Coach: “What’s your plan for reaching your goals this year, Jess?”
*insert shoulder shrug emoji*
If you’re like me, you likely enjoy creating a plan much more than you do executing it. Creating a plan is sexy, it’s immediately emotionally satisfying (because it feels like you are solving a problem), and typically involves little to no failure (it’s kinda hard to fail when you haven’t acted on anything yet).
PSA: If you have downloaded approximately 14.7 billion apps on your phone, in hopes that this *NEW* app is going to finally help you accomplish your goals…then you, my friend, are more emotionally attached to strategy than you are to success.
But there is hope for us all. Just keep reading. However, instead of telling you about the newest and best app available to help you dial in your success this year, let’s talk about how to make “strategy” a stepping stone instead of a stumbling block to the success you want to achieve in 2018:
- Define what Drives You.
You’ve gotta be able to clearly and confidently say what you want to achieve this year. And unless you’re superhuman, research suggests that you’ve only got room for about three of these major achievements. One great way to figure out what drives you (if you’re unsure) is to take an inventory of what you spend your time doing. Bonus: you might realize that you’re spending more time on activities that distract you from your goals than on the ones that help you achieve them. Make a note to create time and space boundaries for those distracting activities so that they don’t chew away at this year’s opportunities for success! (Example: If you like to “unwind” with a mindless activity, be sure to set limitations on time, i.e., 30 or 60 mins, and space, i.e., only in the bed after I’ve completed x,y, and z.). With these limitations in place, you can easily assess if and/or when you are derailing yourself from your goals.
- Draw Out a Timeline.
How long do you expect it to take for you to accomplish your goal? If it’s more than a year away, you’d be wise to set some smaller checkpoints for yourself between now and the finish line. Most people have several areas of change that must occur in order to reach that one goal – if so, be sure to write down all those areas and appropriate actionable steps and associated time frames for each of them. Remember the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant?” (One bite at at time.) I’d also be willing to bet that some parts of the elephant are a little tastier than others. So, working one bite at a time on a few different areas together might just be a more appetizing plan of attack.
- Dig Deep…into Your Pockets.
Are you prepared to commit all of your resources toward your goals? Most people are 100% emotionally invested but unprepared to make the financial and/or time commitments necessary to hire a coach, complete assignments, work late, wake up early, and sacrifice good opportunities for their goals. Additionally, take a quick inventory of how much money and/or resources you’ve invested in the past year into the first 2-4 weeks of goal planning/strategy vs. the long-range investment of success. If you are one of those who tends to dump more money on the front-end of a project (*raises hand*), then you’ll want to use caution and maybe a few phone-a-friend lifelines before your next big front-end investment.
- Drawbacks: Are They Worth It?
“With great power, comes great responsibility…” says Voltaire, and Sachin Prabhu echoes similarly, “Great success requires greater sacrifice.” The ability to set goals and achieve them IS a great power, one that doesn’t simply “happen.” The sacrifices and responsibilities that are required in order to achieve your goals will develop mental toughness and grit. This process doesn’t always go hand in hand with making others happy, and you can be sure that you will meet some personal growth opportunities along the path of success. If you were gifted National Championship tickets at the last minute, but going to the game meant you missed two training sessions…which would you choose? If you committed to keeping your diet perfect for 7 days, but got an invitation to a birthday dinner with your closest friends, to what lengths would you go to keep your commitment? These are some of the questions you might consider when you prepare yourself for success.
- Don’t Get Caught Up in the Momentary Feels
You’re going to be excited when you’ve finally developed your goals and plans – as you should be! Many people fail to plan, and for this reason…you’ve heard it said a thousand times…they plan to fail. Be proud of yourself for taking the step that many don’t…just please don’t stop there! Your strongest emotions should always be tied to the feelings you expect to have when you cross that finish line. Once you know what you want to achieve, spend a few moments simply allowing the feelings of success to settle into your heart and mind. For every day between now and the day you accomplish your goal, remind yourself that success casts a huge shadow on the momentary feelings, and just…keep…swimming!