Goal getting: Prevent slippage

You set your goal. You do things (sort of) to make it happen. How “on track” are you with this? If things were actually slipping, how long would it take you to realize? To me, that is one of the main things why the change we kinda sorta want never fully gets off the ground. We need to know where we actually stand to be able to readjust (and to celebrate milestones).

We are human, we have a million and a half things seeking our attention. Making change in your personal or professional life involves setting a (SMART, specific, measurable, attractive, realistic, timed) goal. And then what? Then you start implementing. Big actions (I find these are often easier to schedule as they are so obvious and often one-offs), and small, recurring actions. These can be the hardest. What needs to shift in your average week? Day?

If you don’t have something in place yet, think about how you want to track where you are and how things are going. At the end of each day, at the end of each week. Make this check-in with yourself a regular part of your practice. Identify as much data points as you can. Did I do it? How did I feel about it? What was the result? I track workouts, duration and quality of sleep, overall mood, journaling (I track my journaling as I am journaling…), meditation etc. in quantity and quality. You can get creative with that, emoticons, scales, whatever tickles your fancy. How fulfilled are your values as this unfolds? And don’t forget what your body tells you.

I also try to get a sense how well stuff fits into the overall, acknowledging there is going to be initial discomfort and adjustment as I make changes. What did I have to drop to be able to do it? Can I sustain that? Do stretch yourself, but also plan things in a way that are actually realistic and achievable without hurting you in the long run (for example if you have to stop working out or stop seeing your friends or sleep less than 5 hours to find time for an action to make that change, that is probably not a good thing in the long run). Carving out pockets of time is often the first bit of change to make that then sets the stage for all future plans and transformations. If you can’t make change, make “decluttering” the first step.

On a practical note, this is how I do it: I plan my upcoming 10 days once a week. And every few weeks I make the bigger plans for the next 3 months. I have a morning and evening routine for each day, and a routine for the week that is flexible on which day things happen as long as they happen. I put blocks of time in and then move them around if needed (the blocks have to be in to happen though). And I have bigger blocks of “stuff” I want to happen once a month, or once a quarter, or once a year, and I put these in first and build the rest around it. The act of having to reschedule something in a calendar, moving a block of hours makes it a conscious choice and for me prevents slipping.

What works for you? Please share!

My online course on “goal getting” is here on Skillshare.

 

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