How do you achieve big goals?
For some, it’s easy to set goals and stick to them. But for most of us, we have lofty goals and big dreams, but it is hard to take big risks or make changes in our lives. It’s scary to test the waters and hard to keep ourselves motivated over time. Dr. Jenni Bruning Brown, motivational psychologist and owner of Fly Fitness, says achieving those goals is easier than we think. She points out that having a few strategies for success will help you be on your way to accomplishing all the goals we set out for ourselves. “We need to take small steps to achieve big goals,” she says. “If you focus on the bigger picture as your overarching vision, but then focus on simply moving forward in the right direction, not necessarily having to achieve your vision tomorrow, you will incrementally get closer to your goal,” she says.
Here are Dr. Bruning Brown’s 6 tips for how to achieve the milestones you want to hit.
- Be honest with yourself. Decide on what you want, based on your values, your lifestyle and vision. Dr. Bruning Brown recommends that you be clear on what you want to achieve, and come up with a plan on how you want to get there. Knowing your ideal outcome is a good place to start. Ideally, you should then break your goal down and come up with 1-2 specific actions you can take that will help you move toward your larger goal.
- Take action. In spite of your fear or doubts, decide to take some kind of action. Dr. Bruning Brown suggests that you do something–anything–to get started. If you want to exercise more, she suggests adding a 5-minute walk or something that’s doable for you. If it’s controlling your temper, she suggests immediately writing a plan for the times that you tend to get angry. Anything you can do that creates positive momentum and forward movement is a good place to begin, she says.
- Focus on what you can control. Dr. Bruning Brown encourages you to focus on only things that are under your control, such as how you act, think and behave in seeking out your outcome. “Try not to get distracted by things you can’t control such as how others respond and the environment around you” and this will help you stay on a positive course.
- Reward yourself. Have a ritual you enjoy, buy yourself something small, or treat yourself when you’ve taken a step or two toward your goal. Dr. Bruning Brown says that you can also enlist social support around your goal so that you’ll be able to crystallize the personal commitment. Investing in the support of a friend, neighbor or coworker will help you stay accountable as well as providing a reward when you complete it.
- Be persistent. If you try something and it doesn’t work, try again. Notice whether what you’re doing is working and change your approach if it’s not. Remember that flexibility is powerful and adapting is important. Obstacles will arise — you aren’t guaranteed to succeed every time. Dr. Bruning Brown reminds us, “failure is important to understanding how important the successes are.”
- Track your progress & make necessary changes. Adapt when you need to–the first goal you set isn’t always exactly where you want to go. You might need to change your approach if it isn’t moving you closer to your goal. Bruning Brown suggests looking at your goals every 2 weeks or so to check in on yourself. She also encourages writing them down so that you can be specific and candid.
Many of you are participating in our 66-day, 40 class Superfly Challenge–a chance to take small steps and achieve big goals. Stay persistent and see your goals achieved. We’re here for you!