Last week, I spoke about just how disappointed I was after reflecting on my progress during 2018. I mentioned I spent the entire year sleepwalking and that a major goal for 2019 was to: Wake Up! . I wondered if my situation was unique but over the last week, quite a few persons reached out to me and assured me that I was not a unicorn. It seems that many of us spent the year being reactive instead of proactive and succumbed to complacency. Many of you promised that this will be the year of actively going after your goals! I guess, we’re in this together! So, what now? Now that we are awake - what are the next steps?
Identify your goals / identify areas of growth
What do you want to achieve this year? You might many have a many goals dancing around your mind but I would encourage you to not overburden yourself. Attempting to achieve too many things this year might actually backfire and limit what you actually end up pulling off. But, before you can decide what you will do - sit down and write all the goals that come to mind. Every. Single. One. Can you put them into categories? If so, go ahead and group them. I found that when I analyzed my goal list that they fit into four predominant categories: growth in my legal career, growth in my writing career, improving self care (physical and emotional health) and better financial management. There were several more but I decided to focus on those four instead of trying, and failing, to balance seven.
Assess your current status
Once you’ve identified the areas where you want to experience growth in 2019, then it is important to take a critical look at where you stand currently. And, write it down! I won’t lie, this can be brutal if you choose to be honest with yourself. For example, when I assessed where I stood with my writing career I was pretty disappointed in myself. I published only one novel (I know I’ve already lamented about this); I did not blog and I didn’t seek out any novels on honing my craft or marketing. Yet, it is necessary to embrace the shame because this first assessment will enable you to take stock of your growth throughout the year.
Set tasks with time-frames
This is the second most important thing you will need to do to ensure you don’t fall asleep halfway through 2019 and stay asleep. I set goals every year. But, I realize they were always vague and never quite time sensitive. So, last year I had the exact same publication goal I will have this year: three books. This year, I am giving myself firm time-frames to keep up with. I plan to complete and edit one book on, or before, April 28th; the second on, or before, August 7th and the final on, or before, December 29th. Time-frames are important because they help with urgency and most importantly accountability. So if a goal of yours was to be healthier, and a task to help achieve that goal was to lose twenty pounds by the end of the year - break it down and try to stick with your time-frame. There is one caveat, however. Ensure your time-frames (and your goals as a matter of fact) are realistic but are also not lax. Don’t try to lose five pounds in a week because that will frustrate you and isn’t healthy. But, also don’t aim to lose five pounds in ten months because that doesn’t challenge you at all. Maintain balance!
Find your why
This is the most important thing. You need to figure out why you want to achieve these goals. It is important to know why because it becomes your driving force. You need something to hold on to and inspire you when fulfilling your tasks become hard, banal or just plain out annoying. Darren Hardy refers to this as your “Why Power” in his book The Compound Effect . He says: “You’ve got to want something, and know why you want it, or you’ll end up giving up too easily.” He gives a great example of being asked to walk a tight rope from one tall building to another tall building, which is on fire. In the first instance, the individual is being asked to walk the tightrope for twenty dollars but in the second instance, the individual is walking the tightrope to rescue their child from the burning building. You can immediately see the difference in scenarios and how the individual may be more motivated to persist in the second instance. Think of why you want to get these things done. Is it because it is the ‘in’ thing at the moment? Is it a dream you’ve had since childhood? Find your why-power because this will be the most important tool going through this year.
Finally, it is important to set up an avenue to ensure some accountability. It could come in the form of a ‘goal - buddy’ or perhaps a new Instagram account or, if you are shy, it may come in the form of keeping a journal or a log. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is something that will keep you accountable to yourself. With that said; things will not always go to plan. But, that is fine: if you fall off the wagon at any point - acknowledge it, reach for you why-power, get back on and work twice as hard!
We got this! This year will be different. Next, year we will be singing a different tune. We will walk through 2019 with eyes wide open and armed with discipline and motivation. Success will be ours for the taking!