New Year is a time when many people tap into their deeper motivation, set goals, commit to their ‘resolutions’ and plan for an awesome year ahead.
It’s super important to do that.
AND yet… just a few months into the year, many people find that they are not making as much progress on their goals as they’d hoped, most of their resolutions have already been broken, and they are losing their motivation.
Why is that?
Usually, it’s because we set ourselves up to fail in our goal setting process.
We set our expectations too high… or we come from a place of feeling like we’re not good enough and so we set goals that actually feel more like punishments. We prioritise things that we think we ‘should’ do, but if we did some digging we’d find they’re not actually that important to us. And we forget to work on our mindset.
I like to break my goal setting into down into 3 basic steps:
I also like to apply 3 Simple Tweaks to these steps, that really help to set me up for success, avoid frustration and ensure that I don’t lose motivation.
Over the next 3 weeks, I’m going to dig deep into each of these 3 steps and discuss the important (yet simple) tweaks you can apply that will ensure you make 2017 your most abundantly awesome year yet!
In this post we’ll look at Step 1… But before we continue, I want to issue a little disclaimer.
Sometimes I feel like I’m not measuring up. Sometimes I’ll set myself unrealistic or punishing goals and I’ll even be surprised when I don’t fulfill them.
Sometimes I’ll compare myself to others, instead of measuring my progress by comparing myself to where I was before.
Sometimes I’ll set goals that I think I ‘should’ care about, but really I don’t.
And even though I know that these things set me up for feeling like a failure…sometimes I’ll do them anyway.
Sometimes I’ll get side-tracked or feel like I’m being blown off-course with my goals, because something unpredictable happens. Sometimes my best-laid plans don’t work out the way I’d hoped or expected.
Sometimes, that’s the best thing that could’ve happened.
It’s not necessarily always a FAILURE for me to not meet my goals. Especially if they weren’t really right for me, or if they needed to be adjusted in order to adapt and make the most of situations I couldn’t foresee in advance.
The real failure is when I’m too hard on myself.
I want to be the best version of myself that I can be. True motivation comes from feeling like I did my best, like I made the most if everything I had to work with… and from acknowledging and patting myself on the back for that. Not from focusing on how I fell short of some ideal that may not have been realistic or even in line with my inner purpose.
So… before we embark upon our goal setting for the year, let’s build in the ability to constantly reflect upon, revise and update our goals as we go. Without feeling like a failure. To acknowledge our wins. To incorporate learnings. To keep on keeping on.
Let’s remember that our goals are just tools we are using to serve us. And if they’re not serving us, we get to change them. We’re the boss of all that!
So, now we’ve got that disclaimer out of the way…
Let’s go into more depth on Step 1 in the goal setting process I outlined above, and discuss an important tweak that will really help you with it.
In my next two blog posts I’ll do the same for Steps 2 and 3.
Step 1 – Tapping Into Your WHY
Right away, here’s the first tweak: Before you do anything with respect to planning and goal setting for the coming year, make sure that you have reviewed and reflected on last year.
I wrote a whole other blog post about A Powerful 7 Step Process to Reflect on Your Year so make sure you read and do that process first, if you haven’t already.
That review process is going to help you discover what’s really important to you. And that will help you to tap into your WHY.
What is your WHY?
When you follow your WHY, you feel like your life is meaningful. When you make progress on fulfilling your WHY, it makes you feel like your precious time on this earth is worth trading for what you’re doing.
When you do work in line with your WHY, you tap into an energy and passion that makes achieving your goals feel effortless. Even when you’re working hard, you just love it.
When you’re not really following your WHY… well, you don’t feel like that.
That’s why discovering your WHY is so important.
My WHY is all about contributing to a cause which I believe in, and that I feel is greater than myself. When I look at the wide range of things that I choose to do in my life, whether it be in business, with my writing, film-making, or nonprofit work… all the activities that I find fulfilling have this one theme: to serve a cause greater than myself.
It’s my WHY.
I’m not always the front-person for everything that I do, and I don’t need to be as long as I’m working to serve a cause that I believe in. Like promoting abundance consciousness. Like educating people. Like serving those who, in turn, serve others.
I don’t always love every single task I have to do… and sometimes I experience the discomfort of stretching myself outside of my comfort zone… but when I remember WHY I’m doing it all, it makes me feel motivated enough to push through. And when I have achieved what I set out to do, I feel a really deep satisfaction.
Now, this is an important thing to note: I don’t love every task, but I love my WHY… so if the task serves my WHY I will have the motivation to do it. Even if it’s hard. If it doesn’t, then I probably won’t.
If you find that you set goals for yourself that you don’t fulfil, or you constantly find it challenging to stick to the plan… maybe you’re just not working on stuff that serves your WHY.
For me, I find I’m more motivated to do stuff that I believe is for a higher good, than stuff that I think is just for my own good. Like exercising. Or going to bed early. Or eating a healthy diet. I probably need to work on better connecting my own health and well-being to my ability to serve the greater good! In other words, I need to connect my health goals to my WHY so that I set myself up for success in that area too.
Your WHY might be about doing things to a high standard: you might believe that there’s a right way to do things, and you get a deep satisfaction when you are doing things right. Or it might be about innovation and pushing boundaries, and you feel most satisfied when you are creating new ways to do things. Or it might be about connection – maybe you feel most satisfied when you are bringing people together and helping them form productive and meaningful connections.
Whatever it is… when you set goals that will serve you in fulfilling your WHY, you’re much more likely to achieve them. Because you’re tapping into your true motivation in life. That is where your true individual and unique powerhouse of energy and potential resides. Not in someone else’s WHY. In yours.
I hope you found this useful… next week we’ll take a deep dive into Step 2 in my goal setting process.
To YOUR Abundance,
Julie Ann Cairns