While it’s easy to set a goal — like losing 20 pounds, finishing school or earning financial freedom — it can be difficult to get started. We’ve identified 6 strategies that can take your dream and turn it into reality. Apply these strategies to your goals (yes, it’ll take some time and work), and we’re confident that a year from now you’ll be able to check off whatever dream you had in mind! 

First, identify your ‘why’

Your ‘why’ is everything. It fuels you on days you don’t want to get out of bed to workout, or when the drive-thru line looks much easier than the kitchen. Before you develop any kind of plan, you must first identify your ‘why.’ Ask yourself questions like, ‘what will my life look like when I achieve this goal?’ ‘How will I feel when I accomplish this thing?’ ‘How will meeting this goal benefit me in the long run?’ Once your ‘why’ is established, then you’ll feel much more committed to meeting your goal. 

Make sure your goals are actually achievable

Instead of focusing on one large goal like losing 100 pounds, break up your goal into smaller goals so you can experience more small ‘wins.’For example, iIf your goal is to be able to run a half marathon in the New Year, but you can’t run 1 mile yet, then first focus on being able to run without stopping for 5 minutes. Then, progress from there. Make sure these small goals are achievable so you can build momentum throughout your journey. 

Develop a plan

Get the paper and pen out and PLAN! Write down the small goals you’d like to achieve for every week. These can be as simple as ‘set up a meeting with an expert’ or ‘clean out the pantry of any foods that don’t align with my new lifestyle.’ Make small checklists each day with items you know you can cross off. Don’t overwhelm yourself, but do make sure you’re doing something each day (whether big or small) that gets you a little closer to where you want to be. 

Set a timeline

Know when you want to achieve your goal by. For example, if you want to be debt-free by the end of the year, then make sure you have a timeline that keeps you ‘in check’ throughout the whole year. Know how much money you need to save each week or each month in order to meet your goal. When you set a timeline, you set an intention. You allow yourself to ‘see the finish line’ and more clearly visualize how you will reach your goal. 

Allow for setbacks

Be gentle with yourself and acknowledge that setbacks will likely happen. Even if something goes awry, have the courage to dust off the disappointment and get back in the game. After all, even the pro’s experience setbacks, injuries and disappointments. Even when things don’t go as planned (and trust us, they won’t), find strength within yourself to stand back up again. Pull out that sheet of paper where you wrote down your ‘why’ and rediscover why you started this journey in the first place. 

Track, track, track!

Even if it’s just a small note every day, make sure you’re tracking your progress along the way. This will allow you to identify what’s working, what’s not working and — most importantly — allow you to see the small victories along the way. Track your progress on an old-school calendar, in a notebook or on your phone. Whatever you have to do stay the course!