Each year on January 1st, many people set new goals, make resolutions and decide to change.
Whether those changes are big or small, personal or professional, the new year sets the stage to hit refresh and focus on improving our work and our lives.
The challenge is that while most people want to make changes, few actually stick with them.
According to an article on Insideoutmastery.com reviewing stats on New Year’s resolutions…
“43% of all people expect to fail before February, and almost one out of four quit within the first week of setting their New Year’s resolution. Most people quit before the end of January, and only 9% see their resolutions through until succession.”
Only 9%...wow :(.
If you’ve already given up on your goals this year, you’re struggling to reach them or the energy you had on Jan 1st is waning, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Sticking with your resolutions, making consistent change over time and literally transforming your work and your life is not easy. I know this because I’ve supported others in doing it for many years now…and I’ve struggled with it myself (still do).
So while reading this won’t magically make you reach your goals, here are three tips that, if you practice them, will certainly help.
Celebrate the process
I often use the phrase “celebrate the process, not just the result”.
This is about the importance of paying attention to and giving yourself credit for every single bit of progress you make as you pursue your goals, not just when you reach them…and it makes all the difference when it comes to staying motivated.
A big part of what I do as a coach is help clients shift their focus to notice what they’ve done, not just what they need to do. What amazes me is that they often want to skip by this part…barely taking credit for the positive steps they’ve made. So I’ll ask them to pause, recognize their progress and sometimes, give me a (real or virtual) high-five too ;).
When you celebrate the process of reaching your goals, you keep up momentum by tracking your growth activity. Plus you add fuel energetically because the more you focus on what’s going well, the more good things will start to happen.
If you pay more attention to what you’re doing RIGHT and what you’re proud of, it will help you keep going and cushion the experience when things don’t go so well.
Your schedule is your friend
A common challenge I hear from women is that you don’t have time to focus on your goals. Specifically, you’re tapped out at the end of the day from work and life and you have little energy to plug into what you really want for your future.
The concept I call “your schedule is your friend” is about using your schedule to create your time, both personally and professionally. And the truth is that if your work and life are not the way you want them to be, it’s usually because your priorities, your goals and your vision are not on your schedule.
When I coach a client, the details of their vision for their ideal work and life get plugged into their calendar.
If a client wants to increase their income, we adjust their schedule so money-making activities happen first.
When a client wants a promotion, the meetings and conversations they need to have, job functions they need to focus on and tracking of their achievements get plugged in too.
When a client has little time for themselves or their family, it goes on their schedule!
The key is to set aside time to focus on your priorities which can include both professional growth and enjoyment and rest. While it can be tricky to carve out time, I’ve coached some of THE busiest women…and I promise you, befriending your schedule can help.
Teaming up with your naysayer
Once you decide on and commit to your goal, there’s often a nasty voice in your head - I’ll call it your naysayer - that shows up and tries to stop you.
Your naysayer is a part of you, it’s not YOU. It’s not the truer, deeper, wiser being inside.
Its job is to protect you and keep you from making change. Not because the change you want is bad but because it’s NEW and you’ve never lived it before.
Your naysayer wants to protect you from getting hurt or disappointed or “failing” on your goals, like you might have in the past. It knows you really well and it knows exactly what to say or do to you to get you to stop.
When you notice that negative voice as you move toward your goals, don’t worry! Your naysayer showing up means you’re doing something important and meaningful. In fact, if you have no resistance, it might be a sign that you’re shooting too low.
While your naysayer can be annoying, it can also help you with your goals if you give it some attention.
Here’s a quick primer on how to join with your naysayer (for more on this, check out my article How To Keep Fear From Sabotaging Your Success)…
Notice the basic message your negative voice is sharing
Look beyond the surface and think about your naysayer’s real concern
Connect with your truer, deeper, wiser self to create a strategy to help
For example, if your goal is to be a speaker and your naysayer is telling you “you’re terrible in front of an audience”, the real concern might be that you get so nervous, you stumble over your words and embarrass yourself. To help with this concern, you might practice with supportive friends or join Toastmasters so you can get more comfortable before you start speaking to groups.
This way, your naysayer shifts from being in the way to being an ally in reaching your goals…and working WITH it can make your progress so much smoother.
Bottom line, it’s completely natural to hit inner and outer obstacles when working toward your goals and making change. But if you support yourself along the way, carve out time to take steps and learn from your fear instead of letting it stop you, you’ll have a much better chance of getting where you want to be.
Want my help to reach your goals in 2023?
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