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Friday, June 14, 2013

A "No Excuses" Guide to Achieving your Goals

Goals are fun to make. They open a world of possibilities as to what your life could be because we tend to dream big. And that’s great.
But what happens when those dreams, our goals, are smothered by time, financial or other constraints?
Or when those goals seem just too big to ever accomplish?
How do we keep moving in spite of seemingly insurmountable odds?
Approach it like any other project…chunk it.

As a middle school English teacher, I help students break papers and projects into steps, chunks, so that the final product is less daunting and more achievable. Often times, students see final projects as too difficult. Their “affective filter” is high and their belief in their inability to succeed results in exactly that. As their teacher and coach, I help them chunk the assignment out and make each task an attainable step in the process.
Stephen Krashen, in his theory of second language acquisition, hypothesizes that students have a number of “affective variables” that contribute to their ability to learn a second language. Variables, such as anxiety, motivation and self confidence can help or hinder one’s probability of success.
The same can be said for other goals. When we get overwhelmed by the task of whatever goal we set for ourselves, it becomes easier to dismiss it as impossible, rather than push through. Our affective filter becomes a wall that blocks our road to success. 

The benefit we have, as adults, is that we can recognize when our filter are in place and, with work, visualize the hand holds in the wall that allow us to scale it and put ourselves back on track.

The first step is recognizing those variables. Do you see the goal as too big? Chunk it. Break the goal into smaller, manageable, measurable steps. As you achieve each step, reward yourself. Your confidence builds and you continue on your way.
Do you doubt your ability to achieve your goal? Why? What is it about the goal that makes it unreachable? If it’s unreachable, why is it a goal? If it’s truly unreachable, then aren’t you setting yourself up for failure? I may never run a marathon, but maybe I can run a half. And if a half isn’t realistic right now, a 10k certainly is. Everyone starts somewhere. Find the beginning point of your own goal and build from there.
Are financial constraints standing in your way? A round-the-world trip may not be realistic for you at this point in your life but, you can start small. Getting away for a week, even a long weekend, can do wonders for the psyche. Start somewhere. Anywhere.
For nearly every goal you want to achieve, there are others who have paved the way. Do your research. There are mentors everywhere, online and in real life. And most of them are happy to share their stories and offer their own tips for success. Sift through the advice. See what works for you and discard the rest.
Want to travel? Check out travel blogs that offer tips on everything from debt reduction to packing lists. Create a vision board on Pinterest and start the ball rolling.
Want to lose weight? Check out weight loss and fitness blogs for inspiration and healthy or clean eating blogs for go-to recipes to add to your repertoire. The information is there for you…go get it.
A no-excuses approach is a tough line to draw, but in many cases, it is what it is. No excuses.
You have one life and it’s always too short.
Find those handholds in your wall and haul your ass over it. Your life depends on it.


  1. Just found your blog!
    Now following!!
    Looking forward to keeping up and getting to know you :)

    I also have a blog design site, if you need a custom blog design check it out :)


    1. Hi Christina! Thanks for the follow. I am also one of your newest followers. I am also a Gemini and a teacher. :-) I'm thrilled that you're here.

  2. What an encouraging post! And you know what, I set really BIG goals and just realized why they never seem out of reach to me is a break them up into chunks. Fascinating concept! Never realized until just now that's what I did.

    1. Hi Fawn, it's like the joke, how do you eat an bite at a time. My mom is the best for reminding me of chunking. I help my students do it, but sometimes I forget to do it myself. Nevertheless, achieving goals makes it all worthwhile. Thanks for the feedback! :-)

  3. Love this! I'm guilty of letting the 'snowball effect' get the best of me when i'm very overwhelmed. Everything piles up and it makes it difficult to find a starting point. It's easy to forget to push through and break it up! Have to remember this.

    Found you from northeast bloggers :)

    1. Hi Amie, thanks so much for stopping by. I love the Northeast Bloggers's such a great way to meet new people and find great blogs to read. I hope you like what you see and come back again soon. Thanks again.

  4. Fantastic! I always try to use this analogy myself but find it very difficult to stick to; must try to hold on to the positive thoughts :)

    1. Hello Lucy Victoria...what a great name! I'm one of your newest followers on Bloglovin'. Thank you for the feedback. :-) I'm thrilled that you're here. Congratulations on finishing up your degree. I recently finished up with one myself, so I can appreciate the work involved. Please come visit often.

  5. hi. I'm an English teacher too! I enjoyed reading your blog! :)