Goal gut check! Get back on track with these 4 simple steps.
I still remember the exhilarating rush of blood coursing through my fingers holding the phone as it vibrated with the incoming call. It was a balmy, early spring evening in 2016, and 3 months prior I had given myself a New Year's goal to be gainfully employed by the time SXSW took over my new hometown.
And here it was. The first evening of SXSW on the lawn of the Four Seasons in Austin, and I was shaking as I took the call from the man who offered me the job I had so truly desired over the past month. I did it; I thought. And in that moment, with the last of the sun's rays hitting my champagne glass and scattering light as if to spread the news, I felt like I could do anything.
This is the moment for which we create goals.
But the good Lord knows that I, and many others, have had many shiny New Year's resolutions go unfulfilled. According to a CBS study, only 64 percent [of New Year's goals] last longer than the first month, and only 46 percent last longer than six months. And by the time December hits, the numbers are even more grim: Only nine percent of people who set New Year's resolutions report feeling successful in attaining their goal (Statistic Brain Research Institute).
So what's a badass, boss lady, future-legend like yourself to do now that we're partway through the year, and you're missing the mark on your goals?
A simple, 4-step mid-year review of your goals will get you recharged and on track to realize those now-distant New Year's dreams.
1. Evaluate where you are.
First off, how far off are you from attaining your goal? Be honest with yourself. If your goal was not tangible to begin with—i.e., a la SMART goal—then now would be a good time to specify exactly what your goal actually is. For example: "Lose weight" is not specific enough; "lose 20 pounds and fit into my old prom dress by October" is SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable and time-based. As the saying goes, you can't manage what you can't measure.
2. Ask why.
Now that you know where you are and have a tangible goal in mind, make sure you know why you are doing this in the first place. Is it to feel more empowered in taking charge of your health? To pay off the debt that has been following you around and stressing you out? Maybe it is just to look better in your yoga pants. Whatever the reason, ask yourself: How does this align with my core values? Write or type your goal's purpose and post it somewhere you can read it everyday. I taped my 'Why card' to the top of my laptop, which is especially inescapable.
3. Put a P-Plan in Place
No, that's no typo; I'll explain momentarily. Now that you know where you are and why you're going where you're headed, set some benchmarks to check in on your journey. Whether that be weekly or monthly, make sure that it is consistent. Pro-tip: set a recurring calendar reminder with a link to an online file where you can document your ongoing progress.
Q's I like:
What did I do well?
Where could I improve?
What am I grateful for?
Not only will you see your trajectory, but it keeps you grounded and geared to receive more goodness going forward.
The 7 P's
My friend Sam, a multi-talented creative technologist, recommended this guide to "succeed at anything" from the Good Life Project Podcast by Jonathan Fields.
Pledge - Promise publicly you're going to do it. You need people to hold you accountable.
People - Mentors and those in your community who are going to help get you to the finish line.
Possible - Believe that it's 100% possible to achieve.
Proof - If you're having trouble believing it's possible, find stories of other people similar to you who did it or get approval of someone with domain expertise.
Picture - Essentially, measurement. Taking a snapshot of your progress so you can objectively see how you're doing.
Process - A systematic, well thought-out series of steps to achieve your goal. Think of the marathon training plan. It must be practical! It has to make sense in your life.
Practice - Showing up every day, like a ritual, and carrying out the process you set for yourself.
4. Celebrate the Mini Wins!
Make sure when you hit your mini benchmarks that you celebrate your wins. It will give you a burst of energy and ensure that you enjoy the process to success. Brainstorm a list and keep them somewhere accessible so that when you hit your goal, you can easily reference and reap the rewards. Just ensure that whatever reward you choose will not hinder your progress on your goal. For example, if you hit your budgeting goal for the month, don't splurge by buying a pair of Manolos—take a walk to a new park you've been wanting to check out or mail yourself a love note. You're creative—you've got this.
About the Author:
Alison Tugwell is a certified life and business coach who specializes in working with multi-passionate creatives to achieve their many ambitions with clarity, focus, and joy. She loves love salt on her sweets, shameless wordplay and playlists for every road trip and ex-boyfriend. You can find her at PolyamaProject.com.