from our partnerThrive Global
written byElizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.
We all have a list of goals—either written down or floating around in our heads—that will help take our lives in the direction we want. Having that list is a great first step, but you have to actually keep track of, and then follow through on your goals in order to make them count.
Major behavior changes don’t happen overnight—you’re far more likely to succeed if you use Microsteps (small, science-backed incremental changes) that can make a big difference. Here are three additional strategies to help you stick to your goals so you can achieve them:
1. Find people who will keep you accountable
You might be hesitant to share your goals with other people. After all, if you let others know about your goals and then end up not being able to achieve them, you may feel as though you’ve failed. But in reality, telling people about your goals and asking them to hold you accountable actually helps. And it can be a two-way street: Return the favor by finding an accountability buddy, and you can each help each other stay on track.
2. Do a distraction detox
If you’re finding that you are not reaching your goals because instead of chipping away at them, you’re constantly turning to technology or devices when you have some downtime, consider trying a distraction detox. As Thrive founder and CEO Arianna Huffington writes: “We’re being controlled by something we should be controlling. And it’s consuming our attention and crippling our ability to focus, think, be present, and, most important, to truly connect, both with others and with ourselves.”
Of course, technology can be very useful and, in some ways, make us more efficient. Huffington is simply urging us to reconsider our relationship with our devices—disconnecting from them when needed, and reconnecting with ourselves, and in turn, our goals. For example, if your goal is to get better at drawing, instead of spending an hour each night watching TV or scrolling through social media, use that time to draw instead.
Give yourself time off
Being disciplined is a great thing (and a vital way of reaching your goals), but don’t forget to take the time you need to relax, reset, and recharge. Meeting your goals will be impossible if you’re burned out. Instead, give yourself some time off for good behavior. Take a break from your environment, spend some time in nature or spend an hour wandering through a nearby museum. Allowing yourself time to do something other than work towards your goals is healthy and necessary. It may also spark curiosity and creativity, and make you even more productive than before when you’re ready to refocus.
Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is a bioethicist and writer specializing in health and the intersection of bioethics and popular culture. Previously she was the health and sex editor at SheKnows. She is an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham University and has written for print and online publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Salon and Playboy, and has given a TEDX talk on The Golden Girls and bioethics.