7 Ways to Stay Committed to Your 2021 Goals
I’ve been “dancing” around an important goal.
I say to myself, “I’m going to do it!” But, in the heat of the moment, I find some reason (excuse) to not take action. I convince myself I’ll start tomorrow. Other times I justify or exaggerate my actions, when really, the actions I’m taking are just keeping the status quo (at best). They’re not moving me forward.
Have you been there?
I wonder how many people, at the end of January, give up on some of the goals or resolutions they had for the new year. The initial excitement and adrenaline of the new year has worn off. Making change feels like work. Hard work. Work we don’t want to do.
Don’t get caught in that trap!
You’ve got what it takes!
Seven Ways to Stay Committed to Your 2021 Goals
1. Magnify Your Why
When was the last time you wrote down all the reasons why you wanted to make this life change or reach this life goal? You might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, I know that. Writing them down is boring. It doesn’t really help.” But is that true?
Why write them down?
Here’s what may happen if you take 2 minutes to write:
· More reasons may come out. Reasons that are in your subconscious. Reasons that might be just the motivation you need.
· Many of us are visual. When we see them, the reasons become more real. When they are more real, we discover a renewed sense of motivation.
· Seeing them on paper helps you assess if you really want this goal. Who wants to spend time beating yourself up for failing to reach a goal you don’t want anymore?
· You’ll mentally prepare for the hard days. When our reasons are written we can more easily review and reinforce our whys on the bumpy days we know are ahead.
2. Take Smaller Steps
Perhaps you are trying to do too much. Narrow your plan to one thing you can do right now – something that may take only 5-10 minutes.
Didn’t finish that book yet. When can you read 10 minutes?
Didn’t do the networking you know you need to do. Send that email or LinkedIn message right now. No time for a 30-minute workout. Substitute for a 10 minute one. Don’t underestimate the significance of a small step. Don’t worry about if the steps make sense to anyone else. They are your steps.
3. Talk About it With Someone
Going “public” helps you sort out your thoughts or get feedback on your plans. Finding someone who has a similar goal can provide accountability, fun, and motivation.
4. Evaluate and Pivot
Acknowledge what isn’t working and make another choice. Maybe you’ve been taking steps, but they aren’t getting you anywhere. You convince yourself you are doing something and settle for action over results. We seldom get things right the first time. Don’t be discouraged if your first plan didn’t work. Stay on the journey.
Patricia Heaton, in her new book Your Second Act interviews several people who have successfully made life changes. One of her interviewee’s advice was “The secret of success is to pay attention.” Pay attention to what is and isn’t working, then adjust based on what you learn.
5. Get Some Professional Help
Let’s say you’ve realized this goal - this change - is something you really want. And you realize that trying to do it on your own isn’t enough. Think about reaching out to a professional. How do you like to learn from a professional? A class, a book, a Ted Talk, a Life Coach?
6. Give Yourself Some Grace
It’s normal for our motivations to ebb and flow. Don’t abandon your goal just because you’ve had an off day or even an off week. Remember, it’s taken days, months, maybe even years to get to where you are, to establish the habits you have. It may take days or months to establish a new habit or learn a new way of doing things.
7. Focus on Today
Don’t dwell on yesterday’s poor choices or lack of action. Maybe you didn’t work out last week, you ate too much, you snapped at that loved one, or you didn’t sign up for that class. You can’t change in the past.
And don’t dwell on the size of the mountain ahead of you. You can’t change in the future.
Change happens today. Right now. In the next 10 minutes.
While writing this blog, I’ve been reading the book Your Second Act by Patricia Heaton. In it she writes “I kept stepping into new directions until I found the right next move for me.” My prayer for you: may you continue stepping into new directions until you find the right next move for you.
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