Dear readers, how is 2019 going for you?
The above is not a rhetorical question, I am genuinely interested in how the start of your year has been. Of course, we are all probably experiencing different things but that is what makes life interesting.
Have you been able to commit to your new year resolution? or have you come to the realisation that just like the previous years, you suck at keeping promises made to yourself?
Recently on Instagram, I spoke about my dislike for certain types of motivational speakers. The kind that simply tells you to “get up and go!” “You can do it!” etc. Whilst all of the above may be true and we all need a pick me up from time to time; I find that these type of speakers do not provide you with the tools you need after that temporary buzz has worn off, and you are back to square one.
I was initially hesitant to discuss this because I don’t consider myself as an expert. The reality is, I don’t always feel motivated. In my search for an endless pool of motivation, I have found that an over-reliance on motivation is a problem in itself.
The English dictionary defines motivation as the “desire or willingness to something.” The synonyms for motivation include; enthusiasm, incentive, inspiration, stimulus etc, all words that describe things that are rarely constant in life. I believe it is not beneficial to rely on motivation when trying to achieve a goal. More emphasis should be on developing the discipline to continue working on your goals even when you are lacking inspiration. It is interesting that the majority of us manage to attend our 9-5 jobs on days that we don’t feel like it, why is difficult for us to do the same when it comes to our personal goals. Is it because we are not paid to reach our own targets? Does it have something to do with the lack of an outside authority, like our bosses who are in charge of disciplinary actions when we fail to meet set requirements? Or are we simply terrible at managing ourselves?
The above questions are for you to ponder on, they are also to highlight that sometimes the problem lies with how we treat ourselves. I prefer to pose questions that allow you to derive at your own personal conclusions. We are unique individuals and to assume that your thoughts will mirror mine is a little arrogant. Having said that, I thought it appropriate to share with you things that have helped me achieve some of my personal goals.
How to set realistic personal development goals.
- Study yourself: This is the most crucial step, you need to be aware of what your problems are before seeking to make a change. There are many great books out there but if they are not addressing what you struggle with, it will not benefit you in your attempt to make a change.
- Be frank with yourself: Are you really ready to make a change? The reason why I emphasize this is because you sincerely have to be determined to take action for the rest of the tips to work. This means you need to drop all the excuses you have made in the past and start holding yourself accountable. It’s time to “evolve or die,” Timi Awolola. As crazy as this may sound if you continue to allow yourself to fall victim of the bad habits you have developed over the years, it will end up hindering your potential to be greater. You need to weigh up your choices, are you prepared to continue to use your excuses as cushions whilst they make lasting detrimental mark on your life or are you prepared to fight yourself and break those habits so that you can begin to flourish.
- Evaluate your goal, is it SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time- based. Using the SMART approach will stop you from making broad goals or setting too many goals at a time.
- Set a plan: You need to know what is required to achieve the changes you want to make, do your research, there might be a formula out there that may work for you. When doing your research, be critical and fact check everything before using such information as a guideline.
- Get an accountability partner: The average person is more comfortable with disappointing themselves than disappointing others. Strange isn’t it. Speak to a trusted friend or family member about your goals. This step is particularly good because sometimes when you make promises to yourself, without others knowing, it can be easy to be lenient with yourself because after all, nobody knows you were supposed to do it. If you get the word out, then you will also have your friend/ family to answer to if you fail to deliver.
- Take action: This is the most difficult part but also the most important, changes are not made with plans that are not implemented, you simply have to do the work.
- Carry out a Self Assessment: On a weekly or daily basis if possible reflect on how you are doing in regards to achieving your goals. Be truthful, this is not the time to reward yourself for doing the bare minimum. In this process make sure you celebrate the little wins, you may find that the little results can encourage you to do more.
- Start over again: If you fail at any point don’t allow that to stop you from trying again. Discipline takes years to develop, the key is to asses why you failed and apply the lessons learned along the way the next time.
I hope the above tips have been useful, till next time remember that your growth is specific to you, do not look at others to measure yourself.