5 Powerful Realisations About Goal-Setting

When it comes to long-term goals, I’ve found I typically don’t accomplish what I set out to do because over time I lose momentum, focus and direction. I’m sure you can relate.

That’s why this year I’ve adopted a new approach of working in 90-day cycles to set action items with deadlines and scheduled regular check-ins to measure my progress.

I recently did my quarter 2 review and found it quite insightful. While defining my focus areas for the next little while, I looked at what I set out to achieve at the beginning of the year. Although I may not be where I want to be, I have undoubtedly made progress, which has made me realise 5 things about setting and achieving goals.

  1. Having a clear vision and focus works: If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you expect to ever get there? Being intentional is the only way you’ll see real results. While reminding myself of my goals, I have realised that I’ve made more progress than I thought. That never would’ve been possible without knowing what I’m working towards and having actionable tasks with set deadlines.
  2. Reflection is critical: As difficult as it is to set time aside to review your progress, looking at where you are, where you want to be and assessing whether you’re on track or not is so important. I have absolutely seen the benefit of making regular reviews a habit and urge you to at least give it a try.
  3. Any progress is progress: I may not be as far as I would like to be, but I’ve certainly made progress and for that I am proud. None of us can achieve our goals overnight, so incremental progression should be acknowledged and celebrated.
  4. Holding yourself accountable is key: I am responsible for my progress. My vision of where I want to be is only attainable if I put in the time and effort. At the end of the day, I am the only one who has the power to get me closer to my goal, and if I don’t then I live with the consequences. We all know how easy it is to make excuses, but making excuses gets us nowhere and we pay the price.
  5. You can’t do everything at once: As much as we’d like to have it all, it’s impossible to expect to be flourishing in every area of your life. Of course, this is the end goal, but being realistic about what is possible given your current circumstances is crucial. Choose key areas to focus on and have secondary goals to work towards, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you aren’t making as much progress as you’d like. Physical and mental energy are important considerations. Idle time is necessary to recharge.

We all have aspirations of what we want our lives to be and areas we’d like to improve to get closer to that ideal. Having a vision is important, but having a clear plan, tracking your progress and adjusting where necessary is the only effective way of actually achieving what you set out to do.

We’re halfway through the year – are you on track?

Additional Reading

Why You Should Spring Clean In January

My entire adult life, I have made a habit of spring cleaning during the Christmas holidays between December and January. In South Africa, we’re well into summer by then, so it might seem strange at first, but here’s why it makes perfect sense:

1. The Luxury of Time

Although I spring clean around September when it’s actually spring, I consider that Spring Cleaning Lite (patent pending). Weekends are precious and I wouldn’t dream of initiating a spring clean during the week. However, during the holidays I have nothing but time on my hands. Although it’s important to rest during the festive period, for me, it’s equally important to use the time to get my life on track. This year, I spent two days cleaning and organising, and afterwards, I felt like I was one step closer to starting the year off right. But even if the year has started, it’s worth taking time to get on top of things before the chaos begins.

2. Clear Headspace

During the year, it’s often difficult to focus. There is so much going on that you end up juggling work, family, friends, finances, your household, etc. Without the distractions for 1 million other things you should be doing, you can focus your time and energy on getting things in order, which is going to make you happier and feel more in control.

3. Renewed Focus

The end of the past year and start of the new one brings about a clarity. Whether we admit it or not, we look at our lives at this time and most of us reassess our lifestyles. You think of things you want to change, things you want to leave in the past year, or things you want to work harder at. You can use that clarity in sorting through what should stay and what should go in the new year. You’ll also find that you come across things you completely forgot you had, like the arts and crafts supplies you were going to use but didn’t have the time for. Or the sweater you love but now fits a little too snuggly. Use this time to realign your goals and as a part of designing the life you want.

4. Energy Boost

If you do it right, the process can be invigorating. It’s exciting getting on top of things and once you’ve completed the task you will feel a sense of accomplishment that will empower you to take on the new year.

I speak from experience when I say the sacrifice of a day or two is well worth it. Don’t look at it as a waste of time you could be using to relax, but rather an investment in the year ahead. Starting the year on the right foot is crucial if you don’t want to burn out, and cleaning and organising can play a significant role in that. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore. Put on some music and get stuck in!

“The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.” – Joe Paterno

Just for fun, here’s a video that always makes me laugh: