Goals. Who doesn’t have them? If you think you’re among those who don’t, think again.

Goals could be small and easy. Isn’t waking up at a specific time a goal?

On the other hand, goals could be difficult to achieve—they may require so much time, effort and grit.

Have you mastered how to reach your goals already?

I don’t know about you, but to me, goal-setting should be done fairly for both small and big goals—there should be a balance. Needless to say, our goals are important in their own ways. But whether a goal is easy or hard, it must contribute to that sort of balance.

For example, you have a big project—with big goals—going on. The project’s so important to you that you forget an “easy” goal, which is to rest. You work hard for the project you even take it home. You work on it on Sundays. You think you’re okay doing all that, but you feel like you’re already burning out. Your enthusiasm when you started the project now seems to fade away. You feel tired, stressed and fatigued, more than ever.

Balance.

We have big goals in life. The problem is how we can carry on and reach them every day, despite limited resources—time and energy.

I made this list of 28 do’s and don’ts on how to reach your goals.

Starting off with the don’ts, let’s begin!

How to Reach Your Goals: The Don’ts

1. Don’t go it alone.

Telling people about your goals, endeavors or achievements can make you more accountable. Don’t think you’re just being boastful when you do it. Studies show that sharing your goals with others can help you accomplish those goals.

2. Don’t fight every battle.

Obstacles will arise, but you don’t have to tackle them all at once. Some won’t even be worth your time at all. Be alert, and focus on what matters—you only have a few hours a day.

3. Don’t turn your competitors into enemies.

Competition is healthy in most cases. It could mean that the market is healthy, or you simply have the opportunity to grow—competition is opportunity. And in some cases, collaborating with your competition could actually be for the best.

4. Don’t be too specific.

Too much of anything could mean trouble.

Being specific is good advice. But if you’re already too specific with an undertaking, you might miss out on the other aspects of it; being too specific could hurt you.

5. Don’t overthink.

Overthinking can paralyze. It seems contagious, too. You overthink the important parts of your work, and you’ll tend to also overthink those that are not. Overthinking can compromise priorities.

6. Don’t set too many and too challenging goals.

Set realistic expectations. There’s no point in setting “impossible” goals—impossible because you simply don’t have enough resources, or you’re not ready—yet.

The solution? Set small goals, and accomplish them—one at a time.

7. Don’t let yourself get caught in busywork!

Busywork often disguises itself as progress. Regularly check your tasks list so you’ll be reminded of your priorities. Often a lot of tasks would seem equally important, making it hard to stick with the original plan—beware of that!

8. Don’t hold yourself back.

You could make excuses at the snap of a finger—making excuses is so easy. These excuses could disguise themselves, too. They could only pin you down in your comfort zone, or amplify fear of failure.

Stop making excuses and get those fears out of your head. Take risks, they’re worth it.

9. Don’t wait for permission.

Think about it: Who ever must approve of you reaching your own goals?

That’s right, it’s only you.

A lot of successful people were once called strange, crazy or delusional. Go for your goals, your dreams—whether people think you’re genius or nuts.

10. Don’t block your inner voice.

A study suggests that telling yourself simple things like “It’s alright, you can do it!” can help you keep going, and weaken your impulse to stop when matters become more difficult.

11. Don’t procrastinate—always.

The Zeigarnik Effect and a study by Kenneth McGraw tell us that a simple way to beat procrastination is to just start, for we’ll more likely remember things about a task—and finish that task—when it’s already in progress.

There are positive effects of procrastination, too. Just be cautious, though. Procrastination can take its toll, especially when it comes to your goals.

12. Don’t think that change is impossible.

Changing your habits could be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Arm your willpower with action, deal with ruthless triggers (for bad habits), and persist.

13. Don’t fantasize.

Research shows that fantasizing in goal-setting can get expectations out of proportion, which can keep focus away from the things that should get done.

Practice mindfulness, instead. Be guided by your goals, but don’t run away from difficulties—face them. Mindfulness is fantasy’s adversary.

14. Don’t over-motivate yourself.

Research shows that when you’re over-motivated, dopamine floods a certain portion of the brain, affecting mental focus.

Motivation is great, but strike a balance between getting motivated and moving on, taking action.

How to Reach Your Goals: The Do’s

1. Do write them down.

If writing down goals, especially long-term goals, seems troublesome to you, start with goals you have to accomplish tomorrow. Write the three most important tasks, for tomorrow, and stick to them. If any, you should at least realize that writing them down could actually be powerful.

2. Do focus on one task at a time.

Don’t make your life more difficult when you’re already faced with a difficult task. And don’t waste time if you can finish easy tasks right away.

3. Do celebrate accomplishments.

Be proud of yourself for all the progress you’re going to make. Progress is already a small success itself—it takes you closer and closer to your ultimate success—sometimes, even more than you realize.

4. Do know about the “What-the-Hell Effect.”

“What-the-Hell Effect” happens when one doesn’t hold on to self-control, and more importantly, when one misses a goal.

This is the most popular illustration: Someone who’s on a diet eats out in a restaurant with his friends, who are not on a diet. Having “exceeded his calorie limit,” he feels that he’s already broken his vow to stay on diet, and eats more “forbidden” food anyway.

“I already screwed up. It’s all the same. I’ll just eat more … What the hell!”

This effect can manifest in almost all situations, wherein you could keep doing something which actually keeps you from reaching your goals.

5. Do find that “place.”

There’s at least one place you can recharge your energy, happiness and creativity—find it. It could be nature, a cafe or a playground. When you feel you need to reflect, wind up or even contemplate how to reach your goals, find yourself once again in that place.

6. Do act like a leader.

Lead yourself, to put it succinctly. Learn the qualities of a leader, before taking opportunities to actually lead others.

7. Do stay optimistic.

Let go of all the negative self-talk that has developed through the years. If you grew up a negative person, it’s not your fault—negativity is everywhere.

Being negative can paralyze you; being positive and optimistic allows you to think clearly and act efficiently.

8. Do research your goals.

Prepare. Choosing the wrong goals could be painful and could make you regret over the long haul. That’s why you have to decide what goals suit you, what goals you really like, and what goals would fulfill your purpose in life.

9. Do review your progress.

You could be caught in so many responsibilities you might only be overwhelmed and might sidetrack from your plans.

On the other hand, check what seem to reinforce your strengths, and what strategies work, so you can further improve them.

10. Do ask for feedback.

Feedback is an opportunity for you to discover, through others, things about yourself that you can’t discover just by yourself.

Ask a trusted colleague or friend. But I’d say one of the best people to get feedback from is a mentor.

11. Do go to sleep. (Just go to sleep.)

Staying up late for work? Are you going to be productive during that time?

Just go to bed, even if you don’t want to. You can continue whatever it is you’re doing in the morning, with a much better mental state.

If you’re caught in a late-night grind, it might be time to change some patterns in your routine.

12. Do make time.

Besides proper time management, I’m saying this for your goals.

Your goals bring you closer to your dreams in life. To make your goals happen, you must make time for them. After all, you want them.

13. Do know when to stop.

I don’t mean giving up on your goals if nothing seems to be happening.

That’s why a Plan B must be made if Plan A doesn’t work. That’s why nine and one is also ten, not only five and five.

There are different ways, different attacks, of reaching a goal. Find what works best for you.

14. Do believe in yourself.

You are unique. Even if you’ve been living all your life with a group of people who share your interests and views, you’ll have goals that only you want for yourself.

You’ll need support from time to time. At the end of it all, though, you’ll have to be strong and have to believe in yourself.

Think About It

Imagine—for a moment—finally living your dreams. Imagine the fulfillment you’d have upon reaching your goals. All that would be great, sure, but the truth is, reaching your goals could be tough, it could take a really long time.

Take note of these do’s and don’ts on how to reach your goals, even if times become tough. Reach them—go for them—but make sure that you remain healthy, sane and happy all the way!

Speak Your Mind

What one “do” and one “don’t” are you working on at the moment? How are you doing with your goals so far? Share them in the comments below!

Share this if you found this helpful!