• Madhura

How to set and achieve goals?

Hello my dear friend. Welcome back to yet another episode of Morning Cup of Sunshine podcast or a very warm welcome to my new friends who are tuning in for the first time. Thank you for spending a little time from your day here with me. I know there are thousand other things you can do at this time, there are hundreds of thousands other podcasts out there that you could have listened to but you chose to be here and I am incredibly grateful for that. I do not take this lightly. I fully understand my responsibility here. This is the podcast to make you feel motivated and positive, uplifting at the same time. I want you to feel like you can conquer the world in your small way after listening to each of my episodes and it is a great responsibility. I am committed to creating more and more useful and uplifting content week after week. So thank you so much for joining me in this beautiful journey. Let’s create something good in the world today that your future self will thank you for.

Happy Moment of the Week

Alright, first of all tell me how is your new year going? Are you on track with your goals? If not don’t worry, today we are going to talk all about goal setting. Are you ready for this extreme motivation? But before that happy moment of the week.

It was my husband Rushikesh’s birthday this week. We have our own little tradition for birthdays. I always bake cakes at home. I am absolutely not an expert but I love to try. But I owe all my skills and whatever little knowledge I have to one of my very dear friends, Shipra. Shipra, if you are listening thank you so much for teaching me how to bake and decorate. She is the master of her art. She used to be my neighbor for a few years and I requested her to teach me her amazing art. She was so patient with a newbie like me. I heard all sorts of new words for the first time. I never knew about crumb coat or ganache, seemed like technical words to me. But I never imagined these words would bring me so much joy. To this day, the smell of freshly baked cake feels heavenly to me. Just looking at the rising cake from the oven glass seems so satisfying. I love the entire process, planning the cake, deciding the flavor, shopping home for available material and then actual baking, decorating and of course the eating.. Who doesn’t love the cake? Thank you Shipra for teaching me this skill, I am still learning but this learning is fun. It is a way for me to break away from all that rush and stress. It always brings me joy so baking the birthday cake for Rushi definitely was the highlight of the week for me. It was definitely one of the happiest moments for me. Alright, enough of baking right, is it tempting you to bake or eat a cake. It is definitely tempting me, so let me take a pause here before I stop recording and start baking. Anyway, how was your week? Are you on track with your new year’s resolutions or are they getting side tracked. No worries, as promised I am going to be talking all about goal setting in this episode. I am sure, you will get a lot of tips and tricks to set the goal and of course achieve it. So, without any further delay, let’s start the episode. Shall we?


Step 1 - Create SMART Goals

I explained this little bit in the last episode. Your goal has to be smart. Your dream can be vague, your intentions can be vague but the goals must be SMART. You need to be laser focussed on those goals. What do I mean by a SMART goal? The goal that you are setting for yourself needs to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound. Let’s take one small example. Let’s say that your goal this year is to have less screen time. If you just say I want to have less screen time. This is not a smart goal. So, you have to say that This year, I am going to use my phone to check my social media and for any other entertainment only 30 minutes a day.

Now it is smart. You are specific about how you are going to reduce your screen time. You are able to measure your usage. It is attainable as you are setting a realistic limit. Since you are setting this goal for this year, it is time bound as well. You got the point right? Don’t set some unrealistic goals like I am not going to use my phone at all. This is not realistic in this age. Or I am running a marathon if you have never ever even tried running before. Start small, realistic. Start with, I am running a 5K in the summer and then a marathon or even a half marathon by then end of the year. Give yourself time to prepare. If you set a goal which is totally unrealistic, then you are setting yourself up for failure. If you set a goal which you can not really measure, then you will not have that sense of achievement. That sense of achievement is extremely important for us to keep going. Setting a SMART goal is the first stepping stone towards your achievements. It needs reflection, intentions and some planning. That is the reason I talked about reflecting on the past year first and intentions next before even coming to this stage. Now that you know what worked and what didn’t for you last year and you have your intentions set for this year, it is easy for you to find your goal. I have a small suggestion here. I am talking from my very own personal experience. I think we should set only one big goal, we can have small supplementary goals but setting too many goals all in different directions will make it hard to focus on any one of them. It is better to focus on one big goal for the year. This year my SMART goal is to write at least 3 pages worth of content every single morning. I was tempted to set some other goals as well but then I realized it is dividing my attention and I am not able to focus on any one thing. So I scratched off all other things and kept this as my one big, bold goal. All other things will be part of habits. Like exercising every day, journaling, meditating. These are like small habits which we mistakenly consider goals but having one big bold and SMART goal definitely makes all the difference.Having SMART goal is powerful because it provides focus. It shapes your dreams. It gives you the ability to hone in on the exact actions we need to perform to achieve everything we desire in life.



Step 2 Write down your goal

This is extremely important. I have mentioned it several times. Writing it down on a piece of paper always makes it real for me. Somehow that pen and paper connection clicks something for me. I am a visual person, so I like to first write down my goal and then see those every single day as a reminder. This is the reason vision boards work so great. I have an entire episode on how to create a vision board. I will link it for you in the show notes. Also, if you want to know more about the vision boards, I hosted a virtual vision board for my facebook group, Morning cup of sunshine community. Join the group and you will see that live streaming inside that group. Trust me, my friend, the vision boards work. Take my word on it. They are the constant visual reminder for you. It is extremely important to write down the goal. Always remember, you are the first person who needs convincing. If you want to do something out of your comfort zone, it is you who first needs to be convinced, it is you who first needs to believe that you can do it, and there is no better way than writing down that one big bold goal. Once you write it down, put that piece of paper somewhere , where you can see it every single day. May on your desk, may be in your bathroom mirror , may as your phone wallpaper. It has to in front of your eyes every day. It makes you work on it. It makes you feel motivated all the time. It makes you imagine how you will feel after you achieve your goal. Imagining or even looking at the results will help you keep going. Writing your goal is the first realistic step that you take towards your goal. I read somewhere that the people who wrote down their goals42% more likely to achieve them than the ones who didn’t. When you write a goal down, your subconscious brain begins to more actively think about bringing into your life the people, resources and knowledge you need to achieve those goals. Goals in writing are like dreams with deadlines.


Step 3 - Write down the Action steps

A goal without an action is just a dream. I am all about having big dreams but I want you to not only see big dreams but achieve them. If you want to live your dream life, you need to have an action plan. Actions speak louder than thousand words, isn’t it. Even if you have all the correct intentions but if you don’t take action steps, will it work? No absolutely not. If your goal is to have less screen time. If you want to use your phone for only 30 minutes to check your social media, what is your plan to make this change? What are the steps you are going to take to limit your time? Are there any other alternative habits you want to cultivate rather than scrolling through social media? Write down your action plan. Do you want to set a limit to your social media usage by using an app limit on your phone? Are you planning to keep your phone away during the first and last hour of the day? Are you going to pick up a book when you get tempted to use the phone for mindless scrolling? Are you planning to delete all the social media apps from your phone and only check social media from your laptop at the designated time of the day? Are you using your social media scrolling time as a reward for completing some tedious tasks? There are countless ways to get closer to your goal, any goal. You just have to look intentionally. I suggest you write down your plan, the one that suits you. Not all the action steps I mentioned suit you, you might feel more comfortable with some steps than others. So choose wisely, choose something that you can sustain over the time. Write it down and keep it in front of you. This is an actual action plan reminder, it will help you to be on track. Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into concrete steps.


Step 4 - Accountability

I am realising now that I wanted to start each of these steps with the same sentence saying, “This is the most important step to set and achieve a goal” But really, all these steps are really very crucial. Accountability is what you need to achieve the goal. Once you have your action plan, there are a number of ways to keep yourself accountable. Let me tell you some of my favorite ways to keep myself accountable. First and foremost, I love to be prepared. Since my goal is to write every morning, I keep my notebook and pen ready on my desk every night. There is no way for me to give an excuse now. So, if your goal is to workout every morning, keep your workout clothes picked and out on your dresser at night. Another thing that I do to keep myself accountable is marking my progress. I love to mark on my calendar. I generally put a calendar near my desk. Everytime, I follow my action steps for the day, I mark a star or check on that date. It feels super motivating to see the entire month filled with nice gold stars. It makes me feel accomplished. You can do this on your phone too, but l love to see it the traditional way. One more way that I absolutely love is buddy accountability. Having your friends, family or like minded people around you is the best thing that anyone can have to keep them accountable. Make a group, motivate each other, support each other, help each other, pick each other up. This is the best gift that you can give yourself. Use the technology for your benefits, make whats app group, share your progress over fitness tracking apps, running apps or even a simple phone call help you keep accountable. I know a friend from my old gym. She used to call her other friend every morning, half an hour before the gym. They both made sure that they get to the gym every single day. They were each other’s accountability buddies. This is so great. It keeps you on your toes and helps get out of the funk. Isn’t it? There are other ways to keep yourself accountable. You can break your big goal into a series of small goals and track them. If writing a book is your goal, keep yourself accountable by breaking that big goal into small chunks like writing one chapter every month. Track your progress for a month, this is one helpful way to keep yourself accountable. Plan your action step as if it is an appointment and schedule it in your calendar. This way you won’t forget to work on it. I see many of you set a goal of walking 10000 steps every day. I have a quick tip to get around that goal. Set an alarm in your phone for every one hour. Set an alarm at7.50, 8.50, 9.50 and likewise. Once the alarm rings, get up and walk in the room for the next 10 minutes. You won’t even believe how easily you can complete 10000 steps every day. Accountability is the first step towards responsibility, isn’t it? Always remember, accountability is the glue that ties commitments to results.



Step 5 : Celebrate the highs and Reevaluate the lows

As I mentioned in my previous episode, one of my intentions for this year is to celebrate. When you set a goal, you are really trying to get the results. If the goal is big, it may take a while for you to reach there. Does that mean you should not celebrate the small milestones? Absolutely not. Celebrating your small milestones gives you the needed boost. It makes you feel good about yourself. It makes you believe in yourself more and more. The more you celebrate the more you feel good about yourself. You will feel motivated to work on your goal because you are seeing the results. You are seeing how happy it makes you. You will work harder than before. I highly recommend that you celebrate small victories. It is the way to reflect on your success. Celebrating your highs help you get closer to your goal. But again it is also important to evaluate your lows as well. You need to do a review of your goals. Depending on how big your goal is, set the time in your calendar for reviewing your progress. Sit down with your journal, see what worked and what didn’t. Reevaluate your action steps. Check if any of those steps were unrealistic, if any of those were hard to follow long term? Is there anything that stops you from moving forward? Evaluate these things with an open mind. This is not to criticize you. This is not coming from a place of judgement, instead this is to find an opportunity to do better. We all feel demotivated sometimes. We all feel trapped sometimes. We all feel as if everything is falling apart. But it is your duty to pick yourself up from that point and bring that fresh perspective into your life. Ask for help if you are struggling to find the reason or solution. No one is supposed to live their life alone. We have friends and family for the same reason. Share your worries, listen to someone else’s struggle. If you can bring a smile on one face today, it can be called a good day right? Goals are one part of life but there is a lot more than just running behind a goal. Goals should excite you, goals should make you work harder but with a bright smile. If a goal is burdening you then it is not the right goal for you. That is the exact reason why you need to reevaluate the goals periodically. Celebrate each accomplishment on your way to reaching your goal. Each challenge conquered whether large or small is a positive step to greatness.


Recap

On this note, let me quickly recap this episode. This is the last episode of the New year series. In this series, we discussed all about reflections, intentions and goal setting. In this episode, I discussed the steps to set and achieve a goal. To set any goal you need to follow these very simple but very crucial steps.

Step 1 - Set the SMART goals

Step 2 Write down your goal

Step 3 Write down your action plan.

Step 4 - Accountability

Step 5 - Celebrate the highs and reevaluate the lows.

I am so excited to hear all about your goals for this year. I am excited to work on my goal too. Let’s set some new goals in this new year for new success. I firmly believe that the most important thing about the goal is having one. Imagine with all your mind, believe with all your heart, achieve with all your might.


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