Note: This is a guest post by Roman Soluk.
At the beginning of every new year, we make a promise to change something in our lives.
We think about how to succeed in the coming year and have high hopes for becoming better people, for meeting the best expectations we have for ourselves.
Unfortunately, we don’t always follow through on our plans during the year. So many of them fall through the cracks, never to materialize. We start with a bang but end with a whimper. Apparently, we are doing something wrong — over and over.
So how do we make our dreams a reality? How do we implement all of our plans? How do we move from words to actions? Where should we start?
First, to have the answers to these questions, you need to understand whether or not your chosen dream is truly a dream. Maybe it’s just the desire of your family or a temporary feeling that arose from the suggestion of well-meaning friends.
But once you are clear on your dreams and goals, it’s never too late to follow through on them. Even though the year is more than halfway over, you can take advantage of these remaining few months to achieve at least some of your goals.
Here are 6 tips to help you follow through on your plans starting today.
1. Strengthen your sense of urgency
No matter how beautiful the dream is, you need to be motivated to start acting. However, you can’t wait for motivation to just show up. That’s why you must create the necessity for change.
- Consider all of the pros and cons of the changes you want to make.
- Then think about how not acting on your plans will negatively impact your life.
- Write down everything on paper, making two columns with the pros and cons of your present status quo and your future life if you take action.
- Don’t forget to set a deadline for achieving your dream. Having a firm date by which you commit to completing your goals will light a fire under you.
2. Find new emotions
Perhaps, everyone has experienced this — you start to follow through on your ideas, and then you burn out. The reason for this is that you disconnect from the positive emotions that inspired you in the first place. The emotions behind the dream or goal are the fuel that propels you to take action and move forward. Without that fuel, you fizzle out. Sometimes you need to manufacture more emotional fuel to relaunch your plans.
- Envision the most pleasant and exciting aspects of your plans.
- Then wrote those down on a paper.
- Stick this paper on the fridge, computer, mirror or wherever you can see it regularly.
- Make a colorful photo collage or dream board. Cut out pictures of your dreams – it may be a dream home, a car, a place to visit, etc.
3. Find a support
Friends, colleagues, relatives — these are the people who play an important role in achieving your success. Talk more often to people who are ready to support you and inspire you.
- Attend seminars, join meet-ups, or find a group of like-minded people on social media.
- Make the effort to reach out to friends and family to tell them about your plans and ask for support.
- Try to avoid pessimists and naysayers who undermine your enthusiasm.
- Look for a mentor or adviser who is familiar and successful with your goals and seek their input and ideas.
4. Eliminate obstacles
Often it happens that at first everything is going smoothly with your plans, then your life begins to present obstacles to the changes. At the time of difficulties, you are ready to give up all the plans and dreams.
- Analyze the obstacles to determine if they are truly obstacles or just temporary set-backs. Are they emotional or actual difficulties?
- Determine what you can control and overcome and what is out of your control.
- Take action on what you can change or solve, taking small and manageable steps to deal with the problem.
- Seek help from supportive friends, family, or professionals who can guide you.
5. Learn new habits
Most people can’t start implementing their plans because they are accustomed to their old habits. A huge part of making real and lasting change in your life is learning new habits that support your goals. If your goal is to lose weight, you may need to learn a variety of small habits such as getting up earlier, creating an exercise program, or changing your diet.
- Learn the necessary steps in creating sustainable habits. You can learn more about habits here.
- Break down each new habit into small mini-habits that are manageable and easy.
- Tackle one new habit at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed as you are working toward your goal.
6. Reward yourself
Every step along the way, celebrate your accomplishments. It’s hard to commit to on-going action and habit change. Remind yourself that you are doing the work necessary to create a better life and reward yourself for your efforts.
- Consider getting a calendar where you list your daily actions toward your goal or habit change. Every time you take action, put a gold star on the day. This sounds remedial — but it is truly very satisfying.
- Think of some other small rewards you can give yourself each time you finish an action — a piece of chocolate, a 10-minute break to meditate, a walk outside. Be sure you attach positive reinforcement to every action you achieve.
Remember, dreaming, setting goals and making plans isn’t enough to succeed. You need to act today, tomorrow, and every day after to make your plans materialize. Don’t hesitate, think of some motivation that will help you to move forward and begin to follow through on your plans right now.
How do you motivate yourself to move forward and take action on your goals? Please share your thoughts in the comments.