There’s always something we can learn from successful women, whether it’s their weekend routines or what to invest in. In the first month of the year, it’s all about setting and smashing goals, and where better to get your motivation and inspiration for that than from the women who do it daily (and make it look easy!).
Have you started off the year with a goal that you want to start taking seriously? Or maybe you’ve been working on it but need a little push to keep the motivation going. Everyone from Michelle Obama to Jen Atkin has a strategy for setting and smashing their goals, and with their strategies, you’ll get a kick of motivation and some expert tips for making those goals a reality.
1. Michelle Obama
Strategy: Think outside the box
In her book, Becoming, Michelle talks about her past and how she became successful. She had her own goals when she was younger, and a checklist to tick off. “In the book, I take you on the journey of who that little striving star-getter became, which is what a lot of hard-driving kids become: a box checker,” she says. “Get good grades: check. Apply to the best schools, get into Princeton: check.” She had a list of goals, and she achieved them, because she felt she had to. “I wasn’t a swerver. I wasn’t somebody that was going to take risks,” she says.
“I narrowed myself to being this thing I thought I should be. It took loss—losses in my life that made me think, ‘Have you ever stopped to think about who you wanted to be?'” To achieve her goals, she first had to step outside the box she’d put herself in. Now, Michelle sets herself goals that are based on the person she wants to be and works solidly to hit them, instead of focusing on what she thinks she society would want from her. Use a planner like the Getting Stuff Done planner to make a plan for your goals and make sure that you’re planning for change.
2. Taraji P. Henson
Strategy: Ignore the opinions
Taraji moved to California with $700 in her pocket and her toddler to follow her goals. Everyone around her told her she couldn’t do it, she was twenty-six years old and the path wasn’t clear. Everything that happened to her in her life, there were always opinions on it, and if she listened to it she would never have pushed forward and become who she is today. Her goals seemed crazy, people didn’t understand what she was trying to do or why. Even now with her goals and dreams, there are opinions. But the only thing that matters is that you want it, and you’re going to go for it.
She told Goalscast, “What if I believed those people who told me that when I became pregnant in college that I wouldn’t finish? I walked across that stage with my son on my hip and I collected my degree. My diploma…It all starts with you. You’re the temple and you have control. You’re in a bad situation? It’s up to you to get out of it. You can’t give another human the responsibility of your happiness.”
3. Jen Atkin
Jen Atkin’s brand, OUAI is known for being one of the coolest new hair brands on the block. She works with trendsetters like the Kardashians, Chrissy Teigen, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, but she didn’t always start there. She was washing hair in a kitchen, hoping for a big break, trying to get out of debt. Now she rubs shoulders with the Hollywood elite and her own brand is growing massively.
So how did she set and smash her goals and become where she’s at now? “I was taught to set goals and achieve them, to multi-task, to push myself.” From an early age, Jen knew that she had to set smart goals, multi-task to achieve them, and learn to prioritize.
4. Aimee Song
Strategy: Take it seriously
Aimee Song didn’t become one of the biggest bloggers and influencers overnight. She started off in interior design and decided to focus solely on blogging and build a business out of it. She never treated it like a little side hobby, instead, she took her goals really seriously.
“Having [the blog] as a passion project helped me leverage it in a way where I was a little bit more authentic because I didn’t have to take on jobs I didn’t want to or didn’t speak to me or my brand or who I was. My audience trusted my expertise and they knew I wouldn’t sacrifice my integrity for a quick paycheck.” It’s important that you don’t compromise your values on your journey to smashing your goals and take it seriously from day one.
5. Meghan Markle
Strategy: Accept yourself
Meghan Markle became a Duchess, her wedding and subsequent pregnancy have been scrutinized by the media, with them calling her everything from difficult to ‘a bad boss’. But she doesn’t let it get ahead of her, she’s staying true to herself. She’s still trying to empower women, supporting her friends at fashion events, and even donning a baseball cap to do pilates and visit Whole Foods in London. If you want to improve yourself, you need to first accept yourself. Your goals should come from a place of acceptance and building yourself into the best version of you, not from trying to change yourself.
“That five pounds lost won’t make you happier, that more makeup won’t make you prettier, that the now iconic saying from Jerry Maguire — ‘You complete me’ — frankly, isn’t true. You are complete with or without a partner. You are enough just as you are.”
6. Alexa Von Tobel
Strategy: Automate your decisions
Alexa Von Tobel is the founder and CEO of LearnVest, she spends a lot of time being busy and getting stuff done. But in order to focus on the goals that really matter, she needs to spend less time focusing on the things that don’t matter.
“My ultimate goal is to create operating systems for myself that allow me to think as little as possible about the silly decisions you can make all day long–like what to eat or where we should meet–so I can focus on making real decisions. Because mental energy is a finite quantity. You can only spend so much time on the really critical decisions that move your company forward.” By trying to limit the number of small decisions she has to make every day, she has more time for the big ones and can really focus on her big goals.
7. Leomie Anderson
Strategy: Analyze your progress
Leomie Anderson is a model with big dreams, she’s also a social activist and entrepreneur. She told Grazia that she started the year with huge goals, and every time something stood in her way that stopped her from achieving it, she felt awful and started crying. She had a mental block on how she was actually going to realize her goals until she analyzed her progress.
“When I sat down started to analyze everything that I had achieved this year I started to realise that I am a lot further than I originally thought so one of the things that I really want everyone to think about is the small wins.” Make sure to analyze your progress and see how far you’ve come, you can write this in your Getting Stuff Done planner to keep track of it.
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