When you set your S.M.A.R.T. goal, you likely imagined what it will feel like once you succeed. That excitement and motivation rolls right into planning and research. Preparing for your journey is one of the most invigorating parts of the process. Unfortunately, it can also be an area where we can spend too much time, energy, and money. Let’s break down those resources, how to appropriately use them to set ourselves up for success, and what happens when we don’t.
The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is now.
The time you spend researching and preparing (“I’ll start as soon as the Ultra Useful Product 9000 arrives from Amazon in a few days!”) can very quickly turn into excuses that keep you farther from your goal. In fact, when you know a change is impending, you’re more likely to do the very things you intend to stop (“If I’m planning to save money by ordering out less, I better take advantage and order delivery while I can!”) Don’t give yourself the wiggle room to work against yourself. Start now so you either have more time to, or sooner, meet your goal.
Where focus goes, energy goes.
Energy is not an infinite resource. We sleep daily, consume caffeine, and usually make or break plans around our energy levels. We only have so much energy to give toward a certain project before it’s depleted and we begin weighing our options of what else we want or need to do. Don’t waste valuable energy focusing too much on the easy, less impactful part of your journey – save that burst of energy from your excitement to actually get started!
Don’t underestimate yourself; you can multitask research and planning while you actively make changes to work toward your goal.
Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.
Buying tools, toys, and trinkets can be motivating and fun. I’m especially guilty of this, buying new running shoes to motivate myself at the start of setting a running goal; buying a cookbook for a diet change; buying a notebook to keep a journal when I haven’t kept one for years. While what you buy may be 100% (or as a close friend of mine would say, 200%) useful and relevant to achieving your goal, in most cases it is not necessary.
Work with what you have. Get over the hump of starting to make positive changes: make measurable progress, and reward yourself with that helpful item. Doing this allows the initial motivation of setting your goal to kickstart your journey, and subsequently acts as a “turbo” button to create additional motivation from the reward to keep momentum going when you find yourself struggling.
What do you find has helped or hurt you in the process of achieving your goals?