December is a great time to review your goals, but sometimes it can be a deflating experience. Instead of patting yourself on the back for all that you have achieved, you may be feeling disappointed that you haven’t made the leaps forward that you intended.
It’s important to acknowledge even small steps forward that you have made before you move on to setting new goals. For example: you may not have made the career change you wanted, but you may have done some volunteering and have a clearer picture of the career that you want to move into. Or you may not have lost 10lbs, but you may be able to jog around the block without being out of breath. Or maybe you haven’t saved as much as you’d like, but you’re no longer in debt.
You also need to reflect on the process that you used to set your goals in the first place. Did you give your goal setting the attention that it deserved?
In my experience as a coach and retreat leader, these are the top 5 reasons that people don’t achieve their goals. They are not:
In my transformational online programme, the Happenista Project, instead of setting goals, we set intentions. The good thing about intentions is that they can be reset daily but also that they are more about how we want to be, rather than what we want to do. If I want to become healthier, my intention could be to nourish my body with only good food. Rather than focus on losing 1lb a week. Can you feel the difference in focus, its kinder to yourself.
Have you done any work on your values? Your values are the principles at your core that drive your decision-making. Often we set goals that are not aligned with our values, so we are immediately fighting an inward battle. If one of my values is independence, but the goal I set myself requires me to be completely dependent on others, it will be very difficult for me to achieve.
It is important to set clear, well thought through, visualised goals, but sometimes with the best will in the world, our paths must change. Is there any flexibility in your goal? Can it adapt if your situation changes? I love the quote, ‘If plan A doesn’t work, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet!’ You may not have thought through 25 other options but at least be willing to explore some of them, rather than give up.
Just because you are setting a goal at the beginning of the year doesn’t mean that the deadline needs to be at the end of the year. It could take 2 days, 3 months or 9 months to achieve your goal. Set yourself an appropriate deadline. After all, what gets measured, gets done. I personally like to reward myself for achieving goals. I plan the reward when planning the goal, so that they go hand in hand.
Knowing that you have made a promise to someone other than yourself is an aspect of goal setting that often gets overlooked. Declaring your goals to someone who is interested and who will ask you about them is a major factor in keeping you on track. We find it easy to go back on promises to ourselves but not to others. Coaches make fantastic accountability partners, challenging you to set stretch goals and helping you to get there.
Not sure you can do it on your own? Have you considered coaching or taking part in our next Happenista Retreat in February? The retreat is a great 2 day kick start, facilitating you to set goals that you will be proud to have achieved by the end of the year.