Whether you want to train for your first marathon, write a memoir, or start a new business, setting goals and achieving them can give your life immeasurable meaning and purpose. But like anyone who has set their sights high, sometimes you experience roadblocks: Fear creeps in, self-doubt takes over, or procrastination slows you down, forcing those goals to take a back seat.
Someone who knows this all too well is Andrea Isabelle Lucas, 39, author of Own It All: How to Stop Waiting for Change and Start Creating It. Because Your Life Belongs to You. At one time living as a broke, single mom on food stamps while recovering from an abusive relationship, Lucas managed to pull herself up and build the life she wanted. Today, she owns a multi-million dollar national barre and yoga studio chain. “This is the thing: you have to pick yourself,” says the founder of Barre & Soul, a booming business that not only helps women get in shape physically, but also provides a supportive and empowering community culture. “You can't wait to be chosen, invited, or offered a seat at the table. Don’t give that power away to others. It is already yours; you just have to use it.”
Sounds easier said than done, right? Keep reading. Lucas and other experts offer their real advice for becoming a successful goal getter.
Goal-digging Strategies You Can Use Right Now
1. Do something that scares you each day. Taking risks is never easy, but if it gets you a tiny bit closer to your goal, do it anyway. “Today’s small, scary step may not look super impressive or sexy at the beginning,” explains Lucas. “But every baby step really adds up.”
2. Learn to say “no." We all want to do it all. But if your growing to-do list tasks are sucking up too much of your time and energy, then they’re not supporting your goals. Transformational coach and host of the acclaimed podcast “Earn Your Happy,” Lori Harder, says before taking on another task, consider this: “You need to get clear on what is a ‘hell, yeah,’” she says. “If it’s not a ‘hell, yeah,’ then it’s a ‘no!’”
3. Assess your inner circle. The people in your life are just as crucial to your success as your own efforts. “Your environment is stronger than your willpower,” says Harder. Take a good, hard look at your life and the people around you. Are they pursuing goals and success as well? Or are they holding you back? “Don’t take advice from unhappy people and don’t take advice from people who don’t have what you want.”
4. Load up on the good stuff. Ditch the rest. Are the ways in which you spend your free time contributing to your success? If not, get rid of them. “Fill your plate with so much of the good stuff that there is no room for the bad stuff,” says Harder. Invest in self-help books, motivational seminars, relevant podcasts, coffee dates with other high achievers—anything that will inspire you and give you the tools to achieve what you’re after.
5. Write down what’s in your head. We are inundated with so much information, why keep it all crammed in your head? Erica Spiegelman, an author and motivational speaker, suggests doing a brain dump every Sunday evening. “Write out everything you have planned for the week, including exercise, social plans, sleep, down time, etc.,” she says. But, she adds: Use a planner, not your phone for this exercise. “When you put pen to paper, you create a connection in your brain between what you wrote down and what it represents in your week.” By doing this each week, you can then hold yourself accountable for how you spend your time.
6. Redefine F.E.A.R. Lilian Garcia, 52, host and the producer of the podcast, “Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia,” says she had to redefine fear in order to be successful. “Fear paralyzes you in a way that you will start creating ‘stories’ as to why you can’t accept an opportunity or create the life you desire,” she says. While a common acronym for fear is "False Evidence Appearing Real," Garcia created her own personal acronyms such as “Freeing Energy Allowing Rejoicing” or “Fierce Everyday Always Ready.”
7. Create a courage resume. Chantelle Anderson, 37, former WNBA player and award-winning sales representative and confidence coach, says every time you feel scared about something, do it anyway—then record it on a courage resume. “That way, the next time you're scared, you can use your past experiences to remind you that fear is a liar,” she says.
8. Don’t give up. Ever. “What I keep hearing from successful people; what they always say is, ‘I just didn’t give up,’” says Harder. “That’s my truth, too! While everyone else was saying, ‘I give up,’ or, ‘I can’t,’ I just didn’t quit.”