Do you find yourself having great intentions? But then have difficulty following through? There have been moments in the past when I knew I wanted something different, but I didn’t know either how to go about it, or completely stalled with overwhelm when road blocks popped up. Then I quit. It was a shame.
I didn’t have the proper tools to give me traction. From my work with people, and by researching the conditions for success, I have discovered that there are six essential ‘tools’ necessary for accomplishing anything.
Number 1) Make your goal specific. You have to have a destination in mind. This might seem simplistically silly to point out, but by defining your goal you bring it more sharply into focus. It is the difference between saying “I want my life to be different”, to defining what “different’ means to you. To create a focus you need your goal to be specific. ‘Different’ could mean more adventure. Then the next question is —What does ‘more adventure’ mean? Trying out a dating website? Applying for a promotion that involves more travel? Taking tango lessons? You write the definitions.
Number 2) Chunk it down. Research shows that when goals are broken down into smaller steps, there is a greater chance for success. This works for large or small goals — from trekking Mt. Kilimanjaro to flossing your teeth.
Number 3) Include chocolate. Research also shows that we human beings follow through more often when there are small rewards built into the activity. If you want to begin a regular exercise routine, you might link that with a reward, say, watching a favorite tv show on your IPAD while running on a treadmill or begin exercising with a friend.
Number 4) Build a supportive network. By telling others of your intentions, you raise the chances of success for yourself. Enlist positive supportive people by asking them to cheer you on. If you expect push back from your family around your intended goal, help them see how your success could impact them positively too. Sometimes your family or friends can feel threatened by any changes that might be coming. Accept this, and surround yourself instead with others who want your best self to shine. This is a role I frequently play in coaching. My clients tell me they do so much more because of the support our coaching relationship provides.
Number 5) Accountability. This goes hand in hand with a supportive circle. Studies have shown (and my own experience with people underscores) the power of accountability. When people have an accountability partner, they actually follow through and do far more than they would have otherwise. This too, is part of my job as a coach. When choosing someone to serve this role, pick someone you can count on to consistently show up to ask you how you are doing in regards to your goal and to give you positive feedback. And if you didn’t do what you said you would, to care about the ‘why not’. Importantly, your accountability partner should have no agenda of their own.
Number 6) Reframe Missteps. Speed bumps and road blocks are part of the process, as I have learned from personal experience! Expect them. Plan for them. And learn from them. Make a commitment to yourself that you will see this through. By knowing that ‘failing’ is a part of every new endeavor, and framing the ‘failure’ instead as a learning opportunity, you avoid beating up on yourself and quitting. (Shame and low morale follow blame – both not conducive to growth.) Be kind to yourself. You will be richer for it.
I love being on this path with you. Let me know your thoughts!
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