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Goals

Assessing What Matters Most To You

GoalsAlicia GraceComment

We build our lives around what we value most, and whilst some things shouldn’t change too much, like our values and principles, our priorities do.

In order to centre your life around what’s most important to you, it’s important to take time out every now and then to do a self-check and evaluate whether your life is in line with this.

 
 A comprehensive guide on how to assess what matters most to you, from your values to life goals.
 

What are your values?

You may already have an idea of what your values are, but it can be eye-opening to actually sit down and properly go through them to see whether you are living your life in line with them.

To do this, think about a few achievements you are really proud of, and things you have done that made you feel happy. What values were you putting into action then? Were you being creative, practical, or super disciplined?

Some values that you may have include:

  • Accountability
  • Balance
  • Boldness
  • Cheerfulness
  • Determination
  • Equality
  • Expressiveness
  • Faith
  • Grace
  • Independence
  • Love
  • Loyalty
  • Positivity
  • Thoughtfulness

As you note each value, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are they in line with how I want to live my life?
  2. Would I be proud to tell people that these are my values?
  3. Even if some are not popular, do I still support them?

Once you have a list of your values, it’s time to put them in order. To begin, pick your two most important values and compare them so you know which you value most. Think about situations where you may have to pick one over the other. For example, loyalty to a friend may mean making a commitment to driving them to work for a week when their car breaks down. Are you willing to sacrifice some independence for that? Ask yourself such questions as you work your way down the list until you have a list of your values in order of their importance to you.

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Do the things in your life matter to you?

First things first: write down the major things going on in your life. A helpful way to do this is to sort them into categories like Personal, Family, Health, and Work/Career.

Now, go through everything on this list and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does this improve my life?
  2. Is this really important to me?
  3. Does this have a positive impact on my life?
  4. Does this make me happy or is it helping someone I love?
  5. Would I still do this if I only had a month to live?

If you answer ‘yes’ to four or all of these, then you’re on the right track, but if you’ve said ‘no’ to two or more of these questions, then it’s time to seriously ask yourself whether you should continue doing this thing.

Your next steps

If you have gone through all of these steps, you should understand what actually matters to you now. But you can take this one step further.

For those things in your life that you’ve now realised don’t actually matter to you, think about how you can reorient them. If it is something that you absolutely have to do - like holding down a job that doesn’t make full use of your skill set to pay the bills - then think about how you can make changes. Could you learn more skills, try something different like asking for different work responsibilities, or make other adjustments in your life so that you could do less of this thing?

And now, for the last and really important bit. Look at your values, and see which ones you’re not actively incorporating into your life.

Perhaps creativity is important to you, but you’re not actively engaging in a creative activity often. Could you set aside an hour each week to hone your craft? Or maybe you could find like-minded people you could share your creativity with? If faith is important to you, you could join a Bible study, or even just spend a few minutes each day working on your faith.

Here’s the gist

Your life should be centred around what matters most to you, not things you think you should be doing. The first step is to actually think about your values and what brings you joy. Once you have worked that out, look at what’s in your life right now, and think about whether they are in line with your values. Lastly - and this is the crucial bit - evaluate how you can change your life so that you spend less time on the things that you don’t value, and more time on the things that do matter.


Learn How To Set Achievable Goals

GoalsAlicia Grace3 Comments
learn-how-to-set-achievable-goals-post.jpg

The key to achieving your goals is making them achievable in the first place - set yourself up for success. I don’t mean setting easy goals. I mean setting goals that are challenging but real. ‘Get 5,000 Instagram followers in 2 months’ is challenging but achievable. ‘Make a viral blog post’ is not, because it’s not measurable, and you can’t create an action plan for it.

But what exactly makes a goal achievable? Read on to learn my best tips and techniques.

Think about whether it is realistic

A realistic goal is something that you can create an action plan for, and have the necessary resources to accomplish them. If these are resources that ones that you don’t have yet but can acquire, then put this into your action plan. This leads me to my next tip:

Get the right resources

This includes the knowledge you need for your goal. Create an action plan of how you’re going to get those resources. If you need money to fund your creative business, how do you plan to raise this? Perhaps you could try to cut back on some spending, or even sell some things. If it’s knowledge that you need, who do you know that you could reach out to for help, or are there resources online that could give you the knowledge that you need?

Set your milestones

Decide on what your milestones are going to be. If you have a number-related goal, like saving £5,000, break them down into smaller £1,000 chunks. This will make your goal seem much less intimidating, and easier to achieve than a big final figure.

Decide on how you’re going to track your progress

Once you’ve decided on what your milestones are, you need to set up a system to track them. This could be as simple as writing down the dates you hit your milestones on a piece of paper, or a full-on progress tracker (like this one from my Goal-Getter Planner!).

Schedule time to work on your goal

Your goal is important, and deserves your time. If this is something you’re short on, then adjust the timeline for achieving your goal accordingly, and give yourself a longer period to achieve it.

Make sure you actually care about your goal

This is the last but most important tip. The only way you’re going to actually achieve your goal is if you care about it, and you’re truly motivated to achieve it. A goal is something that is important to you, and it should make you feel fulfilled to work on it.


Are you ready to set achievable goals? I have put together a wonderful workbook for you that will walk you through discovering and setting goals that you will actually get done. Click here to start your journey now.

Morning Routines: The Secret to Achieving Your Goals

Goals, ProductivityAlicia Grace1 Comment
 Morning routines are the little big secret to achieving your goals. Learn why.

Mornings set the pace for the whole day, at least for the first part of it, and starting your day right can set you up for success.

Roy F. Baumeister says in his book that our willpower is strongest in the morning, making it the most important time of your day. The first hour of your day determines the rest of it, and you should build a strong foundation for it. The key to this is your morning routine.

Yeah, I know - brushing your teeth and chomping down toast doesn’t seem like a goal-getting technique. It’s not.

But the kind of morning routine that energises you and helps put you in a positive mindset is.

Having an intentional morning routine places control of your life directly in your hands, and by starting this the moment you wake up, you will be empowered to conquer your goals throughout the day.

Why is this?

A morning routine lets your brain breathe

Your brain has been resting for 8 hours, and it needs some time to warm up properly before you can put it to good use. Morning routines create a sense of normalcy and stability, which is very important for your cognitive health. Every decision that you make takes up a little bit of your energy and glucose, and you really don’t want to tire your brain out so early in the morning! Yes, deciding whether you should wear your hair up or down uses precious energy. It’s called decision fatigue, and it’s why people like former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes (the world’s youngest self-made woman billionaire - yes, with a B), and Mark Zuckerberg choose to wear the same thing every day.

productive-life-planner.jpg

Many things are going to need your mental energy today, and it’s good to let your brain work on autopilot for some things while you are still waking up, so that you can save your energy for the more important stuff.

It prepares you for success

Taking a few minutes in the morning to plan for the day will do wonders. It helps you focus on your goals for the day, and gets your mind ready to achieve your goals. Knowing what you are doing each day is very important as you will have a mission, rather than starting your day not quite sure what you have on your plate.

Remember what Roy Baumeister said? Your willpower is strongest in the morning. Use that.


Convinced that morning routines are important?

Good news, you can create your perfect goal-getting morning today.

To help you get started, I have a few tips:

  1. Incorporate something for your body, like having a healthy breakfast.
  2. Do something that makes you happy. I like browsing Instagram, hehe.
  3. Try not to rush. Waking up 5 minutes earlier can mean enjoying your cup of coffee in the morning, and not rushing out the door while chewing breakfast.

And as for my top tip?

Write down your current routine so you know exactly what you are doing, then plan out your ideal morning routine. You can write this down anywhere you like, but I’m a paper planner-lovin’ girl, and designed a Daily Routine planner in my Productive Life Kit for you.


9 Reasons Why You're Not Achieving Your Goals and How To Overcome Them

GoalsAlicia Grace6 Comments

You set goals, but for some reason, you fail to accomplish them each time. I know how frustrating this can be. In this post, I’ll share with you the exact reasons why, and actionable steps you can take to combat them.

 Learn the 9 reasons why your goals fail, and the actionable steps you can take to overcome them.

Problem #1: You don’t have a specific goal

‘Become my own boss’ or even ‘lose 10 lbs’ are not specific goals. The trouble with such a broad goal is that it’s hard to see it as something real. It becomes an ideal, not a goal per se.

Solution:

Your goals have to be SMART, ie. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Your goal to become your own boss should look something like this:

‘Build a business bringing in £5,000 in income each month within the next two years’.

This goal may not look pretty, but you can see the goal suddenly becoming more real. It’s Specific, Measurable (£5,000), Achievable, Relevant (the life goal being to be your own boss), and Time-Bound (two years).

You can (and should!) also break this down into smaller goals: ‘Brainstorm and come up with 5 business ideas this week’; ‘set up Instagram account, make first 5 posts, and get 100 followers in 2 weeks’.

Problem #2: You aren’t motivated enough

Motivation is a funny thing. Chances are you started your goal with a great deal of motivation, but somewhere along the way, the motivation faded away, as did your goal.

Solution:

Research shows that what successful people have in common is grit. If you want to achieve your goals, you have to stay motivated. This doesn’t come automatically: you have to work at it.

So, how do you keep your motivation high?

Constantly remind yourself of your goal. Write it down where you can see it daily. Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. We all face setbacks at times, and one roadblock is no reason to give up on your goal. Remember to get up and keep going.

Problem #3: You don’t know where you are

Imagine wanting to save £1,000 but never knowing how much you have already saved. At some stage, you’re probably going to forget about your goal simply because you can’t see your progress.

Solution:

Find a way to keep track of your progress. Remember the SMART method? This is the Measurable part. If you’re trying to gain 10,000 Instagram followers, for example, break that down into smaller 1,000 chunks, and write down how many followers you have each day or each week. This will also help you notice trends so that, for example, you know which days you’re most effective.

Set actionable goals

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Problem #4: You waste free time

This is one of the biggest mistakes people make. Proper time to relax is a good thing, but don’t mistake important relaxation time for extra time you can put towards your goals. Each minute is an opportunity to work towards your goal, and doing this means that you are missing out.

Solution:

Unless your goal is ‘go on a walk at 6am on Tuesday mornings’, you don’t have to keep it to any specific time. Definitely set aside time to specifically work on your goals, but if more opportunities come up during the week, seize them. Dinner cancelled? Maybe you can hit the gym, or brainstorm on new products.

Problem #5: You don’t write your goals down

Failing to write down your goals means that you have just missed out on one of the best and easiest ways to hold yourself accountable to your goals. I can’t say enough how important this is.

Solution:

WRITE IT DOWN. It has to be somewhere you see often, preferably daily.

goal-getter-planner-pack.jpg

Problem #6: You aren’t committed to your goals

This one’s a biggie guys. Remember what we said about motivation earlier? Well, commitment is even more important. It’s what keeps you going on days when you’re running low on motivation, because you’ve committed yourself to it. When you aren’t committed, it’s easy to let your goals slip.

Solution:

Take responsibilities of your goals. If you have failed in the past, own up to them, and think about what went wrong, and how you can overcome those same obstacles if they come up again.

Problem #7: You try to achieve too many goals

It’s good to have goals, but too many of them means that your focus is spread out too much, and you end up struggling to achieve a single one.

Solution:

Take stock of what’s on your plate already before you take on more. Try to focus on one big goal at a time.

Problem #8: You hang out with the wrong people

According to Tim Ferris, you are the sum of the five people you spend most time with. Choosing who you surround with is crucial to achieving your goals. If the people you hang out with discourage you from your dreams, or if they themselves don’t do anything about their own goals, you won’t be motivated to achieve your own either.

Solution:

Spend less time with negative people, and don’t let them get in your head.

Problem #9: You burn yourself out

The trouble with New Year’s Resolutions is that you tend to put all your effort into those first few days and weeks, then get burned out.

Solution:

Pace yourself. It’s just like training to run a marathon: you start out taking short runs, and stretch yourself slowly until eventually you hit that 10km.

There you have it,

the 8 reasons why you find it so hard to achieve your goals, and solutions to every single one of these problems.

Did you find this post useful? Send it to a friend to help them achieve their goals too.


Good Habits: Why Are They So Important?

Productivity, GoalsAlicia Grace4 Comments

You’ve heard of the saying, ‘you are what you eat’. Well, how about ‘you are what you do’?

Up to 40% of what we do each day is out of habit, from our morning routines to the last few things we do each night. Habits are useful because they save energy so we can focus on other things. You don’t think about brushing your teeth or whether you’re going to drink coffee tomorrow - you just do it. Habits, then, make us more productive. But what if your habits are not the most efficient way of doing things? What if you can get ready in the mornings in 30 minutes instead of 40? I know how important 10 minutes of sleep can be, and over the week, it adds up to more than an hour.

 Why exactly are good habits so important, and what do they have to do with achieving your goals?  [Blog post image: Why are good habits so important?]

You create a habit when you do something repeatedly, until eventually you start to do it without giving it a second thought. The thing is that your brain can’t tell a good habit from a bad habit - it’s up to you to break the cycle. Why is it so important to have good habits? Well, there are three simple reasons.

Good habits help you achieve your goals

Good habits will help you accomplish great things. They help you learn more, like when you read a little bit each day, and carve out more time in the day when your habits are productive.

Think about what habits will help you do this, and start implementing them, one by one.

Habits can keep you going

On days when your motivation is lacking, a good habit can be just what you need to keep going. Whether or not you’re feeling like exercising today, for example, a habit of going to the gym after work will see you through. It’s just like having a good work ethic: once you’ve created it, it becomes a part of you!

When I was in university, I kept a habit of studying in the evenings. No matter what mood I was in or how tired I was, I ended up doing just that, simply because I’ve made a habit of it.

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Habits help you unwind

I know I’ve been talking about productive habits, but sometimes, the habit of relaxing can help you in other areas of your life. If you have a habit of curling up on your couch (or, let’s face it, your bed) to watch Netflix on Monday nights, that’s good. It gives you something to look forward to, and you know that you have a dedicated relaxation time at the end of a long day.

Don’t miss my next blog post, because I’m going to tell you how to create a new habit.

Why You Don't Have to Set a Word for 2017

GoalsAlicia GraceComment
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Joy, grace, work hard, and limitless. These are some of the words I thought about making my ‘word of 2017’. I've seen the words others have chosen and thought long and hard.

But in the end, I decided that I’m not going to set a word for the year, and you don’t have to either.

Why?

Because it’s hard! No - I’m just kidding (though it’s pretty hard to pick just one!).

The reason you don’t have to set a word for 2017 is simply because there is no reason to limit yourself. Each time I try to pick a word, I realise that I’m going as wide as possible because if a single word is going to set the tone for my whole year, it better well cover every good and positive thing!

But when I thought about what I was doing, I realised that 2017 does not need to be defined. Each year is a fresh chapter to be filled with so many exciting and unexpected things, and there’s absolutely no reason to try to encapsulate all of the wonderful things that’s about to happen into just one word.

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That said, there’s nothing wrong in picking a word if it feels right to you. For me, it was ‘grace’ last year, which I loved and was truly and overarching theme in my whole year. This year, I’ve chosen not to pick a word because (even though I of course want grace this year and the years to come!) I feel that this year is personally one with many possibilities, and I just want the pages to be as open as possible.

Instead, I’ve decided on what I want to focus on this year, and I challenge you to do the same. For me, part of that includes my final university exams before I graduate (eeeek!), figuring out my next steps as I venture into the ‘real world’ (and here, my eeeek! becomes an aaahhh!), and listening to what God wants me to do with my future.

2017 can be anything you want. Plans change - even you change - and it’s hard to pick a word to define your entire year when so many things can happen in 12 months. As long as you know what your priorities are, I’d say that’s your word of the year covered

5 Reasons To Set Your Goals Today

Life Hacks, Productivity, GoalsAlicia GraceComment

With the new year just around the year, it's the best time to set your goals! And I know what you're thinking, because I've been there too, setting resolutions that are never accomplished. But goals are so much more than just New Year's resolutions; they are things you want to achieve that you are prepared to work for.

Why is it so important to create goals for yourself? Well...

1. Setting goals gives you a sense of direction

It’s one thing to hit the snooze button and wake up ten minutes late. It’s another to jump out of bed, ready to go. Which way do you want to go?

Having a goal gives you a purpose and a mission - all things that will help you wake up excited to start your day, and I don’t know about you, but that kind of energy makes me feel good.

Also, how many times have we sat down with an extra hour, and just browsed through social media? I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve done that more times I can count, but I’ll also shout that doing this wastes a lot of time. And wasting time = nope. With a goal in mind and an action plan in hand, you’re going to make the most of your hours, and still have time to relax at the end of the day.

2. Goals make the impossible possible

Setting a goal means recognising that your dream is achievable. That yes, it is difficult, but also yes, you can and you will do it.

A goal is something that you can focus on in the long-term. It is more than saying I want my dream job and going to work early for one week. It is deciding what exactly you want, forming a plan, and following through. That is how setting goals makes your dream a reality.

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3. Achieving your goal is fulfilling

There’s nothing like knowing you have accomplished something, whether it’s a big or small goal. It’s a feeling of satisfaction, and it’s a great motivating factor. It also gives you more confidence to pursue more goals in the future!

4. It’s an opportunity for self-reflection

Thinking about your goals in life really forces you to think about what you want. Whether it is really that dream job that you want, or the lifestyle that comes with it; whether you want to do 3,500 things a day, or spend more time with your loved ones (or both!).

This can give you a new view on life, and align what you do each day with your goals.

5. Goals make you accountable

Remember that New Year’s Resolution you made way back in January? If you’re one of those rare people who have stuck to all of them, congratulations! Most people, however, struggle to accomplish half of those resolutions. The main reason is that setting a list of goals once a year just because everyone else is doing it is simply not a great way to hold yourself accountable. And that is a very important factor in accomplishing your goals.

Taking the time to map them out and write down a plan helps a lot, as it makes you accountable to yourself, and helps you nail your goal.