Go ahead, grab a pen and notepad because today I’ll be providing the roadmap to achieve your goals in 2024.
In fact, if you want to transform your life at any point you just need 2 things. Can you guess what these are? Well, the first one is the will and the second is the way.
Seems obvious right?
But the thing is complex behaviors usually require both.
Here’s an example of how you can harness the “will” and the “way” to achieve your goals.
Let’s use one of the most common resolutions: to exercise more.
(1) The WAY to achieve your goals
First of all we need to make this goal a bit more specific. Its always best to know exactly what you’re working towards.
So let’s update this to: Exercise moderately for 150 minutes weekly.
When possible, it’s best to break down your goal into smaller tasks for each day.
For instance you could decide to do cardio on Monday or strength training on Wednesday.
Just make the vision as clear as possible.
Now let’s establish the action plan.
**Strategic Planning for goal achievement
When creating your action plan I want you to decrease friction as much as possible.
Essentially, you have to streamline the process to make it as easy as possible for you to stick to your goals.
Take a close look at your current routine and lifestyle. What are your daily commitments?
What are your specific time constraints or periods of higher energy levels?
Although this process should be structured around your own personal reality, I want you to consider these points.
**Environment Modification to achieve your goals
Having a dedicated space reinforces the importance of your goal and minimizes the effort required to get started.
So if you want to exercise more, set up your environment for success.
Lay out your workout clothes the night before, keep your equipment accessible, add elements that motivate and energize you.
Since I’m always coming up with an excuse to not go to the gym, I decided to invest in an exercise equipment that I could use at home – thereby decreasing friction.
I truly believe that getting started is often the hardest part. So I just wanted to get started.
Guys, I’ve been living in this apartment for over 4 years.
It has a gym which I can use for free and I’ve only gone twice – 2 times. Well of course it was closed for a few months for COVID but still.
I would always make excuses like “I don’t have time” or “I don’t like going to the gym alone” or “the gym will be too full” or “Oh it’s too cold to go to the gym – that is literally right downstairs.”
I’m not saying that some of our excuses aren’t valid.
But that’s just shameful, it’s disappointing, especially since it’s something I genuinely wanted to do. I wanted to – no I needed to exercise more.
I was around my birthday that I decided – again – to go to the gym. So that’s when I started. I went the first day, of course I felt like I was dying but I did pretty well.
I went back the next day. That’s twice in a row – I was on a roll and feeling proud of myself. The third day I went, but I saw that there were some persons there exercising and I causally walked passed the gym and went back home.
Anyone else has gym shyness??
I wasn’t going to go in the gym with all those people, especially when I didn’t even know how to use some of the equipment.
I didn’t want anyone judging me.
But you know what- the older I get the more I realize that no one is thinking about us as much as we believe.
They’re busy living their lives.
So we need to go ahead and stop using this as an excuse.
Let’s stop being consumed by our own thoughts and opinions.
The point is – I’m not any different from you.
But one day I said “this nonsense has to stop” and decided to purchase this exercise equipment to use at home.
And even for that I found myself making excuses, like I didn’t have space or I didn’t know which one to choose.
I was thinking that maybe I would buy it and won’t use it.
Well I had to tell myself that this is important and you know what, I found space, it’s visible and accessible in a corner of my living room and I could easily move it if needed.
I was trying to decide between the row and ride and the treadmill but decided to go with the row and ride so that I can get a full body workout.
Plus it’s much cheaper. What’s your favorite home exercise equipment, let me know in the comments. I’ll leave a link for this row and ride in the description.
Remember, we’re not neglecting our health this new year.
We’re finding a way to make it possible.
You don’t have to take the same route like I did.
Maybe your choice to decrease friction could be getting an exercise buddy or paying for a gym membership.
Maybe it could be getting a personal trainer if that’s feasible for you.
You’ll never regret investing in your health.
Look for small opportunities to help you achieve your goals.
So if your goal is to exercise more, consider using the stairs more often, go for walks instead of driving when possible. Every little bit counts.
**Incorporate Enjoyment to your workout plan
Decrease the mental friction by choosing activities that you genuinely enjoy. If you love dancing, sign up for a dance class or find dance workout videos.
When you enjoy the process, exercise doesn’t feel like a chore and it’s more likely that you’ll stick with it.
When I was living in Cuba, I went to Zumba classes.
I would have never decided to do Zumba but a friend invited me, and after saying no a few times, I finally decided to go.
Plus, it was close to where I lived. I kept going back because I had the company and it was actually so enjoyable.
As expected, I did absolutely horribly the first few days. Everyone was going right, I was going left, I was a mess.
But to my surprise, I got better, eventually I was able to keep up and it was so much fun.
I believe I ended up going for more than a year – even when my friend stopped.
**Social Accountability to enhance goal achievement
Having a social commitment adds an element of accountability.
So, as I mentioned before, getting a workout buddy or joining a fitness class can be so beneficial. You’re less likely to skip a workout when someone else is relying on you.
Plus it makes the experience so much more enjoyable by reducing the perceived effort.
Keeping track of your progress could be as simple as maintaining a workout journal or using fitness apps.
Personally, I enjoy using habit trackers.
Seeing tangible results, even if they’re small improvements will boost your motivation and reduce the mental resistance required to continue your fitness journey.
Introduce a reward system for reaching milestones.
Treat yourself to something you enjoy after completing a set number of workouts or achieving a specific fitness goal.
Maybe you could reward yourself some new exercise gear or a massage.
Positive reinforcement will create a positive association with exercise, making it more likely that you’ll stick to your plan.
Remember, the key is to design your action plan with the understanding that reducing friction increases the likelihood of success.
The feeling of effort from working on a tough task causes us to feel like we’re sacrificing other opportunities.
And that’s exactly why you need to make your priorities explicit. What is it that you really need to do?
You need to reserve dedicated time for new challenges at least until they become habitual.
**Time Management to achieve your goals
Time is often the biggest obstacle. If you’re struggling to find time to exercise, audit your daily routine.
When you take the time to conduct a thorough audit of your daily routine, you’ll often discover that there are pockets of time scattered throughout your day that can be better utilized.
It’s easy to underestimate these intervals, but they can collectively add up to a significant amount of available time.
Start by scrutinizing how you allocate time to various activities – from work and commuting to leisure and personal tasks.
Identify areas where minutes might be slipping away unnoticed.
Perhaps there’s time spent on social media, extended breaks, or moments of indecision that could be repurposed more productively allowing you to dedicate some time for exercising.
Even if it’s only a few minutes to begin with. Get started, remain consistent and gradually increase.
If mornings are hectic, opt for an evening routine.
Although, I must say that it’s best to avoid exercise for at least an hour before bed.
If you do get started and find yourself consistently skipping workouts, reassess your schedule.
Align your exercise time with periods when you’re less likely to face scheduling conflicts.
Next, you should identify any conflicting goals, responsibilities and potential problems you’ll encounter.
I know myself, and once I start working, I won’t leave it to go exercise. And, by the time I’m done with work I have one million other things to do.
So that’s why I decided to exercise in the morning before I sit down to work.
I won’t lie, it was still hard because I thought to myself, I could work for that half hour instead of exercising. But why do we do that to ourselves?
I know exercise has been shown to increase life expectancy, decrease the risk of chronic disease, improve brain function, mood, energy and the list goes on.
I want to live longer, I want to be healthier. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around why I was finding it so hard to prioritize myself.
So I want to encourage you to take the time to identify the consequences of not pursuing your goals.
Anyone else find it super hard to prioritize yourself? Maybe we need to put “Prioritize Self” on top of our list of goals.
But let me tell you this, when your family sees your dedication to regular exercise, it sets a powerful example. Before you know it they might be joining you.
**Consistent Effort to achieve your goals
Consistency is the secret sauce.
It’s easy to get excited about the first few workouts, but maintaining that enthusiasm is the challenge.
I want you to understand that results take time. It’s all about creating a healthy living- not quick fixes.
Focus on the collateral benefits.
Maybe you’re not losing as much weight as you like, but you are feeling better and more energized.
Remember, missing a day doesn’t mean failure.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Start again, Stay committed, even on days when motivation is lacking.
Consistent small efforts compound into significant results.
Not let’s move on to the WILL
(2) The WILL to achieve your goals
I know, I know, habits are more importa nt than motivation. But that doesn’t mean that motivation is irrelevant.
**Motivation and Inspiration
“Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.
Picture this: you wake up feeling groggy, debating whether to hit the snooze button or go for that morning run.
In this moment, I want you to remember your why.
I want you to find your motivation. It could be a fitness role model, a favorite workout playlist, or envisioning the health benefits.
Create a visual reminder – a photo or quote – that sparks inspiration when your will is wavering.
Doubting your ability to stick to a fitness routine is normal. And that’s exactly why you need to celebrate small victories.
Focus on your input rather than the outcome. If you managed to run an extra mile or lift a heavier weight, give yourself credit.
I’ve been following some fitness and wellness groups on facebook and I find them so inspiring.
When I see some of these people, I just want to stop eating and go exercise right away.
So surround yourself with a community that cheers you on, be it friends, family, or fellow fitness enthusiasts. Remember, progress, no matter how small, is still progress.
**Setting Realistic Goals
If you set an unrealistic goal like exercising for two hours every day, burnout is inevitable. Instead, start with achievable targets.
Perhaps, commit to three 30-minute sessions a week and gradually increase.
Realistic goals build confidence, fueling your determination to achieve more.
However, let me take a moment here to remind you that the World Health Organizations recommendations for healthy adults aged 18 to 64 years is: 150–300 min of moderate-intensity physical activity, or 75–150 min of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or some equivalent combination of moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, per week.
The “problem with goals” is that we often set them either too high or too low… and when we fail to meet them, we feel really bad about ourselves and become even more discouraged.
That’s why so many of us give up on our New Year’s resolutions by January 14.
But, if you think of life as a journey instead of a to-do list, then this kind of thinking is less likely to happen because it’s more about the process than any outcome. Something that mindfulness excels at.
Before you go, here’s a litmus test to help you decide whether to move forward with your resolution. I want you to ask yourself these questions.
- Do I have a purposeful reason (not frivolous) for wanting to make the change?
- Am I committed enough to make a change in the next year?
- Do I have a good enough reason to keep me from stopping when it gets hard?
- Can I take the steps necessary to achieve my goal?
- Do I have someone to help keep me accountable?
Once you’ve decided to pursue a goal, I want you to get a start date.
Setting a start date creates a sense of urgency and commitment to the goal, helping to avoid procrastination. It also provides a clear timeline for planning and preparation, which can increase the likelihood of success.
Remember not to put that start date too far ahead though. We don’t want to lose our motivation before we begin or even forget about the goal.
Goal planning is challenging, so consider grabbing my goal guide and planner. This guidebook walks you through the entire process of goal setting.
From understanding the advantages and disadvantages of goal setting to monthly tracker pages. This journal has prompts to help you get started, as well as tips for staying focused on what’s important.
Whether your goal is to exercise more or conquer another challenge, the formula remains the same: the will and the way.
Plan your goals strategically, manage your time effectively, and stay consistent.
Cultivate the will by finding inspiration, overcoming self-doubt, and setting achievable goals. Transforming your life is within reach.
So, set your will, pave your way, and let’s make this year the one where you not only set goals but crush them! 🚀
“Visualize your highest self and start showing up as him/her.” – Ali Owens
Berkman ET. The Neuroscience of Goals and Behavior Change. Consult Psychol J. 2018 Mar;70(1):28-44.
Chowdhury, M. (2021) The Science & Psychology of Goal-Setting 101