Reaching Your Goals: Setting Yourself Up For Success
If you’ve moved past the initial hurdle of getting started, then you are well on your way, DOING THE WORK, propelling yourself towards your goals. But motivation fades, the newness and initial leaps of progress may turn to little, bitty steps that seem almost inconsequential.
Discouragement sets in and starts stealing your joy.
Progress is not linear. My coach tells me this all the time. Progress does not look like a neat little line. It’s full of ups, down, curves, twists, turns and stalls. THIS IS NORMAL. This is part of the ride.
But how can I whether the storm, the ups and downs, without getting discouraged?
You need to set yourself up for success. Support. Accountability. Reviewing Progress. Celebrating Small Wins. These are all proven ways to help you with the ups and downs and ensure you reach your goals.
THIS IS PART 4 OF A 4 PART SERIES ON THE MAGIC SAUCE IN ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS & DREAMS. CHECK OUT PART 1 , PART 2, and PART 3!
This series explores how to REALLY (LIKE FUH REAL!) conquer your goals. It takes a clear, honest and fresh approach to traditional goal setting. If you’re like most people, setting goals is fine and dandy, but the money is in the mastery, and I bet many of us fall short of accomplishing that list of goals. Each part of this series explores a fresh new perspective on achieving your goals.
In Part 1, we uncovered why you must set intentions before you set goals. In Part 2, we dug into how you can easily get in your own way when living your intentions and reaching your goals. In Part 3, we outlined exactly how to start taking action on your way to achieving your goals.
Ok, so how do I set myself up for success?
Setting Up Your Support System
You will need systems in place for you to successfully reach your goals. It’s not just gonna happen willy nilly. You’ve already set intentions and goals, and you’re likely already DOING THE WORK. The path and journey will not be without it’s struggles, and having systems in place to keep you going is your life preserver. It’s what keeps you afloat.
Humans have been part of communities since the dawn of time. We thrive in groups, including the most staunch introverts. A circle of support is what allows us to lean on a strong system when we cannot weather it alone. We've all heard the saying, “it takes a village.” And it certainly rings true here.
A support system can help you reach your goal by:
Giving You Confidence
Keeping You Accountable
Giving You Encouragement
Providing Honest Feedback
Is there anyone in your circle that you can recruit to help you on your journey?
A close friend? Your partner? Your coach? Maybe even someone you met in an online community dedicated to making lifestyle changes? Have you considered a business or lifestyle coach? What about a mentor?
If you’re like many of us, myself included, it’s easy to get caught up in playing the “lone ranger” on your journey. I get it. Listen, I want you to really look at your journey towards your goals in a new light. You aren’t putting these people out. Chances are, the people in your close circle WANT YOU TO SUCCEED.
Think of your support system as your RESOURCES. You’re going to need them. You’ll be pulling from them often.
Your resources serve to mentor you through your journey. They help guide you and keep you on track. They also serve as another perspective. It’s easy to get stuck on our own heads, which often halts progress. A trusted friend, advisor, mentor or coach helps your brain listen to more than just it’s own inner voice.
A key piece of advice: ask these people directly to be there for support. Don’t just assume your partner or best friend will be there for you in this role. Formally ask them for their support, so they know A) You need support, and B) You are now counting on them for guidance.
Lastly, make your goals well known to your support system. Don’t be shy to open up about your goals and intentions. Don’t forget to include your INTENTIONS!
Why do they need to know both my intentions and my goals?
Your support system will be there for you at ground zero. They are going to be there for you on a regular basis. In comes intentions. Remember those?
From the first post in this series: “Intentions are expressions of our inner self, our values and who we aspire to be. They are our constant, guiding principles for who we are and who we wish to be. Intentions guide our daily lives to propel us towards our goals.”
If living your daily intentions allow you to propel further towards your goals, then you’ll want to let your support system know what intentions are most important to you. That way, they can be certain how YOU wish to live each day, and can help follow up with you on those intentions.
Periodically Review Your Progress
Periodically reviewing progress is a HUGE key to reaching your goals. This is a critical time when you start taking stock of what’s working and what’s not. This is a time of PIVOT. You have the ability to make changes when something’s not working out. And you also have the ability to recognize when something is a TOTAL WINNER and is really giving you momentum.
What does it look like to periodically review your progress? Do I do this on the daily? Weekly? Monthly?
HELL YES! If your goal is more short term, you’ll want to periodically check in and review progress more often than a longer term goal. The key is to give yourself multiple opportunities to review how things are going.
For instance, I have a goal to implement yoga and dance into my weekly routine. I’d love to explore how I can work that into my exercise routine 3x/week. I’d like to consistently be hitting that goal in the next 3 months. I could check in monthly…but that only gives me 2 opportunities to review what’s working, what’s not working and if this goal is aligning with my intentions.
Instead, I might choose to check in and review how things are going on a weekly basis. This gives me PLENTY of opportunities to PIVOT if things aren’t working as they should.
Pivoting is KEY.
Often, the most crucial steps you make in your life are not forward. Rather, they are pivots in a totally new direction.
Taking stock of what’s NOT working out and what’s NOT serving you allows you to make some decisions. Will you stick with the status quo knowing it’s not in your best interest? Or, will you pivot? Pivoting often leads to anxiety over “sunk costs.” You know, that feeling that you don’t want to give up because you’ve invested too much time, energy, hope, etc.?
Staying flexible and having courage to make a change is where the magic lies.
Ok, so WHAT am I supposed to do during this “review”?
Look, this isn’t a corporate “to-do.” Checking in on progress can be incredibly informal. It can be five minutes (definitely uninterrupted) of dedicated thinking about how that path towards your goal is going. This can be while you shower. On your drive to work. During your cool down from your workout. During your meditation time. Can you carve out five minutes? If so, you can review your progress!
I like to write things down, so I include a little journaling/note taking into my review. In our example, maybe at the end of the week I sat down and reflected on my progress.
Here’s how I check in:
Did I follow through with my goal this week? Was I able to implement yoga and dance into my fitness routine 3x this week?
Was it difficult to make it happen?
Was it easy to make it happen?
What did I have to do in order to make it happen? What were my steps of action?
If I didn’t follow through with my goal this week, why not?
Were there external reasons I couldn’t make it happen this week?
Were there internal reasons? Did I lack motivation? Did I make excuses?
Did I make it a PRIORITY?
If I did not, what happened instead that took priority? Was it necessary for my goal to take a backseat this week?
Do you see how my questioning in no way demeans my ability to reach my goal or not? Instead, this line of questioning allows me to DIG DEEPER, uncovering why I did or did not hit my goal that week. It opens up the conversation so that I may improve if I did not reach my goal this week.
Reviewing your progress isn’t meant to punish yourself. It’s a time to objectively check in. OBJECTIVELY. Do your best to just look at it AS IT IS. Negative self talk will only serve to sabotage you. Be your own cheerleader. If it didn’t work out this week, or during this check in, now is the opportunity to uncover WHY. Growth mindset, my friends, hard at work!
Celebrate Small Achievements
No matter how big or small your goal is, celebrating the small wins is HUGELY critical in cultivating a positive mindset and keeping momentum. This is especially true if your goal is set further out in the future. You’ll need some wins between here and there to help keep you going on your journey.
I like to look at my intentions to help me celebrate those small wins. Knowing intentions are set in the present, versus goals, which are set in some point in the future, I can celebrate small wins each day I live my intentions.
That’s one of the beautifully, magical qualities of intentions. They help guide your daily actions towards your goals, and they give you opportunities to celebrate each day, even each moment.
For instance, back to my yoga and dance example, my intention associated with that goal is to actually feel healthy, strong, flexible and aligned in my mind and body. I want to begin implementing yoga and dance into my fitness routine because it’s new, exciting and fresh. I’ve chosen to practice yoga and dance 3x/ week. Maybe I met my goal for the first few months. Each day that I made it to yoga or dance is a chance to celebrate a WIN.
And if I’m not able to make class 3x/week, maybe I can still live my intention my doing a quick 5-10 min yoga stretching session or dance session that allows me to move my body and align with my intention. I may not have made it to class three times this week, but I didn’t let an opportunity go by without living my intention. I set aside a few minutes to get a good stretch in, take some time for ME, and do what I could with the schedule I had.
Celebrating small wins is about lifting yourself up. It’s about keeping your momentum going and pushing you forward.
And listen, I’m all about positive self talk and keeping things as uplifting as possible, but there are times when you need to cut through your own B.S. and take stock on why you aren’t reaching your goals. Maybe you uncover a change in your schedule that might push back the time domain of your goal. That’s ok! It’s a time to PIVOT.
Change the time domain on your goal (if you can), and celebrate a WIN. Why? Because you just “failed forward.” You just reviewed why you weren’t hitting your goals due to a shift in your schedule and made a change. Now, you’ve given yourself a more realistic timeframe to reach that goal. And that, friends, is a win!