Creating and achieving goals is an integral part of being human. I think goals are essential for living a meaningful life. Goals give you a path to follow. When adversity hits, you have your goals to fall back on. They are something you can keep in mind to give you motivation day in and out.

Accomplishing goals is not something you can learn after reading a book or two. Books might give you the insight on how your brain works, but at the end of the day, you have to take action. Goals that you just dream about and don’t take action are just dreams, they don’t become a reality until you work hard on them.

This is where people get it wrong. Most people think that reading a book or a blog can help them achieve their goals. But, that is farthest from the truth. The books can give you a path to follow, but at the of the day, you have to follow the path and do the hard work.

This is the key – hard work. Day in and out you have to grind. There is no other way around it. But, learning how your body works can give you a leg up on achieving your goals.

So, when this year started, I sat and wrote down all the goals I wanted to achieve. At that time, it looked very simple. Even though I have not achieved anything at that point, I felt that I was going to achieve all my goals this year. By the time I was done, the list was a page long and I had no clue where to start.

At this point, I am feeling pretty confident. I have listened to the “gurus” and wrote down my goals. Half the battle was over and I know I was going to succeed. So, 4 months go by and I have yet to pick up that notebook and work on those goals. I kept telling myself that the year was not over and I had plenty of time. But, before I know, it was June and I have yet to accomplish a single goal.

Whenever I picked up the goal book, there was an internal resistance. After having a zen moment, I figured out that every time I was looking at the goal book, I was having anxiety and didn’t know where to start. This was one of the main reason I wasn’t achieving my goals. Not only that, there was Parkinson’s effect going on. Where I thought I had all the time in the world.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

1 Key reason people fail in their goalsIn order to achieve goals, you have to focus on the small steps – so they can lead to the bigger goals. Once you break down a goal and only think about the next step, the doing gets a lot easier. Don’t get me wrong, your goals need to be inspiring. They need to be able to give you motivation, but it is important that at a given moment, you are only thinking about the next step.

The bigger vision will give you the motivation, but the smaller steps will help you create the habits that lead you to accomplish that goal. 

Now, the first thing you need to do is break down your goals. Breakdown of goals is very important as it gives you bite chunks to work with.  The smaller you can break them down, the better it is going to be. So, let me walk you through the 2 goals I had for this year and how I broke them down.

Visualize the first step 

My first goal for this quarter was to lose weight. Weight is something I have always struggled with and for some reason, it always felt like a daunting task. Now my goal for this year is 50 lbs. As inspiring that is, just looking at that number is overwhelming. It gave me a sense that there was no way I could do that.

So, I broke down my goals. I broke the weight loss I needed per quarter. That come down to 12.5 lbs. per quarter. When you further break it down, it’s only 1 lb. per week. Now, when I think about just losing 1 lb. per week, it seems very easy. All I had to do is cut my diet a little bit and work out 3-4 times per week. Just looking at it on a weekly basis made my goal achievable. It gave a sense of control and when you are trying to achieve goals, a sense of control is very important.

As I work out, I imagine me being 50 lbs lighter, but I am only thinking about that particular workout. Then I am only thinking about reaching my weekly target. And by the end of the day, I am only thinking about logging everything in my app. 

So this is how it looks in my goal book:

  • Lose 1 lb per week
    • Replace 1 meal 3-4 times a week with a replacement shake
    • Log everything I eat to keep my calories in check
    • Workout 30-45 minutes per day for 3-4 days out of the week 
      • 15-minute Stairmaster
      • 15-minute treadmill 
      • 10 minute lower body
      • Use coach.me and health app to log in every night at 9 pm in order to track my progress

I used the same method when I was trying to create a habit of reading more books. After listening to numerous ted talks, I realized that it is very important to increase my knowledge and one of the ways was to read at least 1 book per week. I know on average, I can finish a book in 2-3 hours. That means if I just set aside 30 minutes a day, I can complete 1 book per week. So, I scheduled 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night and wallah, before I knew it, I was reading 30 minutes a day and averaging 1 book per week.

So, go ahead and break down your goals and take small steps in order to achieve them.