A new job. The start of the school year. Another year older. The promise of warmer weather. A new year. We have no shortage of opportunities for self-reflection, fresh starts and setting goals.
You set well intentioned goals (you might have even bought a nice new shiny notebook to write them in), and you not only haven’t begun working on them, you haven’t looked at them since. Or maybe worse, you started on them and have already given up or in your eyes, failed. What now? Should you just continue the rest of the year without any goals? Should you start over? Should you dust yourself off and get back on the horse and try again?
Assessing Your Goals
Before you do any of the above, let’s first start with looking at the goals you set out for yourself. Ask yourself these questions:
- How do the goals make me feel? – Do they make you feel like you are wearing a bunch of shackles or do they make you feel uplifted and excited?
- Are they realistic with their timelines? – For example, trying to become a Doctor in 9 months is completely unrealistic and set-up for failure.
- Are they fresh goals or old ones you have carried with you from the past? – Often we attach ourselves to certain goals and if we haven’t achieved them we keep going back to them. Do they still even make sense? Take stock as to where you are with your life and see if they make sense to keep.
Goals and Feelings
When it comes to goals, I’d say if you want to succeed with them, you must first find a good feeling and attach it to them. For example, many of us say we want to change jobs because we don’t like what we are doing or we want to make more money or we hate our boss. To get us to actually take action and look for another job, a few things need to happen first:
- The pain of not doing anything outweighs you doing something. In other words, you hate your job so much (the pain) it forces you to look elsewhere.
- Someone else forces your hand. i.e. you get fired from your current role.
- The want of not having makes you take action. You begin to visualize all the things you could do with the extra money you could earn and that makes you take action. Or you see how wonderful you would feel if you were to walk into a new office and work for someone else. That gets you moving on to next steps.
So, when it comes to achieving our goals we need to first take stock at what we have identified as a goal, why we’ve selected that as a goal and be sure it’s an achievement we actually want rather than one we think we should have. In marketing terms it’s sometimes referred to as ‘keep, toss or tweak’.