We are about to begin arguably the best time of the year, the fall! This means cooler temperatures, the kids are back in school, and the holidays are right around the corner. Wow, where has 2017 gone?
A friend recently shared how much she loves this time of year, explaining that children returning to school reminds her of the feeling of having a clean slate. A new school year meant a new teacher and an opportunity to start over.
If you’re like many of us, you created a list of New Year’s resolutions or goals for the year back in January. With all of the good intentions of a fresh year, you were most likely ambitious or thought you’d have more (fill in the blank: time, money, energy…) to accomplish those goals.
If you are still struggling to accomplish your goals or haven’t yet started on them, then keep reading.
It’s not productive to spend any time beating yourself up about how you “should” be further along. Instead, let’s rethink the goals. Take each of your objectives and walk through the following process to make sure it is aligned with where you’d like to be headed.
Step 1: Find the purpose of your goal
Connect to the heart of your goal, meaning the real purpose behind it. If you haven’t started on the goal (or given it any real time or energy) is it really the right goal for you right now?
Was this goal created for you or by you?
Does it serve you? What is important about reaching this goal? How important is it? Is this the right time? Do you need to accomplish something else first?
Some goals are amazing endeavors, but if you are not ready yet, then maybe there is another goal that needs to be reached first.
If you still believe this is the right goal for you right now, then…
Step 2: Identify what is dominating your time and energy
You need to acknowledge your hurdles before moving forward. What other priorities or goals are taking precedence? Are these more important to you than your primary goal or are they distractions?
Do you need to reorder your priorities?
Write down all the excuses or things that you believe get in the way of achieving your primary goal. Now identify which of these are priorities in your life and which are simply distractions.
Put your priorities in order by importance by comparing each one to all of the others.
Now that you have your priorities ranked, ask yourself if this is how you have your resources (energy and time) allocated.
What adjustments to your resources or goals do you need to make?
Step 3: Be clear on what success looks and feels like
Establishing clear benchmarks is critical. How will you know when you’re successful in your goal? Is there a clear success or failure determination?
Have you visualized what success looks like? Do you know what success will feel like?
Take some time to really see it clearly and then write it down.
Is your current goal the right first step?
Step 4: Know your first step
All too often we set a goal, but we don’t know the process for reaching that goal. This is where the real work is, in researching the process and steps to success and then establishing a plan.
Do you know the daily or weekly habit that needs to be created in order to achieve your bigger goal? What is the smallest habit you could break your goal down into? Find a small habit to build upon and just focus on that habit before adding on additional habits.
Example: If my goal is writing a book, I might be overwhelmed by the enormity of the project. But if I break that down to a habit and first worked on my practice of writing each day, even if for just 15 minutes each day, then progress would be made over a period of time. With the established habit of writing each day, I could write a book, maybe more than one, over time. The hard part is consistency and building the habit.
What is the first small step towards that new habit?
What support do you need to build on that new habit? How will you make yourself accountable?
Step 5: Recalibrate for success
Plan for your success by creating time buffers, e.g. giving yourself more time than you think achieving your goal will actually take. If you get derailed, try to refocus on your habit without judging yourself harshly.
If you were to recalibrate for success, what is your new ETA (Estimated Time to Achieve) for your goal? Be kind to yourself and realistic in acknowledging all of the unexpected things that come up in life.
What are you ready to commit to right now?
Do you need help aligning your goals with who you really are? Do you need help creating a plan and accountability? If so, I’m here for you.