Staying Focused | goals DIY

by - Tuesday, February 20, 2018

As February is coming to a close, you might be evaluating the progress you've made on your new years resolutions and goals for 2018. I know how busy everyone is, especially college students, and it can be easy to get distracted and forget about your long term goals.

I've found that it's super helpful to have a visual reminder of your goals in a place where you'll see it everyday. I made this #goals sign (that sometimes doubles as a to-do list) to keep me motivated and I've found that pulling off the sticky note for a goal is super rewarding and gives me a sense of accomplishment – which makes me want to work hard so I can take more items off my list!

You can make your own #goals list, too, in less than ten minutes! You'll only need two scraps of paper and sticky notes. I used my Cricut to cut the #GOALS letters out of a piece of black cardstock and then used a glue stick to attach the letters to a rectangular half sheet of patterned cardstock. Pro tip: If your letters are intentionally not straight, you don't have to worry about them being crooked!

I found that page-marker sticky notes were the perfect size for attaching my goals. Cutting full size sticky notes in halves or in thirds would also work perfectly. Store your sticky notes and a pen nearby so that you can add or adjust goals as needed. Hopefully one day, within the next few years, I'll be able to remove my goal of having 900 Twitter followers and, the next day, I'll replace it with a sticky note that says 901 Twitter followers. Kidding, but my Twitter following grows as slow as molasses, so it's not entirely unreasonable.

I've noticed that setting goals can sometimes be difficult because it's so tempting to say "I have a goal to eat healthier" or "I have a goal to blog consistently." While it's easy to set goals like that, it's extremely hard to keep track of those goals and truly measure your progress. Considering this, I have some things that I try to keep in mind while setting goals to keep them within the SMART guidelines — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.

   ⌲  Goals are short term and long term. I can accomplish some of my goals within the day, some within the week, and some within the month. Each goal is important and something I want to have on my mind so that I can make progress towards accomplishing it. Don't discount any of your goals.

   ⌲  Set clear, specific goals. Avoid general intentions. Instead of setting the goal "eat healthier" as we mentioned before, set a goal to drink 8 glasses of water every day this week. Set a goal to eat one fruit or vegetable with each meal this week. Break big goals down into small goals that you can measure. Otherwise, you may not make any progress because you don't know where to start.

   ⌲  Turn big goals into small steps. I just mentioned this in the point above, but it's important to emphasize. It can be discouraging to see a big goal that takes a significant amount of time to accomplish. Set goals that help you make progress toward reaching your ultimate goal each day. Be reasonable with your expectations and plan ahead with your end goal always in sight.

   ⌲  Do something each day that brings you closer to reaching your goal. One of my longer term goals is to reread the Twilight saga. Each day I make progress towards accomplishing that goal by reading at least one chapter. It doesn't have to be a huge commitment, but if your goals are always in mind, you'll remember to make an effort.

   ⌲  Display your goals in a place that you'll see them every day. Use a magnet to put your goals on the refrigerator, pin them to your cork board, washi tape them to your wall, stick them on your mirror. Seeing them in writing makes them a reality and keeps them fresh in your mind.

Ultimately, I think that featuring your goals in a visual display will help you focus on the tasks you truly want to accomplish. It's okay to add lots of goals and it's okay to have goals spanning multiple areas of your life. It's important to note which goals have been sticking around longer than others and consider the things you can change to make those goals a reality.

What are your tips for staying focused on your goals?

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