How I Set Attainable Goals - and Actually Achieve Them

It seems there are two schools of thought during lockdown: there are those who think this time should be used to be ultra productive and those who do not. And both are totally valid! You don't need to spend any extra free time working on your side hustle and you also don't need to spend any extra free time binge-watching Netflix and taking naps.

I, shockingly, could not decide which camp I fall in so I sit squarely in the middle. I've used some of my free time to work on the blog and Instagram, cook some new meals and organize the house. The remainder I've spent watching Mrs. America, taking pre-dinner naps and doing a lot of nothing. But when I do spend time being productive, I find it super helpful to set realistic, attainable goals.

The key word here is attainable. For example, it's one thing to set a goal of running five miles. But five miles is a lot for a new runner! It might make more sense to consider your athletic capabilities before deciding to just run five miles, ya know? Moral of the story: being more thoughtful in your goal setting will be helpful. So here are the strategies I use to set attainable goals - and actually achieve them.

Be Realistic

It can be tempting to set lofty goals - like running five miles when you haven't gone for a jog in years. That's a recipe for injury. Instead, set a smaller goal to begin with. For example, rather than set a goal to write on the blog every single day, I set a goal to post 2-3 times per week. This is a much more realistic goal given the other stuff I have going on in my life (my regular job, getting enough sleep; you know, the usual).

Break It Up Into Smaller Pieces

If you're intent on setting a bigger goal, it can be helpful to break it up into smaller mini-goals to celebrate along the way. Sticking with the run-five-miles example, instead of shooting for the full five miles from the start, start by aiming for one mile. When you hit that goal, celebrate it! Then aim for two miles. Keep setting and achieving these mini-goals and before you know it, you'll have reached your larger goal.

Reward Yourself for the Successes

Actually achieving your goals is super exciting, but it's important to really celebrate them, too! Celebrating an achievement can be just as fun as the achievement itself - and can be some extra motivation. You could reward the achievement of running five miles by buying a new pair of running shoes, for example.

Don't Beat Yourself Up If You Aren't Reaching Your Goals as Quickly as You Thought You Would

I think this is probably the most important one. You can use all the tricks in the book to set yourself up for success, but life gets in the way sometimes. You might not have time to train every day you planned or write a new post every couple days. If you let yourself get down about not reaching goals as quickly as you thought you would, you'll just end up discouraged.

From personal experience, I know that beating myself up for not losing those two pounds I wanted to that week, or only posting once on the blog, is bad news. It usually leads to me saying F it and throwing the whole week in the trash. So rather than letting one bad day or week get me down, I remind myself that it was one set back and don't let it ruin the rest of my plan.

I hope these tips help you get a jump on setting goals that are attainable for you. I'd love to hear what your goals are and how you plan to achieve them!