Much like your car battery in the dead of winter (or during a polar vortex), your goals may need a jump-start this time of year. As the luster of the shiny new year wears off, our best laid plans often lose their spark, too.
Fear not! Here are three 'back to basics' ways to jump-start your 2019 goals and get back on track.
1. Align your identity: Affirmations
Whatever your goal requires of you, decide you are a person who does that. For example, I set a big health & fitness goal this year. It's not a new goal. I've been here before. But this time, I am aligning my identity with what it will take to achieve it. To do that, I created affirmations that I practice every day. Affirmations are "I am" statements. "I am" are the two most powerful words in the universe. "I am a person who works out 6 days a week at 6 am. I am a person who loves healthy and delicious food. I am a person who tracks my macros and drinks tons of water."
Affirmations work with business goals, too. For example, sales and marketing have not always been my favorite business activities, but achieving my 2019 goals requires more of both. With that in mind, my affirmations include statements like, "I am a person business people are looking to meet." Choosing this affirmation has made a difference in my approach -- and in my results.
2. Make your goals and affirmations visible: Posters
It has become common practice in corporations to post strategic objectives and metrics. The purpose is to keep the most important goals and measures visible. Last week I visited a client and while I was waiting, I caught up on his team's progress by reviewing the strategy posters outside his office door. His personal goals poster hangs inside his office.
It took some convincing. Putting his personal goals up on the wall for all to see was uncomfortable for him at first. Trust me, I get it. I had no problem posting my goals when I lived alone, but putting them up in the home office for my husband and visitors to see -- well, that triggered strong objections from my ego. But I know that structure is necessary for change, so my poster is up. It's not fancy -- hand drawn on a large sticky flip chart sheet -- but it does the job. My goals for the quarter are listed down the left side, with room for marking my status each week. I have used electronic dashboard versions, but for me, the hand-written version works best. (I also prefer real books to the electronic ones, so that may have something to do with it.) I have a companion poster for my affirmations. Whatever version of a "poster" you use, the key is to keep your goals and affirmations visible.
3. Give your goals sacred time and space: Schedule!
I am a stickler for keeping my calendar for business, and it has served me well. I don't know why it took me so long to embrace the science of scheduling serious time for working on my personal goals. I actively resisted for longer than I like to admit. As it turns out, your calendar is a form of structure -- a way to plan and organize how you want to spend your time.
The most important appointment on my calendar is the one I make with myself for reviewing & updating my progress on my goals poster, as well as for blocking out time on my calendar the next week. I use this time to reflect and to plan. Honest self-assessment is fundamental to being a leader in your own life. But that, too, takes time, so I schedule it.
I thought scheduling everything would feel rigid. Instead, I find scheduled activities are easier to move around and allow more flexibility. This practice takes discipline, though. I feel the same way about this hour as I do when the alarm goes off at 5 am. There is a moment that I consider going back to bed and skipping my workout -- then I get up. When the time comes for reflection and planning, I consider skipping it -- then I choose not to. Why? Because I am a person who reflects and plans (it's right there in my affirmations!) and it is a critical part of achieving my goals.
And there you have it. Three "back to basic" ways to jump-start your 2019 goals. If, by chance, you already practice these three basics consistently AND you aren't getting results, consider using your next reflection time to review your process for gaps. It could be as simple as changing a word or two in an affirmation or revising a goal to tweak a needed behavior change. It could be a simple change in "form" or technique that makes all the difference. Consider scheduling an hour with a coach to review your goals and plans, or hiring a coach long-term to support and challenge you. (Yes, we can help!)
Above all, keep showing up and doing the work. The number one reason people don't achieve a goal is because they quit. If you have a bad day, commit to do a little better tomorrow. Be a person who wants to see what happens if you don't give up. Forget about perfection. Focus on relentless consistency. Go back to the basics as often as you need to and fix gaps as you find them.