Now that you’ve had a couple of weeks to recover from that “spring forward” hangover losing an hour of sleep, let’s take a minute to reassess where you’re at with the goals you set at the beginning of the year.
Spring is traditionally the time of new beginnings – think the first flowers peeking their heads out of the earth and birds building nests for their babies.
And if you live in a place that gets a real winter, you may be starting to feel more energized and less like a hibernating bear now that the days beginning to warm up.
All this new energy makes it a great time to take a look at your goals. Don’t fear if you’ve faltered, there’s still plenty of time to achieve them. Ready to rekindle the enthusiasm for your goals and actually make them happen? Here are five tips to get you there.
1. Revisit your intentions & set fewer goals
What were the themes of the resolutions or goals you set earlier in the year – Health and wellness? Career? Family? Re-evaluate those main themes and see which ones resonate the strongest with you. What really needs change now?
It’s been found that multitasking is really a myth – so if you’re trying to multitask bits and pieces of each goal, it may be that none of them are getting done. Try paring down your list and focus on just one or two. The rest can wait.
2. Reframe your thinking
Now that you have focused on the goals most important to you, take a look at the “why” that kept you from achieving them. The answers you give can provide valuable feedback. Did you bite off a project bigger than you could chew and you got overwhelmed? Are you making excuses such as “I don’t have time”?
How many of you have thought something along these lines: “I’d like to exercise regularly – but I just can’t because my workdays are too long … or my kids are too young … or I can’t afford a gym membership … or I’m too tired”? Believe me, I’m familiar with all these excuses because I’ve used them all at one time or another! And while I’m thinking them, in that very moment, they seem to make so much sense.
Do you see how these stumbling blocks are ones that you’ve put in place – maybe without realizing it?
The solution may lie in your “locus of control.” In personality psychology, locus of control defines how much people believe they are ultimately responsible for their own successes and failures. If your sense of what controls your life, your “locus of control,” lies within yourself, then you feel you have personal power over your life, meaning that your actions affect how your day goes. If your locus of control is off kilter, you may be blaming everything and everyone for your lack of success.
Evaluate what’s getting in your way then decide how you can reframe your thinking. Don’t be afraid to ask your tribe for help if you need to stay accountable to your new way of thinking.
3. Revisit SMART goals
SMART is a mnemonic device that lays out a simple formula to help you achieve your goals. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. SMART goals offer an easy way to make your goals manageable. No more feeling overwhelmed because now you’ve got a plan that you can execute.
Here’s an example from my own life: My dentist told me I had “average” gum health, but I’d read research that associated gum health with overall health (Relevant to my life), and I wanted to do better than “average.” So I systematized my goal of healthier gums by committing to flossing every single day (getting Specific with my goal). I told everyone that I was going to floss every day (Timely); and every day I checked off a simple yes or no (Measurable). The daily goal was so tiny – it takes about a minute to floss your teeth – that I didn’t feel discouraged every time I thought about doing it (Achievable). And the more yeses I could check off, the better I felt about myself. Those small, daily victories gave me momentum to keep going, so that now, years later, I still floss every day. Goal achieved!
4. Set yourself up for success
So you’ve just realized the goals you set a couple of months ago fell completely off your radar. Oops! This time, set yourself up for success by scheduling a regular review of your goals into your calendar. I call this creating “systems and frameworks.”
These are really usually tiny, doable goals that are easily measured, which makes for little successes that you can build from toward your ultimate goal. Imagine you are planning a big party for your child’s 5th birthday. You want to invite family and friends to your house and have all the traditional birthday party elements – games, balloons, presents and a birthday cake. Sure, it’s all doable – but you’ve got to fit in all the planning around working or school, and your time is minimal. If you put one task on your calendar each day, you have a much better chance of actually getting some sleep the night before the party.
When working on your goals, it may also help to get an accountability partner or a coach to help keep you on track. When we know someone is expecting results we often step up to accomplish them more easily.
5. Go for it!
What are you waiting for? Now’s the time to take your newly focused goals and start making progress – even if it feels like you’re going at a snail’s pace. I think there’s immense power in what I call the Slow Trudge. By just putting one foot in front of the other, again and again and again, doing the same boring things day in and day out, we can travel incredible distances and do amazing things that we didn’t even think possible.
Before you know it you will have mastered that challenge and moved on to the next step. Celebrate the little successes along the way, and, before you know it, your mission will be accomplished.
Your Best Day Ever is waiting for you!
Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash