Mid-January is a depressing time for a lot of folks. In the Northern climes, it's winter, it's bleak, it's a whole lotta meh. But add to that the fact that most people are already giving up on their goals for the year, and it's an even meh-ier time.
Yes. I just said "meh-ier".
Aside from the fact that the most common resolutions of 2018 are too vague and mostly worthless, there are a handful of other reasons why you're likely to bomb out again this year. Oh, if you're not a resolution maker (less than half of the U.S. population actually makes resolutions), this also applies to any goals, intentions, or commitments/re-commitments you might be making in your life or work.
In short, if you want to accomplish anything, these are likely the reasons why you've failed before, and will probably fail again. But take heart, these reasons are also relatively easy to fix, which will make attaining your goals SO much easier.
1. It's not your goal.
Think about the number of times Mom had to yell at you to make your bed or pick up your toys before you actually did it. If you're like most kids, a clean house isn't your goal. That's Mom's goal. You want to do anything but clean the house. And yet, like the old saw goes, "if Momma ain't happy, nobody's happy." So you make your bed and clean up your toys. But did you get to do what you wanted to do?
You were focused on someone else's goal. Sometimes, that's an important thing to do. I mean, if my kid is bleeding, all my priorities shift until he is no longer bleeding. My goal and his, in that moment, are the same... even if it wasn't the goal I had in mind at the time.
The problem comes when chasing someone else's goal becomes your way of life.
Here's how it looks: more times than not, you're not remotely focused on what you really want. You're too busy putting out fires or trying to keep someone else happy. There's no time left to consider taking care of what you want. So you just forget about it and stick with what's in your comfort zone. In short, you're no longer a priority (even for yourself).
Or worse, you're living in "the shoulds" - going after what someone else has told you should be your goal - or that you think should be your goal because of where you think you ought to be at this stage in your life/career.
This kind of subtle comparison-itis kills your dreams before you even start.
Instead, you need to get ultra clear on what really matters to you. That's why I created my Dreamblazing program. It helps you define success on your own terms. And The PEACE System helps you translate those priorities into daily action steps. Until you know where you're at and where you're headed, you'll have a hard time getting anywhere.
I've talked a LOT in the past about using ruthless honesty and dropping your judgement to get clarity on your situation. This year, I'm adding "speak your truth" to the mix. It's one thing to acknowledge your truth to yourself, but then you have to speak that truth and live it out in the things you do.
So many people want something, but so few people actually make the shifts required to have what they want because they're too worried about the rest of the world. Which brings me to the second reason you're failing...
2. Your goal can't thrive in your current environment.
Ever try to grow a plant from a seed? You need the right kind and amount of soil, nutrients, water, light, and climate control to get a seed to grow. And even then, sometimes you just get a bad seed and it won't sprout.
But once it sprouts you need to be vigilant. You need to monitor it, nurture it, care for it, or it's going to wither and die.
Goals are like that. If you start your day saying "I'm going to run a marathon!" and you have no suitable shoes, clothes, or training, you're screwed. Can you run a marathon that day? Maybe, but the odds are stacked against you.
On the other hand, if you prepare yourself - with proper training, attire, and the right environment in which to run, you'll have a much better chance of not just running that marathon, but finishing strong as well.
If you don't want to finish strong, why start at all? (Tweet this)
I can give you all kinds of tips to speed your progress toward you goals (I've written about it before), but if you don't set yourself up for success first, you'll have a much harder time completing what you start. The goal will feel more elusive, and you'll feel more stuck around what to do about it.
Let's get unstuck, shall we?
When you look at your goals, get clear (there's that word again!) on what needs to shift in order for you to attain that goal. Clarity is one of the 4 strengths every creative entrepreneur needs to succeed. Do you need to get up earlier? Stay up later? Sleep more? Ask for help? Be honest with yourself about what needs to change in your environment so that you can nurture this little seedling goal of yours! Then commit to those changes. If it feels like there are a LOT of things that need to shift, maybe you're setting the wrong goals. Maybe you need to right-size your expectations. Whatever the case, decide, then commit. And give yourself 90 days to really see it through.
Why 90 days? Statistically speaking, that's long enough to see real progress, but short enough to keep shiny object syndrome or boredom from catching hold. That's part of why I built Accountability Club (A-Club) around the concept of a 30-day goal system. So that you could start any month and run three 30-day cycles toward your dreams and goals. Which is also your clue into reason number 3...
3. If it's not scheduled, it's stressful.
Part of my personal environment is my planning calendar. I set it up so that it works for me. This year, I'm booking my co-working time with A-Club one week at a time. I have my clients book no more than a month out. I set up my calendar to work with my need for some level of flexibility. I'm a Fusion, after all, which means there are times when I need the rigid structure of a Linear, and times when I need more open space like a Chaotic. I can't have the same set schedule all the time.
I learned a long time ago that I needed to get over myself and take care of me the best way I can. It might sound a bit like overkill, but when I'm super busy, I put breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bathroom breaks into my calendar. Why? Because if I don't, something will happen and I'll get stressed out because I don't have time to pee. That's crazy talk. Besides, the only person peeking into my calendar is me, thankyouverymuch, and if that is what I need to do to stay on track with what matters to me, then that's what I'm gonna do.
If you're not scheduling time in your calendar to do the work that moves the needle on your goals, then you're less likely to actually DO anything that will move the needle on your goals. Make and keep appointments with yourself for the things that really matter to you. Take the time for your life. Don't wait around for the scraps.
Listen, I've got a friends who have crazy lives. A kid that's in and out of trouble. A significant other with severe health issues. THEY have health issues. A relationship on the rocks. Money troubles. You name it. But the priorities of their lives get time on their calendar. Time with the kids, time to work out, time to spend with their significant other. They make a point of prioritizing what really matters. Does it always go according to plan? Hell no. But that's not the point. Imagine how much crazier it would be if they didn't even try. like Eisenhower said "Plans are useless. Planning is everything." It's the act of making the plan, of identifying and committing to your real priorities that lights a fire inside you and helps you focus on getting them done.
Which brings me to today's final reason for failure:
4. You've made the "Strike zone" your goal.
Viggo Mortensen plays opposite Sandra Bullock in "28 Days" and there's this scene where his character, Eddie, explains the art of pitching. He tells Sandra's character that your focus needs to be on what you can control, not the strike zone.
Once the ball is out of your hands, there's nothing you can do. And if your focus is on your end result (the strike zone), then you've been putting your energy into what you can't control, instead of all the little things that make the difference in reaching the goal: the way you hold the ball, the way you stand on the mound, the way you pull back, release and follow through. Those are all things you have the ability to influence. Someone else is calling the pitches. All you can do is throw the ball to the best of your ability.
If you can choose, you often have some level of control or influence. THOSE things are where your real goal needs to be.
If you've got a goal of, say, losing 100 pounds, you can't directly effect that strike zone (unless you're going under the knife to cut 100 pounds off your body). But you can influence the direction the scale trends by focusing on the actions that get you closer to your strike zone. So make your goal to walk 3-5 times per week for 30 minutes or more. Or to drink 6-8 glasses of water. Or both. Whatever you know you need to to do move the needle in the direction of your strike zone.
In your business, if you've got an income goal, that's the strike zone, but it's the daily action steps that you take that get you closer to the goal. You can't directly control hitting a million dollars because someone else is involved in making that happen (probably several someones!). But you can control the offers you make, the audience to whom you speak, and the words you use to speak to them. Under normal circumstances, you can choose whether you are open or closed for business.
Set your goal(s) based on the action(s) you can control. Because then you can check off the boxes each week that say "I DID IT!" or not. You'll know whether you did all you could, even if you haven't hit the strike zone yet.
These are lessons I learned the hard way.
I focused on the strike zone for years! My ex-husband could regale you with tales of the lofty goals I set for myself that I never attained because all I could see was the strike zone and not the action steps that could get me there. But now, I pull out my growth plan every day and I know what I'm playing for. I know that when my clients pull out their growth plans, they're focused on the actions they can influence, versus a "Strike zone" that may or may not actually bring them any joy once they get there. See, that's the thing about goals. We often set them based on some ideal notion of how much better life will be once we get there. And maybe things will be better. Or maybe you'll change your mind mid-year because something better came along. But you don't know that until you start moving.
So start moving. And start accomplishing more of what really matters to you.
If you need help staying the course (and many people DO), consider joining us in A-Club. I'm looking to add no more than 5 new members this month. Why so few? Because intimacy and honesty are important in A-Club. We get vulnerable, and real. We share what's really important, which takes courage and trust. I take time to get to know every single member so that we can be a rising tide for one another. I take this community seriously and would rather watch it grow organically (and slowly) then cram it full of people who just want to pitch their wares to the other members. That's not how we roll. Once we hit 5 new members, we'll halt new enrollments until next quarter.
That's new this year. What else is new this year? I've added Dreamblazing and The PEACE System to the program. Simply put, all those pieces work together, so it didn't make sense to sell them separately. You create a plan, you implement the plan and prioritize daily actions, and then you check in with the group for support, celebration, and accountability. We've also got co-working times scattered throughout the week. Come and go as you please. What hasn't changed is our monthly training call. This month, I'm bringing in Becky Mollenkamp to talk about using LinkedIn to grow your base of Raving Fans. These training calls are still free to listen live as a way to "try before you buy" A-Club. Only members of A-Club get access to the recordings or the other benefits of the group. Want in to this month's training? Get on my mailing list, and you'll get all the details.