Happy New Year, my friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and took some time to do whatever it is that makes you happy! It took me a few days to get this holiday greeting to you because I have had BIG plans. Yep – big plans of doing nothing; nothing but relax, spend time with family and enjoy not having to get out of my pajamas until 3:00 p.m. (or at all!). But, of course, I had to return to the real world eventually, so yesterday I returned to work and today I am back on the blog here to bring all the positive energy I cultivated to you!
Now that we are at the start of a fresh, new year many of you may have been using this time to reflect on the previous year and look ahead to the rest of 2018. If that is you, then you’ve come to the right place; my Goal Digging Series is in full swing, here to help you cultivate heart-centered goals, draft a plan to make it happen and guide you through accomplishing your intentions. To learn more about creating goals that are meaningful to you, I’ve created a post, along with a free downloadable workbook, to help you here. Last week, we talked about how to get down to business and make those goals a reality. Today, I’m talking about what often happens to many of us as we set out to accomplish those goals, especially when it comes to New Year’s resolutions.
Does this sound familiar: You’ve done a lot of soul searching. You’ve thought about what excites you, what drives you and what lights your soul on fire. You’ve set your goals, planned it all out down to the detail, and scheduled a deadline. When you started out, you were excited at the prospect of what your future would look like once the goal was in your rear-view mirror. Then, life happened and suddenly the progress checks you had set for yourself weren’t happening as frequently and dates were getting shifted around while new items crept up in your calendar. Before long, your goal had been put on the back burner until things “settled down”, except things never seemed to settle down enough for you to get back on track.
I don’t know about you, but I can definitely relate to this. We, as human beings and especially women, are so busy! We do it all: we manage households, care for children, run businesses, keep workplaces afloat and all the while, our own plans and goals often fall by the wayside. It’s hard to get everything done!
As I was putting together this post, one sentiment that I heard very often was, “New Year Resolutions don’t work, so I don’t make any”. While it is true, that many people start the year with the best of intentions only to have abandoned their plans by early February, that doesn’t mean they don’t work. I hate to say it, but what isn’t working isn’t the resolution itself, it’s the plan behind it – that being that there usually isn’t a plan. My last post about drafting a plan and creating a timeline that will help you stay accountable to your plans is one step to helping these resolutions work, but what happens when you inevitably slip up or lose your way?
The hardest part in this situation is facing the fact that you’ve veered off track. It can be extremely discouraging, not to mention crushing to your confidence, to realize that those well-intended plans and goals were abandoned long along. It’s okay – it happens to the best of us. In fact, if you start your goal journey with a clear understanding that this is a strong possibility, you will be better able to handle it when it happens. Just know this – you are not a failure. You are not defined by your ability to accomplish your goal in the exact timeframe or style you initially set. What matters more is that you are willing to make modifications as needed and get back on track instead of letting it defeat you.
So, the next time you find yourself falling behind on your goals, keep these tips in mind:
No Negative Self-Talk
First of all, resist the temptation to be hard on yourself. You’re only human and you’re allowed to lead an imperfect life (who wants boring perfection all the time, anyway?). Acknowledge and move on. Don’t spend time lingering on it. It’s done, we can’t change it and there is no use dwelling on it! What we can do, however, is take action to get back on track.
I know it sounds obvious, but the only way you are going to get back on track is if you decide to get started again. There is a wonderful quote by Passion Planner creator, Angelia Trinidad: “It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to start”. I love this so much. When you’ve recognized that you’ve lost your way on the path to your goal, don’t put it off any longer; decide to get back at it today.
Evaluate the why
Sure, you can pick your plan back up and try another round at it, but it is likely that unless you uncover why you weren’t able to see your original plan through, you’re likely to repeat the same steps all over again. Has anything in your life changed that has caused your initial plan and timeline to no longer serve you? Are there any unexpected tasks or events that have popped up? Are there any habits in your life that you are devoting too much time to? This will take some inner reflection, but it’s important to unearth what has been preventing you from following your plan. Is it your motivation, your will-power, or your faith in yourself? Is it your time-management or prioritizing skills? Whatever it is, take a good long look at it before you carry on.
Adjust your timeline
Taking everything new and old into consideration, make any adjustments to your timeline that need to be made. That could be extending the deadline, pushing check-points back a few weeks or condensing smaller steps into the remaining time you have left for time-sensitive goals.
Add in strategies to help your progress
Try setting aside specific blocks of time to work on your goal. Write it into your day planner or a monthly calendar and be specific about the day, time and place you will work on your goal. Get specific about what you will do each day; have mini-goals in mind to complete along the way.
Whatever is it that gets in your way – TV, cell phones, Internet access – get rid of them while you are working on your goal. If you are sitting down to write 10 pages of new writing for your novel, leave your cell phone in the other room, and set a scene that will help you focus on your task. Tell your partner that you are unavailable during this time. Leave the house, if necessary. The important thing is to create an environment where you can forget about everything else in your life and just focus on your work.
The most important thing to remember is that it is okay to get distracted or busy and not be able to devote the time you initially planned to work on your goals. That’s life, my friends, and there will always be some things that need to come first. So take care of whatever it is you need to take care of, but don’t forget to come back to your goal when you’re able to. Carving out time to do something for yourself, like working on a goal that is important to you, is one of the best things you can do for yourself and others. I’ve said it here before: You can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t be the best version of yourself if you aren’t fulfilling your purpose. So get out there and make those goals happen. And if you get stuck, no sweat – you’re goal will be there waiting for you to return.