Coach Dawn guides you through a mid-year check-in session to assess where you are with your goals
From what I can tell, the life cycle of a goal often goes something like this:
- January – reflect on the past year, set goals for the new year; think about and act on the goal often, if not daily
- February – think about and act on the goal less often, maybe weekly
- March – realize progress on the goal is not going as planned, start putting goal on the back burner
- April – August – forget about goal
- September – realize there are only four months left before the end of the year. Think about goal a little more; put effort into reviving goal
- October – November – Forget about goal
- December – feel bad about not achieving goal; start thinking about next year’s goal
Does this sound familiar? Not only is this approach to goal setting ineffective, it is harmful. Think about the impact this approach has on your confidence and self-esteem. Over time you start to lose trust in yourself. Eventually it can get to a point where you don’t even believe yourself when you set goals.
Have you ever heard the expression “life is a journey” or “life is a marathon?” These expressions are trying to disrupt your thinking around life, around goals. If you thought of life as a marathon, would you even set annual goals? Probably not. You’d probably set a two to five year goal with monthly or annual benchmarks along the way. Instead, most of us get stuck in that annual goal cycle and end up having very few gains year after year.
As July approaches and you start to settle into the “forget about goals” part of the cycle, I encourage you to focus on your journey and shift your thinking.
- Journeys have ups and downs. It’s easy and even normal to get a little discouraged with perceived failures and setbacks, but if you’re focused on the journey you can remind yourself that journeys have ups and downs. The key is to remember that a “down” does not mean game over. I often hear people talking about starting over. They ate a piece of cake so they have to start their diet over. They had a round of retail therapy so now they have to start their budgeting process over again. They didn’t promote their business the past couple of days so they have to start marketing again. A lapse, mistake or failure does not erase the progress you’ve made up to that point. Think about it. Let’s say you’re taking a road trip from Massachusetts to Florida and you get a flat tire in New Jersey. You wouldn’t, “this trip is a failure. I have to start all over again.” You’ve already driven the miles; they weren’t erased because you got a flat tire. You’d just call Triple A or fix the tire yourself and keep going. So, make the necessary adjustments and keep going on your life’s journey and your goals. Exercise: Take a moment to reflect on your journey this year so far. What wins have you had? What about pit stops, obstacles and challenges? What else would you like to accomplish this year? Should you give yourself more time?
- Journeys are about learning and growth. It’s pretty hard to come out of a journey unchanged. Every up, every down, every setback, every success, has the potential to stretch and grow you in some way. If you’ve heard me talk about John Maxwell’s “15 Invaluable Laws of Growth,” you’ve heard me say that growth doesn’t just happen. You have to actively pursue your growth. When different situations arise, ask yourself what you can learn. The only way to cross the gap between where you are now and where you’re going is to grow. Commit to growing into the person you’ll need to be in order to achieve the goals you set. Exercise: What can you learn to make your journey easier? What lessons can you glean from your setbacks? What can you learn from the people you’ve met along the way?
- Journeys require supplies. It’s doubtful that you would start that road trip from MA to FL without clothes, medications and money for gas, food, and tolls, and all of the other supplies you’d need for the trip. Approach your journey and your goals the same way. Give yourself your best chance at success by making sure you have the right supplies and materials.Exercise: What supplies do you need to achieve your goals? Who do you know that can help you? Do you need a coach or mentor? Do you need to take a class to build more skills? Is there a group you can join with like-minded people and a support network? What resources are available in your community that would be helpful to you?
I recently had the pleasure of talking with world famous coach and mentor, Lisa Nichols about her journey and new book “Abundance Now.” Here’s how she explained abundance: “Abundance is more than where you live, how you live, what’s in your bank account, and the title on your business card. Abundance is a mindset.” Mindset is everything. You need the right mindset to be successful on your journey and to see it through to the end. Be sure to check out our July cover story to read the rest of my interview with Lisa. To get help on your journey, sign up for a free strategy session here.