By Strength for Life

Every year we start out with great plans to achieve and accomplish goals that will make us healthier, happier, better at our jobs, more in tune with our families and friends or more financially sound. However, by the time December rolls around most of our dreams and goals have dropped out of site like the leaves that have fallen from the trees.

Good news! There is still a month left in the year to jump start our goals. We can revive these goals from the dead leaf pile in our brains and put a sense of urgency to our personal wish list, so we can finish the year strong. Dust off that goal list you so carefully made in January and find the items that are still most important to you to accomplish. Do you want to improve your body composition? Is spending more time with your family and friends still your first priority? What can you do to be better at your job? Are you ready to make exercise a consistent part of your life?

If you could accomplish only one thing in the next thirty days, what would it be?

Once you have decided where to focus your efforts for the remainder of the year, use the ten tips below to put a solid plan in action to achieve your goal. Take action, plan and hold yourself accountable for the next month and see just how much you can achieve.

1. Know Your Why
Ask yourself why this goal is so important to you. Having a big reason to reach a goal will help keep you motivated when the going gets tough.

2. Start with the End in Mind
Stephen Covey, the author of “The Seven Habits of Successful People,” tells us to have a clear picture of what we want to achieve so we have a concrete target to aim for.

3. Plan for Obstacles
Every worthwhile goal brings challenges. Planning for these challenges helps us save time and willpower because we do not have to take time to make a decision. For each obstacle that you can imagine use if/then planning. If this occurs, then I will do that.

4. Focus on What’s Important Now
Constantly ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I can do right now to achieve my goal?” Once you have your answer, take action.

5. Make a decision to be persistent – have grit
Anything worthwhile takes effort and determination. Make an agreement with yourself that you will never give up until you reach your goal. Take small steps but keep moving. Find a way around obstacles. Ask for help. Do whatever it takes to reach your goal.

6. Set aside a specific time each day to work on your goal
Make this a sacred appointment on your calendar. Without an appointment, we often let less important items take precedence over tasks that will move us closer to our goal.

7. Deliberate practice
Put aside everything else when you are working on your goal. Eliminate distractions, focus on the task, get immediate feedback and practice, practice, practice.

8. Make Mistakes
If you are not sure how to do something that will help you achieve your goal, do it anyway. One of the best ways to learn is to fail often and fail fast. Learn from your mistakes and you will reach your goal quicker than you thought possible.

9. Take Small Steps
Inch by inch. Step by step. That is how we reach goals. Rarely do we accomplish anything in giant leaps. Any progress is progress. Break big tasks into smaller tasks that are easily accomplished to keep making progress.

10. Enjoy the process
Half of the joy of reaching any goal is appreciating the effort and energy it took to get there. Enjoy each step.