Did you start the year, this quarter, or even this month off with the best intentions only to find yourself smack dab in a lull? Broad goals are easy to create, mapping out milestones and hitting them along the way can be a challenge, but sticking to a plan with the same intensity as the day you started can be a brutal fight. You still want it right? Then what happened? Where did you lose focus? We are going to delve into that, dissect some scenarios and come up with some strategies to get back on track. I know you can do it!
Just like we would research places to go, create an itinerary, and pack all the necessary tools for our journey, creating reachable goals takes a well thought out plan. Did you forget to investigate all the options, leave out a step along the way, or did you over or under pack for the trip? First, let’s walk through the steps for successful goal planning to make sure we haven’t missed anything. Then let’s explore where motivation comes from and how you can get more and sustain it longer. A time-release solution for motivation sounds perfect!
We also need to discuss the obvious snags to any good plan. Preparing for how you are going to handle the unforeseen is a critical strategy needed for success. Ready to party and celebrate? It’s a necessary element to motivation so we are going to talk about its benefits and how you can make sure you build in reward to keep you mentally hydrated along the way.
Where did this goal come from? Is this a long-term goal to get you further along in life or is it a short-term goal helping you obtain something you want or getting you over the hump? It’s important to remember where you started and why.
You should always have a goal. Setting goals helps trigger new behaviors, helps guides your focus and helps you sustain that momentum in life.
Communicating your goal to an accountability partner helps keep you accountable. I recently did just that. At the end of the brainstorming session my accountability partner said, is there anything I can do to help you and I said, “Now you know my plan, the reasons why, and my overall mission. Help me stay laser-focused on that. If you see me wavering or going in a different direction, gently remind me to look to my vantage point.”
It’s easy to get into weeds and go off on a tangent. I love to paint the picture of digging a ditch. If you are too tactical you will spend all your time in the ditch, digging and digging. Without a strategic approach, you can’t stay focused on where you’re going. Imagine the aerial view of that!
So how do you know if you set the right goal? Like picking the perfect destination for your journey, you might want to clarify a few things. Do you have a burning desire to uncover and execute your life’s purpose? Or is it more of getting to the next level in life, work, or health?
Here are a few questions I came up with to flush out before you put pen to paper.
1 - Why is this my goal? It’s important to soul-search this question a bit. If you are going to spend the time, do the research, and set up the plan, you might want to make sure this is what YOU truly want. It’s a great time to make sure the goal and the outcome associated with it are of importance to you and not something you’re doing to please someone else. The motivation to please will only take you so far.
2- Is the timing right? Laser-focus takes time and a serious commitment. Is this the right time for you to dedicate yourself to this goal? Is it something you want to do or have to do? What will you be giving up to make it happen? Are you willing to give it up? Be strategic, timing is everything and missing the mark won’t set yourself up for success.
3- Do I have support through the process? Clearing a path in your life to focus on your, your wants, needs, and desires may mean others have to take a back seat or pitch in with a little extra help. Do you have a good support system? Are you willing to ask for the help you need? Have you identified an accountability partner or two? Creating a successful plan means you do the homework to modify your current routine and remove any known obstacles ahead of time.
4 -What’s your timeframe? You need to be willing to push yourself. It’s ok to be realistic but not setting parameters around time means you aren’t taking the process very seriously. Losing weight, getting better at something, or making more money is way too broad. You need to be specific and time-bound to stay on track. What do you want, when do you want to complete it by, and what happens in between.
5- What happens if you don’t succeed? Failure is a part of life and even though you don’t want to start your journey with a negative spirit, you do need to be prepared with a Plan B. If you aren’t willing to accept that failure is an option then you could be caught with a devastating, dream-crushing blow that you can’t recover from. Having an alternate route means you don’t have to start over if things don’t go as planned. You can simply make the necessary adjustments and be on your way!
Sounds motivating and easy to do but is it? Failure can be a game-changer for some. If given the opportunity, it can solidify what you already knew; you aren’t good enough, you aren’t smart enough, you can’t win. Left untreated and failure can not only stop you in your tracks but it can prevent you from trying anything, you see risky, again. If you aren’t evolving and pushing yourself, then you are stuck; your growth stunted.
How can you objectively learn from your failures without taking them so personally? Personal yes, they are happening to you, but objectively so you can step outside of the situation and learn from the lesson that is being presented.
Where does your motivation come from? It might be easy to say money or success but let’s dig a little deeper. Could it be a sense of accomplishment, praise, or validation?
Has anyone told you that you could do it? That you matter and that your goals are important?
Before goals and the motivation to reach them comes encouragement. The inspiration that all of this is even possible. Encouragement is needed to connect and visualize something better. Its instilling courage, confidence, and hope. It’s essential for reaching any goal.
“Those who are lifting the world upward and onward are those who encourage more than criticize.” - Elizabeth Harrison
Just being told that someone believes in your ability to do something is motivating. I know YOU can do it! I believe in you! Your goals are important and you have the ability to reach them!
I think NIKE puts it best, Just DO it! Waiting around for motivation to come is like staying up to catch Santa, it will never happen. You can’t meditate motivation, you can’t wait it out, or touch your nose and watch it appear. You have to pick a goal that is important to you, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound and then just go for it!
The climate is never going to be perfect and someone isn’t going to knock on your door and hand it to you. You have to go out and get it.
Ready to party? Waiting until you reach your overall goal will mean you miss out on all the intrinsic benefits of hitting and celebrating milestones along the way. Want to party more often, then make your milestones closer together. It’s important to throw in a few easy to obtain ones to give yourself a nice boost with a few challenging ones to keep you accountable.
One of the main reasons celebrating is so important is because it reflects an overall attitude of gratitude and enjoying what we have, instead of focusing on what we don’t have or only on what we want in the future.
Goal setting is great and keeps you focused on shaping what’s to come but too much time in the future means you can’t enjoy the present. As with everything, it’s about creating a healthy balance. Creating celebrations around mini-milestones means you get to commemorate the now. Life moves at such a rapid speed that these built-in speed bumps can help you slow down and find gratitude. While you are there, you might have a chance to engage in other joyful activities that you would have missed on the Audobon of life.
Grab dinner with your accountability partner to share your good news. Schedule a day of luxury and pampering for yourself. Make a marker showing a successful win you can display in your office or your home. Mark it off the to-do list and doodle a happy face. Journal your excitement so when life’s moving fast and the road is bumpy, you can come back and visit your success for extra motivation.
You are in charge and you have the power to make it happen! Hopefully, these ideas will help you evaluate your plan to see where you need some additional attention or focus or maybe even a re-engineer of ideas. Either way, you are worth it and getting to your next milestone is just around the corner.
CHALLENGE: Pull in for a pit-stop to make sure your goals reflect your dreams, put in the work to engineer a successful plan, and enlist encouragement and accountability from those you trust to help push you through the lulls. You deserve it!
I Know YOU Can Do It!