the blog

How to [actually] Accomplish your Goals

January 1, 2020

Setting goals is one thing… How to actually ACCOMPLISH your goals is a WHOLE OTHER THING.

How to Actually Accomplish Goals | Free Business Tips & Marketing for Photographers | Ariel Dilworth

One time I wanted to be a missionary. Live a life of singleness and travel the world serving and helping others. I use to want to be a stay-at-home mom and have 30 babies. I’ve wanted to be a CEO of some big company. I actually worked towards becoming a therapist for a children’s oncology hospital. I use to dream of becoming a psychologist and helping people grow. I’ve always wanted to change the world! Whether it was owning my own business. Being an actress, a speaker, a preacher, a teacher…. I wanted to do something big.

I’ve always been a dreamer. I’ve had a million good ideas and had a hard time choosing which one to bring to life. I would finally decide on a dream and then I would hustle, bringing this dream to life! But it would always fail. I either wouldn’t finish or I would get so far and become bored and realize I didn’t if know if this was something I actually wanted in the first place.

I’ve been this way from the time I was little (ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading, veterinarian, stay-at-home mom, business woman, actress, singer, preacher, etc.). And frankly, I’m still this way now (photography, videography, podcast, writer, speaker, influencer, etc.)

So I sat down to figure out why sometimes I could finish things and sometimes I couldn’t, here’s what I found.

Dreams and Goals are Not the Same Thing!

In order to accomplish your goals… they must first be REAL goals.

The reason some of my former attempts were total crash and burns was because they were dreams, NOT goals! Dave Ramsey says that goals are “visions and dreams with work clothes on.” Dreams are when we have an exciting vision. An idea that lights our soul on fire. But setting goals is when we actually take a dream or idea and make it actionable. We sit down and actually figure out what steps are required to make it happen.

For Example:

dreams vs goals | how to actually accomplish your goals | business tips and marketing tips for photographers | Ariel Dilworth Co.

So, as I learned to turn my dreams into goals I’ve learned how to turn hustle into actually productive hustle. I’ve worked with purpose and accomplished the things that I set out to do. And Now I’m going to help you do the same thing!

Step 1: Classify your goal

What category does your goal fall under:

  • career goal,
  • financial goal,
  • spiritual,
  • physical,
  • intellectual,
  • family,
  • social

Odds are… as you look at these you’ll notice 2-3 areas that you’re really good as well as a couple of areas that you almost HATE. For example… I am REALLY good at the career area, the financial area, and the spiritual/intellectual area…. but frankly… I am not naturally good at the social area. I tend to put friendships and relationships in general on the back burner. Which means I have terrible work life balance. So if good work/life balance is what i’m after… then the next step is to turn it into an actual goal. Because, again, these are not actual goals:

So now we’re going to take your dream or desire and turn it into an actual goal by using the S.M.A.R.T. method.

Step 2: Be S.M.A.R.T.

S.M.A.R.T. is a method developed by George Doran for us to accomplish our goals. Each letter stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. So if my vision, dream, or idea is to have better work life balance… we are now going to make it a real goal….

(1) Specific-

  • I’m not going to just say, “I want to have better work life balance.” I’m going to be more specific about how exactly I want this to look and what it’s going to take to accomplish it.
  • So I might say, I’m going to be done working at 5 pm every single day and I’m going to take 2 days off of work and 4 evenings off of work to have family time. Then, i’m going to go as far as planning out what days (Sunday & Wednesday = day off…. Evenings off = Monday, Thursday, Friday). I’m going to intentionally hang out with friends once a month.

(2) Measurable-

  • How will you know when your goal is achieved? Obviously, with something like weight loss, it’s easily measurable. But continuing the example above, if my goal is to have better work/life balance? How am I going to measure something like that? Make sure you sit down and figure out how exactly you are going to keep tabs on this goal and how you know when you’ve met it.
  • So for me, I might have my husband and I do a monthly meeting on how he feels that I am doing. I also will be able to record how many of my scheduled days off I actually took “off.”

(3) Attainable-

  • The truth is… some goals just aren’t realistic. For example, I might say that I want to work out for 90 minutes every single day. But with my current schedule of working two full time jobs and having 3 toddlers and a hubby. That goal isn’t attainable RIGHT NOW. I want to make sure that I’m making goals that are realistic and not just setting me up for failure. So instead of saying I want to work out 90 minutes every single day. I might say that I want to use my 3 evenings off per week and work out for 90 minutes.

4.) Relevant-

  • Is your goal relevant to your overall life goal? Think with me for a sec… At the end of your life, what do you want to remembered for? Does this goal contribute to that? Make sure you find the why behind your goal and it’s true relevance otherwise you won’t have the drive to keep going when things get tough. Which they inevitably will because by definition goals are challenging.

5.) Timely-

  • The last thing I do is set up a time frame for which I want to achieve this goal by. I make sure to give myself grace, allow for mistakes and mishaps and also allow time for a learning curve if I’m learning something new. Make sure you take into account your current life situation and schedule before deciding on what time frame you can accomplish this in.
  • Side note: as humans in general… we always compare our goals and the time we accomplish them to those around us and I just want to encourage you NOT to do this. No two situations are the same, no two personalities are the same, no two circumstances are the same. It’s impossible to compare apples to oranges so lets not! 😉

Step 3: Mindset

Here’s the deal… Goals are hard. They are. They challenge us sometimes physically, mentally, spiritually, intellectually, & emotionally. That’s because when we are working towards a goal… WE ARE WORKING AT SOMETHING WE SUCK AT! But really… the reason I have to set a goal about work life balance is because I SUCK at work life balance.

And when we do things that we suck at…. it’s REALLY hard to keep going when things get tough (which they always do). But here’s the deal… growth is painful, but what’s even MORE painful is never growing at all. Forcing ourselves to grow provides us with clarity about who we are and what we want, it sharpens the things we are already good at, it makes us live more intentionally, it provides greater satisfaction, it provides healing, confidence and endurance.

Step 4: Accountability

Growth and learning should always take place in the context of community. Make sure you tell someone and let them walk in this journey with you. First, we all perform better when we feel like people are watching. Second, they will give us honest feedback (push us or empathize with us when we need it). Which brings me to the person you pick.

When selecting an accountability partner, make sure the person you pick is someone you will listen to and respect. Someone who is understanding but who also knows how to push you and challenge you when you need it. Also, ensure that it’s someone that you are able to take criticism from. For example, if you are someone who in general takes things more personally or is easily offended. Maybe don’t ask you husband or your best friend to be your accountability partner. 😉

Step 5: Celebrate

With every mini milestone that you make… CELEBRATE! Make a post on Facebook or Instagram, put a dollar in a jar that you get to spend when you meet your goal, do something to reward yourself since goals sometimes take a long time to achieve and delayed gratification is rough!

Alright! Happy 2020 folks! Let me know your goals in the comments!

P.S. If you don’t follow me on Instagram… get your booty over there and follow @arieldilworthco now! Every Tuesday I’m releasing a brand new video talking about all things business and marketing JUST FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS! Check out last weeks below!

Website and Branding by South & Palm

Ariel Dilworth © 2019