Marathon runners talk about “hitting the wall”—the point in the race where the challenging task of completing a marathon suddenly seems impossible, and the runners feel their momentum, energy, and motivation draining away. You may encounter some version of “the wall” as you work on your 30-day plan to fulfill your dream. It’s normal to have moments of doubt or thoughts about throwing in the towel. The key is not to let those moments overshadow the value of what you’re doing. So whenever you start to lose steam, remind yourself that your goals are important to you. If you keep moving forward and take the next step, you will cross that finish line!
Week 3 – 30 Days/30 Ways to Accomplish your Goals
Day 15: Have you ever heard the old saying “Goals that are not written down are just wishes”? Tracking your progress in writing is a great way to ensure forward movement (or to shine a spotlight on the lack of progress—unwanted attention that can motivate you!). Consider creating a blog (here’s how) where you can write about your project and allow others to follow your successes and setbacks. Not only does this public record help make you more accountable to yourself, but it could help someone else who’s doing research on this topic or trying to tread the same path.
Day 16: What things keep preventing you from taking steps every day toward completing the activities in your action plan? What is distracting you from accomplishing something you deemed important to your life? Identify the obstacles in your path and remove them so you can focus on your task.
Day 17: Motivation is a key part of success, but it isn’t always easy to maintain. Sometimes, even in the most important aspects of our life, we can get bogged down in the details and stop seeing the big picture. So find some words that always inspire you (here’s one good place to start) and carry them with you every day. Whenever times get tough, whenever you struggle, whenever you just need a boost, reread the words you’ve chosen for yourself, focus on their meaning to redirect your thoughts, and keep moving forward. You’ve got this.
I find my motivation in this quote by an unknown author: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
Day 18: Feeling sluggish? Give your brain a boost by treating your body well: sit up straight and breathe deeply, go for a run or a brisk walk, eat healthy foods (such as whole grains, blueberries, nuts, eggplant, fish, and—yes!—dark chocolate), and get enough sleep.
Day 19: By this point you’ve made progress toward accomplishing something new in your life. Celebrate your successes, learn from your challenges, and remind yourself that every action you take is part of an important new journey.
Day 20: Stay focused (and beat procrastination) by turning off the TV, disconnecting from WiFi (so e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and chat windows can’t distract you), turning off your phone, and locking your door. Then get to work!
Day 21: What a week! Take a moment to reflect on all the steps you took (and didn’t take) over the past seven days. Remember, setbacks will be a part of your journey. (After all, some things—such as emergencies—are beyond our control.) So take out your timeline and figure out what needs to be done next (including any steps that were skipped last week) so that you stay on schedule. Go, go, go!
Week 4 – 30 Days/30 Ways to Accomplish your Goals
Day 22: Feeling overwhelmed? Tackle a few little tasks before moving on to the bigger ones. When you hit one of your milestones, mark the occasion by giving yourself a reward (such as a delicious treat from the local coffee shop or a day off).
Day 23: Stack your projects. Working on the same thing day after day is a surefire way to bore yourself. Having multiple tasks on your plate allows for variety and productivity at the same time. (Consider using a productivity app to help you categorize and prioritize your tasks.)
Day 24: Do not compare yourself to others who seem to be doing a better or faster job of attaining their dreams! Even if you have the same goal, what they need to do and learn to achieve theirs is not the same as what you need to do and learn to achieve yours. Comparing yourself to others is never a productive action. Remember, your path is uniquely yours.
Day 25: Track your hours to see how much time you spend on your various activities each day, such as sitting in front of the TV, looking at your computer or phone, exercising, hanging out with friends, and working toward your goal. Once you know how you use your time, figure out which of your activities make you feel good and which make you feel bad—then ditch the negatives.
Day 26: Silence the detractors. Only positive and constructive voices are allowed when you’re working hard to make your dream come true! So figure out how to shut down or ignore the negative voices—especially the ones in your own head.
Day 27: Remind yourself that regardless of where you are in your journey, you truly fail only if you quit trying to achieve your goals. So keep your focus on the finish line, even if it seems far away and you have to negotiate a few roadblocks to get there!
Day 28: At the end of week 4, are you a little closer to achieving goal #1? Or have you already met that one and have started working on goal #2 or even goal #3? If you’ve hit your target, pop some champagne and celebrate! But if life got in the way and stalled your progress, don’t beat yourself up. Go ahead and pop that champagne anyway in honor of your renewed commitment to accomplishing your goals over the next 30 days. Celebrate giving priority to what you want out of life.
Week 5 – 30 Days/30 Ways to Accomplish your Goals
Day 29: Remind yourself that the only person who can change your life is you. Hoping and wishing for change won’t make it happen—you need to take action to make your dream a reality. After four weeks of being action-oriented toward your goal, pay close attention to the results you’re seeing.
Day 30: Look back over the past month and assess what worked, what didn’t work, and what you’d do differently next time. Then “rinse and repeat”: go back to day 1 and draw up a new action plan (incorporating the lessons learned from this one) for the next 30 days.
Treat each month (whether it’s defined as a calendar page or as a 30-day chunk of time) as an opportunity to start anew at tackling what is really important in your life. Chasing a dream is a huge undertaking, but breaking it down into smaller parts makes it feasible. By figuring one—and then prioritizing—what’s important, you can achieve your goals. And before you know it, you’ll be living the life you want instead of merely dreaming about it!