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.
Yet… the truth is… just a few months into the year, many people find they’re not making as much progress on their goals as they’d hoped, most of their resolutions have already been broken, and they’re losing their motivation.
Why is that?
Usually, it’s because we set ourselves up to fail in our goal setting process.
Here are some of the most common goal setting pitfalls:
To avoid these common goal-setting pitfalls, I follow 3 Basic Steps in my goal setting process:
Over the next 3 posts, I’m going to dive deep into each of these 3 steps and discuss some important (yet simple) tweaks you can apply that will ensure 2020 is 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 ends up being 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 for me is when I’m too hard on myself, when I’m not flexible and when I don’t allow myself to enjoy the journey because I’m too focused on the destination.
I want to be the best version of myself that I can be. Like everyone does.
True motivation comes from feeling like I did my best and that I made the most of everything I had to work with. That means stopping from time to time along the way to celebrate small wins, and focus on the journey not just the destination.
What does NOT help motivate me, is focusing on how I fell short of some ideal that may not have been realistic or even in line with my own 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. And 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… in this blog post, let’s go into 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’ve 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 check out that process first here, if you haven’t already.
An annual review is going to help you discover what’s really important to you, by looking at what actually made you feel good about life in the past year. And that will help you to tap into your WHY.
What’s 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. Instead you can feel lost, tired, drained and wondering what it’s all for.
That’s why discovering your WHY is so important.
My WHY is all about contributing to a cause that 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, mentoring and coaching 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’ve 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 if you constantly find it challenging to stick to the plan… maybe you’re just not working on stuff that serves your bigger 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 to a standard of excellence. Or, your WHY might be about innovation and pushing boundaries, so 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 bigger WHY, you’re much more likely to achieve them. Because you’re tapping into your true motivation in life. That’s where your true individual and unique powerhouse of energy and potential resides.
Not in someone else’s WHY. Yours.
If you don’t know where to start with finding your WHY, here’s a cool exercise:
I hope you found this useful… let me know in the comments if you did.
In my next blog post in this series, we’ll take a deep dive into Step 2 of my process for making this year your most abundantly awesome one yet.
To YOUR Abundance,
Julie Ann Cairns