This is a guest post written by Amanda from Nellie and Co.
I tend to find that setting goals is easy enough, but when to comes down to the nitty gritty of actually keeping up with them, hitting them, and smashing them to pieces, I need a good ol' poke with my motivation stick. It's at this point in the year, you find yourself looking at two different types of people.
The first type are the ones who have every day of their entire year planned, with tricks on how to advance their goals, hit them, and pretty them up every which way. Then they do it all over again, and smash them every single time. They're usually just that tiny bit too competitive with other people, even when they don't need to be, and feel the need to tell you their achievements more often than you'd like.
The second type are a little.. less motivated. They're behind. They're struggling. They ditched some of their goals because, although they knew deep down they weren't achievable, they stressed themselves out over them anyway. They think about giving up and joining a nunnery in order to somehow achieve a level of happiness that their forgotten goals never could bring them.
Neither one of these types of people are bad, and neither is what they're doing. There are just healthier ways to go about your goals, ways that don't involve putting them on a bonfire to crackle away into nothing. It's important to remember there's a reason you made those goals and wanted to achieve those things, and in order to stay on top of them, you've got to have at least half a plan to start with.
So, how do you stick with and stay on top of your goals?
1 | Cut them down into smaller, more achievable goals
One of my blog goals for the year was to reach a minimum of 5,000 pageviews a month by the end of the year. That was quite a big aim for someone who was reaching just around half that when she set it, but to make it look less scary and more achievable, I cut that goal down into smaller, more manageable quarterly goals. Rather than aim for 5,000 straight away, I aimed for a minimum of 3,000 between January and March, which was nowhere near as scary, but much more likely in comparison.
It can be really easy to look at a big goal, see you're not getting anywhere close to it and give up, and I'm not going to lie or beat around the bush - I feel you, and it seriously sucks. But, if you instead, aim for the final result by taking smaller steps to get there, it'll feel much more manageable, much more achievable, and you'll feel motivated to continue with it.
Task: Take a look at your goals and think about the smaller things you could do to reach that end result. What needs to be done before you get to the end? Can you take smaller steps, and reward yourself each step of the way so you'll be encouraged to move forward? Cut your goals down into easily digestible, smaller goals, like hurdles to jump, until you reach the final straight. There's no point breaking into a run if you haven't cleared the obstacles in your path.
2 | Make sure the goals benefit you/your blogs present
I see quite often in the blogs I follow, people trying to achieve goals that no longer fit with their blog, themselves, or their future. They insist on powering through 100 books a year although they no longer feel the excitement for it that they once did, or don't need to read that many since they no longer blog about books. I see business women, fabulous, amazing, successful business women creating goals other people have set themselves, because they feel they need to be doing the same.
If you keep aiming for other people's goals rather than your own, how can you expect to achieve them?
My goals are personal to me in that they compliment myself and where I want Nellie to be in a year's time. I want to see my views improve, grow and develop with time. I want to create at least one project through the year, and hopefully transition it into a little extra cash over Christmas. I want to read 30 books this year because I know that I'll need that escape into something I honestly, truly enjoy, something blogging can never give me. My goals are tailored for me, by me, and are therefore more achievable because I know what I want, and whether I can do it.
Task: If the goals you set yourself at the beginning of the year no longer suit their purpose, or you've outgrown them, or moved away from the direction they went in, stop pursuing them and do something different. Where do you want to be in a year's time? What do you want to have achieved? What would make you proud to say you did, and does it suit you and your current position? Your goals have to be for yourself - after all, it's you that's going to be working hard for them, right?
3 | Celebrate the smaller milestones to motivate yourself
Celebrating milestones and simple moments of pride can really re-enforce your confidence, your abilities, and your motivation. You'll be surprised how many people will celebrate with you, no matter how small the milestone, because your passion, your joy and your enthusiasm can create a huge snowball of encouragement for others, and yourself, and you'll only want to achieve even more goals.
Take time to track your goals, either in a list form, or with a sheet in a blog planner, and tick them off one by one once you've achieved them. Take the time to feel immensely pleased with yourself, and give yourself a reward - a cup of your favourite coffee at your favourite shop, a new pair of shoes, or even a little smile to yourself. But whatever you do, celebrate the achievements, no matter how small, to push yourself forwards.
Task: Think about all the things you've achieved so far this year and write them down or think about them for a few moments. Did you finally get the courage to go ski-diving, or did you get to splurge on that special something after saving? Did you manage to get a new, exciting job you can imagine yourself in for life, or did you finally get the followers you've been working hard to grow on that social media channel you love? No matter what the achievement or milestone, celebrate it, and share it with others.
4 | Gather friends/groups who can motivate you
Sometimes, all you need in order to stay on top of something is someone to crack the whip, push you to get started, remind you that your goal is achievable and encourage you to do that extremely scary but life-changing thing. Getting a friend involved to help motivate you is one of the easiest and best ways to stay on top of those goals and achieve them. Picking somebody that can give you a pep talk when it's all going wrong, or will celebrate with you when it all goes right, is always a nice feeling. It's great to have somebody in your corner.
Task: Find one or two finds who would help motivate you, cheer you up in times of needs, encourage you to work when you feel most low and bring out the best in yourself, and ask them if they'd be interested in being your goal buddy. Keep in contact, and push each other to work on your goals. When things get tough, turn to them and they'll keep you on the right track, and when they start to lose their way, motivate them to achieve their goals too. What better way to celebrate than with a friend?
It's easy to become disheartened when you don't see progress after working hard, but it's important to remember that your goals aren't meant to be achieved in a short space of time, and results take time to become apparent. I know from personal experience that hard work can pay off when you least expect it to, but I also know that it's not worth setting goals you can't achieve as they'll only bring you down.
Do you struggle to keep on track with your goals? What's the biggest thing you'll take from this post? Let us know in the comments!
Amanda is a 20-something cat obsessed creative living in sunny ol' England. When she's not blogging at Nellie and Co. she's either snapping book photography on Instagram, watching cheesy game shows, or sharing snuggles with her little ginger
She's also created a chock-a-block printable Blog Planner, full of ways to help you create, track and reach your goals, all of which you can download for free over on Nellie and Co.