How to set goals and increase your chances of reaching them

Updated: Mar 27

Goals give our lives direction and wings to fly with. Or like Lawrence J. Peter puts it: "If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else."

To set goals is to set the course of where we are heading and how fast. But carving out a goal is far from enough, studies from University of Scranton reveal that only 8% of people who set goals achieve them.

Which is quite sad... - but there`s hope! According to research by American Society of Training and Development 4 simple addons to your goals, increase your chances of reaching them to 65%. These simple steps are:

1. Make sure it's measurable. If your goal can`t be measured it can't be reached. Remember that becoming better is not a goal. Find a way to measure your progress in meters, dollars, repetitions, units, weight, percentage, rounds, score etc.

2. Set a date for when the goal should be achieved. This is a very important little tweak that will increase you chances by 10%. Who does not want that?

3. Find your strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly. Use strengths in you favor, work on your weaknesses, make a plan for when and how to do it. This is utterly important cause like it`s said failing to plan is planning to fail.

4. Tell others about your goal. Keeping your goal a secret is tempting, but not wise. It`s found that when you have done the previous steps, telling others about your goal increases your chances of reaching it from 50 to 65%

But what about the remaining 35%?

The remaining part is to stick to the damn plan and work on ourselves. New goals require us become new versions of ourselves. When acquiring something we never had before we need to become someone we have never been before. Which is easier said than done. A tip can be to take a look at our thoughts and words. Cause our thoughts become our beliefs, which become our words, which become our values, which again become our actions and in the end our destiny (Mahatma Gandhi).

To become new versions of ourselves we must be mindful of what we think and say. Use positive words, not shitty ones, and have no excuses. Just as our thoughts become our destiny, results only come to those who don`t make excuses. When given the choice between excuses and results, we can only chose one or the other. I know what I`m going for!

But we shall not be too hard on ourselves either, one slip doesn`t mean the goal is out of reach. A great way to stay motivated is to slice the goal into smaller parts and celebrate mini achievements along the way. To focus on the end result is actually demotivating, cause it's so far away. Whereas acknowledging and celebrating small and significant steps towards the goal keeps our motivation and spirits up.

That's why it's wise to do a happy dance, bake a cake or do something we enjoy to mark small but important achievements on our path to the main goal. This will also spark the reward circuitry of our brains and give a feeling of pride and joy, which is crucial for keeping on.

The framework above is the exact recipe I used when preparing for Mongol Derby, the world's longest and toughest horse race. If I hadn`t worked on my fitness, balance and navigating skills, plus been mindful of how I think and talk about hings - I`d probably end up in Siberia with broken bones, not on the finish line drinking Airag and dancing with nomads.

Since then I have used this formula every year. In 2020, the year many claims to be a shitty year, I reached 4 out of 5 goals. Which in my mind makes 2020 a great year, because achieving goals brings our lives further ahead in the direction we want it to go.

These days I`m carving out the aims for 2021 and maybe you are too? On this evenings live Q&A with Ride Like a Viking Members goal setting will be a topic we dive deeper into. Cause this formula can be used with anything we want progress with in life, even horse training.

I hope this blog will help you reach your goals and that you are ready to make this year rock too✨

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