you start with baby steps, do one small task at a time, and someday eventually you will reach your goal. The problem with this idea is that it lacks stamina. Big goals require big action, and doing one tiny step per day may take years to accomplish.

If you have a big goal you would like to achieve, plan to overhaul your life to accomplish it. The fact is, if you’ve got your sights set on a truly big goal, you simply won’t be able to achieve it without a lifestyle change. Ask yourself this question: What would need to be true for me to achieve this goal?

For example, let’s say that your big goal is to write a novel. What would need to be true for you to achieve this goal?

  • I would need to write for at least an hour each day.
  • I would need to schedule my writing times on my calendar and ensure that they are non-negotiable.
  • I would need to make sure that my writing times are not interrupted (by family, phone calls, social media, etc)
  • I would need to hire an editor to review my manuscript.
  • I would need to research and decide between self publishing or traditional publishing.

And on it goes. Consciously decide what your life would need to look like and what personality traits you would need to exhibit to meet this huge goal. Write them down on paper, or click here to download my goal setting worksheet. (Right click and then select “save image as” to download.)

The Final Step to Accomplishing Your Self Development Goals

Once you have your “list of truths” in hand, the next step is to ask yourself this question. “How can I make this step both easy and fun?”

One of the biggest obstacles we face when setting a goal is that we try to make it hard. We decide to start going to the gym every day to lose weight. But as it turns out, we don’t feel very inspired in gyms and hate the thought of commuting again after coming home from work. When you find a way to make the steps in your goal easy and fun, your odds of success skyrocket.

Here’s an example. I’m in the second trimester of my pregnancy, and staying in shape is very important to me. At the same time, it’s about 17 degrees fahrenheit outside and very windy. Usually I love to exercise outside, but that’s just not a reasonable option for me at this point. I want to be warm enough, and I don’t want to have to commute. So how can I create a solution that is both easy and fun?

I put up a stationary bike in my living room that I ride on while listening to audio books or watching Netflix. It’s so easy, and so pleasant, that I never have to “convince” myself to workout. It’s a no brainer.

Your last task is to go through every truth on your list of truths, and figure out a way you can make that step a “no brainer”. Here’s an example to get your juices flowing:

List of Truths and Their Easy, Fun Solutions

  • I would need to write for an hour everyday.
    • I could set myself up with a glass of wine and some soft music and candles every night after dinner without interruptions.
  • I would need to work out every day.
    • I could use a stationary bike while watching my favorite TV episodes every night.
  • I would need to eat healthy meals daily.
    • I could make up a list of delicious looking recipes, and only cook once per week. Dinner would then be fun and easy.
  • I would need to declutter one section of my belongings every Saturday.
    • I could listen to some upbeat music, work on our decluttering project with my spouse, and then we’d go out for ice cream afterwards.

What is your biggest, toughest goal for this year? Let me know in the comments!

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