Last week we discussed how to set goals. Basically, figure out where you want to ultimately be, then determine the behaviors your will need to get there, without necessarily having an “end date” for completion.
Here we are, seven days later…
How are those goals going for you? Are you seven days closer to achieving them?
I sure hope so!
For some of you, though, maybe not. You probably read my post and decided you would figure out your goal behaviors later, after scrolling through Facebook a bit longer. You probably thought, “Yup! I’ve got my goal: lose 20 lbs! Starting my sugar free, high protein, low carb diet tomorrow!”
But did you follow up and take action towards those goals?
Getting started can be tough. You are required to do more than just want to be different…you actually have to act in a different way. You have to fight your instincts and habits and possibly experience some serious discomfort in doing so. You have to stay mindful and focused on your goals, even when the alternative for immediate gratification is calling your name.
In The Willpower Instinct, the authors discuss that we always believe our “future selves” to be healthier, more virtuous, and more dedicated than our “current selves.” We always lay more work on our “future selves,” thinking that they will be able to make the changes we want to see. This is a bit more than just procrastinating, though. We are actually convinced that tomorrow we will be able to make better decisions than today. We justify eating tonight’s indulgence with the promise of making sacrifices tomorrow…but when the future finally arrives, we’re back in the present again and our new “current selves” make the same old choices we’ve always made.
So, once you’ve set your goals and the path to get there, how do you actually set out to make change?
Avoid the Trap of “Set It and Forget It”
Setting goals is really fun. Who doesn’t love the start of a new workout or diet plan? But your goals mean NOTHING if you don’t start acting on them. And they mean NOTHING if you don’t work towards them regularly.
Intentions are great. Actions are better.
Sit down and make sure that your goals are written out. Make sure you know why you want to achieve them, why your goals are worthy of your effort.
This time tomorrow, look at your goals again. Continually remind yourself what you are working for, and that you need to stay focused on your long term success. The more you reread and connect to your goals and reasons for trying to make change, the less likely the chance of you “forgetting” about what them and putting them off until tomorrow. This action takes the distance away from your goals. Your goals are with you, right here, right now, and you have a wonderful opportunity TODAY to get yourself a little bit closer to them.
A few examples:
In The Power of Full Engagement, the authors emphasize connecting to your goals and core values as the primary step towards improving your life. One example is a client who keeps kept an index card in the visor of his car with his business goals and core values (i.e., excellence, open communication) on one side, and his family values on the other (i.e., family is the number one priority, being present with family). He would read over his professional goals and values on the way to work and review the other side on the way home.
Tom Venuto, a successful and well known coach/author in the fitness industry, has challenged anyone who meets him to try to catch him without his goal card: an index card that he keeps in his pocket every day, so he can reread it several times a day to stay focused on the things he wants. How can you fail when you are connecting to your goals 3 or 4 times a day??
Personally, I like to rewrite my big goals in my journal every couple of days, right at the top of the page. I usually remember the things I write down, and my goals are no exception. Besides, I get to cross off my successful behavior goals each day! 🙂 If you are a list-maker like I am, you know what that’s like!
So, now you are armed with your goals, a plan to get closer to them, and action steps to take every day to keep you moving closer. Time to get going!
I’d love to know: what is your #1 goal right now? What are you going to do, every day, to get yourself closer to it? Let me know over on the EES Facebook page!
Always here to help,
P.S. For more on getting started TODAY, enter your email on the right side of the page to access my FREE EES Handbook!