Some of the goals in your life that you most desire are the most difficult to achieve. To achieve great achievements, sometimes we have to put in a lot of time and put a lot of energy into it. And not infrequently we are discouraged when we do it. If you have a big task that you want to do well, you may be confused about where to start. Or, maybe you've started doing it but are starting to lose the will to finish. Whatever your problem may be, good planning and new habits can help you reach your most difficult goals.
Part 1 of 2: Creating an Action Plan
Step 1. Observe your commitment level
Before starting on a difficult task, it's important to ask how committed you are to it. This level of commitment is an important component of successfully achieving goals and achieving accomplishments.
- This commitment may reflect a personal contract/commitment to yourself and to your goals.
- If you're not too committed to a difficult goal, you're unlikely to be successful. If you don't have a commitment, maybe you should reconsider whether you want to achieve this goal or not.
Step 2. Make sure your goals are specific and measurable
The most achievable goals are very specific and very clear so you can tell when you are reaching them.
- These unclear goals are difficult to achieve because it is not very clear what you need to do and when these goals have been achieved.
- It's also possible that you haven't reached your hardest goal because you haven't defined it clearly enough.
- For example, the goal of "becoming a better person" may be impossible to achieve. This goal is very ambiguous and no matter how "good" you are as a human being, of course you can be better than that. In this case, you should define what a good human being is. Think specifically of what things you need to do to be "better"? Do you call your mother once a week? Volunteer for charity 10 hours per month? Doing more housework? Try to be very specific.
Step 3. Divide this goal into several sub goals
The next step is to divide this seemingly big goal into smaller parts. These goals must be concrete and measurable.
- Breaking your goal down into smaller parts allows you to create a detailed plan to outline what steps need to be taken to reach the "big" goal.
- It also provides an opportunity for you to record the progress you have made. This can help you maintain motivation.
- For example, if your goal is to get a doctorate in physics, think about what steps you need to take to achieve it. You must apply to the university. You must be accepted into the university. You have to go through the first semester. You must complete all required courses. You have to pass exams, and so on.
- If you're not so familiar with your goal that you can't break it down into steps, try doing some research so you can better understand what steps you should take.
Step 4. Create a deadline
Once you've created a set of steps to take, try setting a deadline for each of these steps to see how long each step will take.
- Deadlines can keep you committed and focused.
- Remember that if you don't complete a step on time, it doesn't mean you're a failure. This means that you have to revise the deadlines that have been made and try to catch up.
Step 5. Make a plan to anticipate obstacles
In trying to achieve a difficult goal, we usually meet with many challenging obstacles. Try to take the time to think about what obstacles you could face while trying to reach your goals.
- Knowing what kind of obstacles you can face will also help you in making plans to deal with these obstacles.
- For example, if you're training for a marathon, what could happen and get in your way? It could be that you get injured while practicing. Or, something happened at work or in your personal life so you couldn't keep up with your workout plan for a while. What can you do if this happens?
- By making a plan to deal with any possible roadblocks, you'll also find it easier to catch up when they do arise. This plan allows you to keep going even when obstacles arise.
- Maybe you can't anticipate all the obstacles that exist. However, try to think about it beforehand so that you can be more confident when facing obstacles that exist, even if these obstacles you have not anticipated beforehand.
Part 2 of 2: Realizing Your Goals
Step 1. Change your mindset
One of the most important things to reach a difficult goal is to have the right mindset. It's important to remember that although some things are out of your control, you can determine your destiny.
- Many people believe that life is something that happens to them, rather than something they create themselves. This is known as the "external locus of control." This mindset makes a person blame the opportunity or someone else if things don't go as expected.
- The external locus of control is a self-destructive mindset. Try to have an "internal locus of control" mindset. With this mindset, you believe that you can control destiny. This strong mindset can help you stay motivated when you're trying to reach a difficult goal.
- Take a look at the way you talk to yourself. When you find yourself thinking: "I can't do anything about this" or "this is how my life is meant to be," ask yourself whether these thoughts are true or not. Maybe you are in a difficult situation that didn't happen because of you. If this is the case, think about what you can do to make things better, instead of accepting defeat.
- Try to remember that you always have a choice.
Step 2. Determine the effect
Another way to motivate yourself is to try to imagine the effect it will have on your life if you try to pursue your goals.
- You can also try to picture yourself as you go through the various stages of the ongoing process of increasing your inner motivation because you can see the benefits of this goal.
- This might be a good time to write down any inspiration that comes to you as you think about all the positive consequences of pursuing your goals.
Step 3. Create the right environment
Challenging goals can be achieved more easily if you create an environment that encourages you to stay focused on your goals.
- For example, if you are an alcoholic and are trying to quit drinking, one of the most important steps you should take is to get rid of alcohol from your home. You may also want to cut back on time you spend with your drinking friends. These people can throw you back into old habits.
- Therefore, try to surround yourself with other people who are also trying to achieve the same goals and try to check on each other's progress regularly. Thus, the commitment you feel can be stronger. These people can share useful insights or advice, especially if their goals are the same as yours.
Step 4. Take the necessary time
In the end, difficult goals are achieved after we put in hours (or even days or years) of hard work. Try to understand this is a non-negotiable thing and try to take this necessary time.
- Try to have a daily routine where you spend some time working towards this goal. If you want to run a marathon, make sure you spend a few hours each day getting your body ready for the race.
- Over time, you will get used to trying to achieve your goals. This will ensure that you are steadily progressing and that you are "automatically" working towards your goals.
Step 5. Try to stay motivated (and keep making progress even when you feel unmotivated)
This most difficult goal is a big challenge for you, therefore it will be easy for you to lose motivation or feel like giving up. There are several things you can do to prevent this.
- Use reinforcements. Give rewards (positive reinforcement) when you successfully complete one small step. Or, allow yourself not to do something you don't want to do (negative reinforcement). Buy a coveted new pair of shoes, or you can skip mopping the house once to reward yourself for making progress.
- These small rewards will help keep you motivated. Rewards like these help your mind associate the good things with the effort you put into reaching your goals.
- Reinforcement is more effective than punishing yourself for failing.
- Sometimes, no matter how much reinforcement you have used, the motivation is still lost. Maybe because you feel sick, tired, or something bad happened at the office. If you sometimes can't keep up with a set routine, try to find other ways to make progress easier for you.
- For example, if you can't push yourself to open a physics book and study for an upcoming exam, try doing a task that feels less mentally taxing. Try tidying up notes, opening an exercise book, or watching natural science documentaries that are relevant to the topic being tested. That way, you're still making progress even if you don't feel motivated.
Step 6. Monitor the progress you make
A great way to keep feeling motivated is to keep an eye on your progress. Use an app, calendar, or journal, and keep track of the work you've completed and the small goals you've accomplished.
- When you feel stagnant, take a look at these notes. You will see how much you have achieved and this can help you feel motivated. In addition, it helps you to continue to be accountable to the commitments and plans you have made.
- While trying to reach a very complicated goal, you may become very stressed or anxious. A good way to deal with this is to record your progress in this process in a journal. Use this journal to write down what you've done and how you feel as you go through the process. By letting go of worries, anxiety can be reduced. This helps you stay focused on the task at hand.
- Write down why you want to achieve this goal. Know your reasons. Write down as many reasons as possible. When you're feeling down, re-read this list.
- Create motivation in your environment. If you're aiming to train yourself for a marathon, post flyers in your bedroom, fridge, etc.
- Read information that can help you reach your goals. Having knowledge of what you want to achieve can make the process easier.
- Buy a calendar or planner and write down small daily goals. This is a great habit to have and makes you more responsible.