Setting a new goal is exciting, isn’t it?
On day 1, you feel like you can take on the world! Nothing is going to stop you this time. But fast forward to day 32, or 96, or 125, and things don’t always look as bright as they did at the beginning. Unfortunately, accepting a new challenge, and finishing that challenge are two entirely different things.
Take it from me: After trying my hand at a few unsuccessful side hustles in the past, I’ve finally landed on Freelance Writing, and it’s a perfect fit for me. But to get here, I had to take the road less traveled and I felt like giving up. Several times. Almost daily.
So in my years of experimenting, I’ve had to find ways to keep pushing myself forward. Today I’d like to encourage you by sharing six ways I’ve found to succeed with your goal, even when you feel like giving up.
1. Get rid of the perfectionism mindset
It’s easy to envision the end point of the life you want to have after you’ve accomplished goal X, but getting to X can sometimes be messy and uncomfortable.
When the discomfort hits and you have to make a tough choice, don’t get caught up in figuring out which choice is perfect. My experience with waiting to make a “perfect” decision is that this will always lead to analysis paralysis, which results in not moving forward at all.
Chances are, your choices are not really between good and bad, but between two good options (which is what leads us to ask, “which one is perfect?”) Listen, if you’re juggling two good choices, just pick one and keep moving. There will be bumps and there will be tough spots no matter which option you choose. Reaching your goal may never go as perfectly as you envisioned and that’s ok. Keep at it and keep pushing past perfectionism.
2. Throw “feelings” out the window
How many decisions do we make every day based on how we feel?
I feel tired, so I’m not going to get up and go to the gym today.
I feel bored, so I’m going to go find something to munch on.
I feel like this is too hard, so I’m going to watch TV instead.
What I’m learning lately is that no good decision is made when it’s based on our current mood. So if you’re working toward a goal and you’re getting to the point where you feel like giving up, identify that this is a feeling.
Maybe take a step back and take a break, but DON’T throw in the towel based on your immediate feeling. Take some time to think, meditate, or pray. Take a week off if you’re feeling burned out and need it. But DON’T give up just because you’re feeling like things are getting too hard.
3. Remember your Why
Most people set a goal for a very personal reason, but when things get hard, it can be easy to lose motivation. When motivation starts to wane, remember WHY you wanted to achieve this goal in the first place.
Do this: Take a moment to think, and then write a sentence about why you want to meet the goal you’ve set for yourself. What’s your reasoning? Do you want flexibility? More time with family? A chance to finally finish your passion project?
For instance, I’m a mom of two who is confined to a 9-5 job, and I don’t like being confined. I’d like to be able to take an afternoon off if I want so I can take my kiddos to the zoo. I want to be able to write from my in-law’s lake house so we can go there whenever we’d like and my time away from home isn’t reduced to PTO days. My why is all about flexibility.
Ok, so, now that you’ve got your sentence written out, hang it up somewhere where you can see it, and see it often. Make it your vision for everything you do when you’re working toward this goal. Mine reads: “Flexibility to spend time with those I love, while doing what I love.” When times get rough, I refer to this vision.
4. Share your goals (but with the right people)
It’s been said that telling others about your goal will help make it more real and keep you accountable. While I absolutely agree with this, I also want to add that you should consider only sharing your goals with the right people.
I know it’s easy to get so excited about your new goal that you want to share it with the world! But in all honesty, you may find that not everyone will share your excitement. Any negativity you receive will mostly stem from love (your parents might perceive that you won’t make any money, and they’re concerned for your safety when they imagine you living in a box) or lack of understanding for what it is that you’re doing exactly (my husband had no idea that freelance writing was even a thing when I started).
If you find that you will be met with a bit of resistance by some of your family and friends, in the beginning, consider picking just a couple of people who will encourage you and keep you accountable for your endeavors.
5. Break down your goals into smaller, more attainable ones
Setting a big, new goal is a mix of excitement and fear. You can envision your life as you finally reach the finish line, but thinking about all the steps it will take to get you there can feel overwhelming.
I don’t know about anyone else, but sometimes overwhelm leads me straight to Quittersville. It can seem easier to just not even start. (Remember analysis paralysis?)
When you start to feel overwhelmed by your audacious goal, remember: You don’t need to reach the finish line yet, you just need to accomplish one thing at a time.
What’s worked best for me is to break down my huge goal into smaller 90-day targets. Then I create steps to help me reach that 90-day target. Instead of saying, how am I going to get all the way from Point A (today) to Point Z (my exciting new goal), I instead ask, what can I do today to reach my 90-day target? I’ve found this helps me get over the fear of needing to do everything at once.
6. Take a moment to look back and see how far you’ve come
Pat yourself on the back. Literally. Or get a pedicure, or take an afternoon off to do whatever it is you love to do most. Really celebrate after reaching a goal!
The best way to keep yourself going is to look back and see how far you’ve come. What goals have you already achieved? In what ways have you built your business that six months ago you never thought possible? What have you already done today or this week that’s taking you one step closer to Goal X?
The point is that you can do it. The proof is in how much you’ve already accomplished.
Sometimes the world seems like it’s against you and your dreams will never come to fruition. But don’t give up! Keep working, keep moving, and keep doing you.
Which one of these tips spoke to you the most? Are there any you can try today to keep you moving forward with your awesome goals?