Every December do you start thinking about the next year? I do. I am a lover of all things goals, vision boards and planning. This is prime time for me to start thinking about what I want from my life in the coming year.
After a decade of setting goals and making vision boards, I want to share with you what led to results and what kept me spinning in circles.
Here are the top 3 changes I made to my goal setting strategies that delivered great results.
1. Don’t set goals. Solve problems.
We have been taught over and over and over again that goals should be measurable, have deadlines and all these systems on how to set them properly. I did it for YEARS. And I missed a ton of the goals I set.
True change happened in my life when I focused less on the “goal” and more on the problem that needed to be solved.
Most people are more motivated to solve a problem than meet a goal. So if there is something you want to achieve, rather than focusing on the finish line, focus on why the finish line even matters.
Since health goals tend to dominate New Year resolutions, let’s start with that example. Traditionally, the goals you hear about are number of pounds lost or a new pants size. And how many people give up by February? A lot.
Restructuring this goal for me looked like replacing the pound goal with solving the problem of why I was always so tired.
Just tackling the problem of needing more energy led to more sleep, drinking more water and replacing foods that made me tired with foods that fueled my body. By default, I lost weight.
Can you restructure a goal you were planning to set into a problem you need to solve?
2. Focus on the habits
I highly recommend as you map out the problems you seek to solve, look for a habit that is connected to that area. True life change happens when we change something we do every day.
Instead of focusing on the large goal, focus on the daily habit that will lead to that success.
For example, we “dabbled” in the Dave Ramsey get-out-of-debt philosophy for six years and kept gaining, not losing debt. We simply could not deal with tracking cash. I know the cash envelopes work for other people, but we could never use them successfully. Three months into using the app EveryDollar we were making financial progress. It syncs with your checking account and any other accounts you want to link. Every transaction, you can drag and drop into a budget line item.
We set a daily goal that we would track our transactions in the app. This simple daily habit kept us tied closely to our budget and helped motivate us into wiser decisions. It inspired us to find ways to enhance our income. By a year in, we had eliminated a ton of financial stress. By three years in, we were debt free (minus the house).
The big goal wasn’t what got us the results, it was the daily habit of making tiny steps in the right direction.
3. An abundance of love and grace
I chose to include this one because my journey completely changed when I fully grasped grace. Goals involve growth. Growth is messy. It requires getting out of your comfort zone and being awkward.
I think one of the mistakes we often make is that we expect it to be easy to achieve our goals. The reality is…it’s most likely going to be two steps forward and one step back. A constant volley between encouragement and discouragement. When the discouragement hits, many people label it a failure and give up. Once you realize it’s just part of the process, you can keep going.
To keep going we have to shower ourselves in grace and love. We have to understand when we make mistakes, we are just human. We have to realize that done is better than perfect. We have to remind ourselves we are worthy, capable and strong.
I feel confident in saying you can accomplish anything you set your mind to achieving. My recommendation is to translate it into a problem to solve, focus on the daily habits that will get you there and to be filled with grace and love for yourself along the way.
2021 is coming. You got this.
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