Goals are a part of every aspect of life. You can set them for your health, relationships, career or just overall happiness. They provide a sense of motivation, direction and something important to strive for. But setting a goal is only half the battle. It takes hard work and persistence to achieve one. And to be a truly effective goal-setter, you must be disciplined with your habits and routines.
Read on to explore our 10 favorite habits of highly successful goal-setters.
1. SET “SMART” GOALS
A SMART goal is something every hopeful goal setter should try to implement. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. When developed with detail, this framework will help you nail down all the specifics of your goal at the beginning so you can focus all your efforts on achieving it.
SMART goals are:
- Specific: Well-defined, clear and straightforward
- Measurable: With specific criteria that measure your progress toward the accomplishment of the goal
- Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve
- Realistic: Within reach and relevant to your passions
- Timely: With a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target end date. The purpose of this is to create urgency
Someone just starting to follow a keto*-friendly diet as one piece of a weight management journey could try something like this:
SMART Goal 1:
I will pack my own lunch a minimum of 4 days a week for the entire month of January so that I can regularly incorporate my keto*-friendly diet plan to help increase my intakes of protein and healthy fats.
SMART Goal 2:
I will incorporate 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity 5 days a week to increase my fitness by joining the walking group at work.
As you can see, this doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Actually, health authorities recommend focusing on impactful dietary and physical activity changes that you can make daily versus the long-term goal that may be weight loss.
2.DEFINE YOUR “WHY”
The most effective goal-setters know how to define their “why.” Having a passionate reason for why you want to achieve a goal will motivate you even more to accomplish it. Because when you’re tired and running out of steam, your “why” will remind you why you started in the first place.
Here are some helpful examples:
- I want to live a healthier lifestyle so I’m able to run around with my kids
- I want to start walking/jogging every day so I can eventually participate in a 5K
- I want to start waking up at 5 a.m. so I can prioritize my mental health before work starts
3. WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN
Once you’ve thought of a SMART goal, you have to write it down. And when you write it down, do it in a place where you will see it often. Whether it’s in a journal, planner, on a whiteboard or on your phone’s screensaver — when you write down your goals and aspirations, it will make them feel even more concrete and achievable.
4. MAKE YOUR TO-DO LIST THE NIGHT BEFORE
Great goal-setters always plan their days out the night before. Barbara Corcoran, “Shark Tank” investor, has famously said she makes her to-do list the night before so she knows immediately what to focus on and prioritize the next day.
Before you plan your tasks for the day ahead, simply ask yourself, “What is the one thing I need to accomplish today to get me closer to my goals?” This doesn’t have to be a huge accomplishment, but it’s important to make them non-negotiable. Set the standard that you have to complete your task before you go to bed the next day so you can keep yourself accountable.
And remember, even if you’re only taking baby steps, you’re still moving forward!
5. OWN YOUR MORNINGS
Mornings are so powerful. It’s the only time of day where you have full control of what you want to do. Before you scroll social media, check your emails or get your kids ready for school, you have the power to do something that sets you up for a successful day. There are so many little things you can do to get your day started on the right foot:
- Avoid hitting the snooze button
- Drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up
- Prepare a healthy breakfast
- Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee
- Fit in a quick workout
- Go to a yoga class
The list goes on…there are countless positive ways to start your day, so try a few and see what works best for you.
6. SCHEDULE TIME TO WORK ON YOUR GOALS
Successful goal-setters know they have to carve out time for the things they want to achieve. And when they’re intensely motivated to accomplish something, they schedule specific times in their days and weeks to work toward it. This habit helps you stay proactive and on course to success.
So, if practicing a keto*-friendly diet is one of your goals, scheduling time to meet that goal might look like this: On Monday and Thursday evenings I will set 2 hours aside to cook/prep my meals and snacks for the week.
And remember, meal prepping doesn’t have to be a weekend thing if that isn’t in line with your schedule. Make it happen with whatever time frame works in your schedule.
7. REWARD YOURSELF FOR THE LITTLE WINS
The journey to achieve a goal can take weeks, months and even years. So, it’s crucial you keep yourself motivated along the way. To do so, reward yourself for the little wins that help you reach your big goal.
For example, if meal prepping is one of your 2023 resolutions, you could reward yourself after a successful week of implanting this goal by purchasing a new smoothie cup, a portable salad bowl or the like to fuel this resolution for the long haul. This will incentivize your good habits, and in turn, help you achieve your overall goal.
8. LEARN FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE ALREADY ACHIEVED SIMILAR GOALS
When it comes to goals, there’s a good chance someone out there has already accomplished the same thing you hope to achieve. Learn from them. Study how they did it and see if you can use their experiences to your advantage.
There are a few great ways to do this. You can read books. Listen to podcasts. Follow credible influencers on social media. Talk to a friend who has had success relating to your goal. Regardless of what route you take, learning from someone else is an amazing way to stay motivated and keep you from making some of the same mistakes someone else might have.
9. FIND SOMEONE TO KEEP YOU ACCOUNTABLE
Accountability is key for accomplishing any goal. But, if you struggle with keeping yourself accountable, try to find someone who can keep you honest. It could be a friend, family member, coworker, trainer or even a therapist. If you’re consistently sharing your goals and progress with someone else, you’ll naturally not want to disappoint them.
One of the best ways to do this is find someone who is working toward a similar goal as you. So, if losing weight and following a keto*-friendly diet is your goal, see if you can find a friend who is also striving for the same thing. Whether you’re going to gym together or just talking about your goals for the week, having someone else who can keep you motivated will propel you toward success.
10. REPLACE NEGATIVE SELF-TALK WITH POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
When you’re working toward any goal, it’s normal to experience a little bit of self-doubt. We’ve all been there. But when you start to feel those negative thoughts start to creep in, you must learn to identify, remove and replace them with something positive.
A great way to do this is to write out a list of positive affirmations you can reference throughout your day. For example, if you hear yourself saying, “I’m so exhausted, there’s no way I go to the gym today,” instead say something like, “I can do this. I may be tired, but a little effort is better than no effort.”
No one can stay positive 24/7. Just take a deep breath and put your best foot forward. You’ve got this!
GO GET THOSE GOALS
They say motivation is what gets you started, but habits are what keep you going. So, start working on those habits and your goals won’t be far behind. And when you need a pick-me-up throughout your journey, stay fueled with some delicious :ratio keto*-friendly snacks.
*Always consult your physician before starting an eating plan that involves regular consumption of high-fat foods.