By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO & Co-Founder, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University
At the start of a new year, anniversary or new venture our thoughts turn to setting goals for the future. Yet, surveys show, most of us won’t accomplish them. In fact, many resolutions and goals never last past the first month. Before we know it, we fall back on our old ways.
If they are so meaningful to us at the time, why don’t we accomplish our goals? Let’s look at some of the top reasons and some strategies to help overcome them:
1. We set too many goals. Why do we do this? We get all excited about the possibility of a different way of living or working and want to make some significant changes, but we don’t have a realistic expectation about how long things will take. So, when you set those goals for yourself, limit yourself to the ones that will make the most important difference, and be sure to include a time estimate for each of the goals to be completed. Realistically, you can only do one thing at a time. Focus is the key to success.
- Set 1 – 3 goals per month at the most
- Estimate time to be completed
- Set an end date for completion
2. We fight our own subconscious belief systems. We may not believe we’re worthy of the success that reaching that goal will mean. If your internal beliefs aren’t in sync with the goals that you’ve set, you’ll self-sabotage and then feel even worse that you didn’t accomplish your goals. When you set goals, identify the beliefs you must hold to achieve those goals.
- Evaluate whether your real true core belief about yourself is aligned with the beliefs you must have to accomplish those goals. You have to be a better person to accomplish better and bigger goals.
- Identify what steps you must take to change your beliefs that you are worthy of those goals and release those negative beliefs.
- Define what it would mean emotionally to you to accomplish those goals. Would you feel confident and proud?
3. We don’t write down the steps and resources we need to achieve those goals. Just writing down a goal without the steps almost ensures that we are writing down a dream and not a goal.
- Write one goal per page in a Goal Journal
- Write the step required right before you achieve that goal
- Keep working backwards until you have the first step identified
- Immediately put those steps on your calendar based on your time estimates and end date
- For each step, identify the resources (fiscal, personal, and timewise) you will need to accomplish that step
- Focus on achieving the steps rather than the end result
- Celebrate your accomplishments frequently
- Action creates results.
4. We’re not accountable to others or to ourselves. It’s easy to let ourselves not follow through. We’re too busy, too tired, too frustrated—too willing to give ourselves a pass.
- Identify your excuses and exorcise them. You either have excuses or results. Which one do you choose?
- Get into a mastermind group and make it a requirement that every week you set accountability targets, and you at least get a friendly kick if you don’t get the task done.
- Remind yourself that if you don’t hold yourself accountable, you’ll get less accomplished.
- Don’t make a goal or promise to yourself unless you’re willing to keep it.
- Use your Goal Journal as your conscience. You can’t check that box until you’ve completed that task.
5. We set goals that don’t mean anything to us personally. If you’re doing something to please others, because you “ought to,” or because “it’s good for you,” you’re likely to disappoint yourself.
- Only set goals that you are committed to do because they are meaningful and fit with your personal values. If they don’t fit your personal values, then don’t commit to them.
- Setting a goal to lose weight because we want to be more attractive to our mate or prospective partner won’t keep us on task. Do it for yourself because you want to feel healthy, sexy and attractive.
6. We don’t stop bad behaviors quickly enough, and we resist change. If your goals are financial or health-related and you’re not on track to achieve your target, consider the consequences of not making changes. Avoiding the problems won’t make them go away. If you can overcome your own resistance to change, fears and concerns, you’ll be even stronger as a person and as a business owner. The true test of your resourcefulness and determination is when you start to waiver. You have to will yourself past that point and trust that the future will be better.
- Take whatever steps you can right now to address the problem.
- Begin to integrate small changes gradually and incrementally; accomplish one before introducing another.
- Be realistic about how much effort it will take to change and how long. Don’t expect a big success suddenly or all at once. Change is cumulative and it isn’t easy. It’s easier to continue with the same discomfort than it is to change.
- Celebrate small accomplishments; brush off slight setbacks.
7. We don’t have time and resource contingencies built in. Life happens, and when we don’t account for the fact that we get colds or the flu, or others need our help with something, or we need an extra cushion in case of emergencies, then we get frustrated and give up on a goal because we didn’t allow for that time or resource.
- Allow twice as long to accomplish your goal and twice as much money.
- Determine your Plan B or Plan C just in case. If you don’t get 6 new clients, what will you do? How will you achieve your revenue goals?
- Set up reserves in your business to help you cover shortfalls.
- Think about additional resources you can draw on to meet your adjusted goals when you’re not on track to achieve them on time and within the budget you set.
8. We don’t remind ourselves about our goals often enough. How much is enough?
- Create a collage with pictures of how you’ll feel when you achieve your goal and what it looks like.
- If you’re shooting for a dollar goal for your business, create a picture or add color to the graphics of the dollar figure, and add that to your collage. Include pictures of your family so you connect the earning of the money with what it will do for your family and for yourself.
- Include pictures of the rewards. Will you give yourself a day at the spa or a massage? We think in images and persuade ourselves with stories, so use pictures to motivate yourself and connect with the emotions you’ll feel when you achieve what you desire.
- Look at these pictures and reminders every day. Include them in your Goal Journal (that you’re going out to buy today, right?) so you can see what it is you want to achieve and can measure your progress.
- You can also scan in a collage of goal achievement pictures and use it as a screen-saver on your computer as a constant reminder of what you are working for.
9. Don’t look at a goal as a heavy burden. Focus on the opportunity. Reward accomplishments. Yes, there is truth to saying “no pain, no gain.” But it is also true that success is sweet. Enjoy it!
- Take a break, have coffee with a friend, go to the museum for a few hours, take a walk, put extra earnings in a separate fund to purchase a small reward like a great picture frame or massage.
- Write down what you’re grateful for in your Goal Journal and do it frequently. That in itself is a great reward for small accomplishments.
- A long journey begins with the first step. Take it.
- Every new step is the first step on the rest of your journey. Savor it. Half the glory of accomplishing your goal is making the journey.
10. We feel like a failure if we have setbacks along the way, and it can tempt us to give up. Don’t confuse obstacles with failure. Stay focused on the result, not the means.
- When setbacks arise, take a detour.
- Each setback is feedback. We need to take in what we experienced and think about what we learned from it. It’s not a reflection of our character, just a bit of obstruction in the road we hadn’t anticipated. Analyze the situation rather than judge yourself.
- Be your own best teacher. We all learn more from our mistakes than from our successes. Discover the root cause of your setbacks, and how you can avoid the same challenge in the future so you don’t repeat the mistakes.
- Use your Goal Journal to record your setbacks so you can figure out how you can overcome them.
- Remind yourself you don’t have to be perfect to succeed. You are worthy of great accomplishments and recognition for who you are.
If you don’t have a Goal Journal, go purchase a blank journal or notebook at an office supply or book store. Refer to it every day. It’s the best method I’ve found for turning goals into realities.
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