It's June now, six months since we made our New Year's resolutions about our fitness & health and other areas of our life.
Have you followed through on them? For how long did you stay strong?
We often begin our year with enthusiasm for our resolutions, only to feel like a failure only a few weeks in because we haven't followed through on them at all.
Why is it so freaking hard to commit to the goals that seemed so important to us at the beginning of the year? Why is it so hard to make them stick? Don't we have any will power?
Hopefully I can quiet the bully in your brain and assure you that even if you haven't come even close to reaching your New Years resolutions, you're still a wonderful person...you just didn't create the RIGHT goals that mattered, that really, truly mattered to you.
This is one the first lessons I love to talk about with my clients. It took me years to learn this myself, but I feel like I have found the secret sauce recipe to reaching goals, and I want to share it with you.
All of us have a life, and every decision and action me make or take in our lives is based on our priorities. It's true. If you feel like something is important to do and you have a really great motivating factor, or in other words a "why"...you'll do it. Hands down, every time.
So, the trick to making the right goals for you, is to make sure your goals align with your priorities. We will get into figuring out what your priorities are in a minute. But, since most New Years Resolutions include a goal to lose weight, and most clients come to me with this goal, I'll use the goal of losing weight as an example to show you first how important emotion is to setting goals that matter.
What if you really want to lose 10 pounds, because you know you should. You've been told by your doctor that you could drop your blood pressure meds, or what ever meds you're dependent on, just by losing a little bit of weight. That could be a motivating "why", or it might not be for you. Instead, maybe it's fitting into a cute pair of jeans, or looking great on vacation, or wanting to participate in all of the fun Summer activities without passing out with exhaustion, or some kind of reunion is coming up...these all can be amazing motivating factors to losing weight. The trick is you need to find your "why", it doesn't matter what the "why" is as long as it's an awesome "why" to you . That's the secret sauce to make a goal matter. Why do you want to reach that goal, and how is it going to make you feel? Figure that out, and you're on the right track.
Now, I want you to write down your goals, and it shouldn't look like a list. It should look like a mission statement. People that make a list of goals with no emotion attached to it, never reach them. End of story. So, instead of just stating, " I want to lose ten pounds." with a box to check off next to it, you've got to put some feeeeeling into it people! Like this, "Im going to rock my beach body with complete confidence during my vacation in August! Because I've lost 10 pounds and have strengthened my body, I'm not going to worry a bit about how I look. The only things on my mind will be about how much fun I'm going to have with my kids, friends, or hubby!" Doesn't that get you up and out of bed with a smile in the morning? Whatever your goals are, I think you get it now, you need to attach an emotional "why" to it, to make it matter to you deep down inside.
Steps to Success:
1. Pick a goal and find your 'Why".
2. Write it down. (There is something magical about putting pencil to paper. I know it sounds old school...but just do it!)
3. Set your target date. To really ensure success, you need to reverse engineer your goal. So, figure out a timeline, when do you plan to reach that goal?
4. Then break it down, and go backwards from your target date. What do you need to do everyday to make sure you reach your goal by that time?
Before you know it you'll be reaching goals and having fun!
Alright, now sometimes we think we need to reach a certain goal, and we can have a pretty awesome "why" attached to it, and still not reach it. Thats a bummer, right? Do you want to know the reason? It goes back to priorities. Looking hot in your swimsuit might not actually be your biggest priority in your life. It's a great goal, but it might not be the one you should be focusing on first.
So lets figure what are your top priorities, and what you should focus on first. I want us to do this little bit of homework together. Please go grab a pencil and a piece of paper. Divide the piece of paper in half by drawing a line straight down the middle. On one side of the paper I want you to write down your top ten priorities in your life.
Priorities in most peoples life are:
(Your priorities could be different, write down your own top ten priorities.)
1. Physical Health - Fitness
2. Emotional Health - Beliefs about life
3. Environment - where we spend time: home, car, office, etc.
5. Leisure & Fun
6. Friends & Family - Kids and extended family
7. Significant other
8. Purpose - career, service, charity
9. Personal Growth - self-development
10. Spiritual Growth- religion, relationship with God, spiritual studying, etc.
Then on the other side I want you to write a goal that means something to you, like we talked about above, that goes along with each priority. Remember, phrase your goals with power. Use wording as if you have already accomplished these goals.
Then, score each priority and it's goal from 1-10. Score a ten if you're a freaking rock star and could write the "how to" book on this priority, and score a one if you really, really struggle in this area of your life. Be honest with yourself, but also kind and understanding to yourself. No one else needs to see this list. It's all yours.
Then, instead of looking at your highest scoring priorities/goals, I want you to look at the two areas that have the most room for improvement, your two lowest scoring priorities/goals. I call these our "Power Priorities", believe it or not, because they have the power to make all of our other goals come about. Isn't that exciting? imagine being able to smash ten goals because you focused on the rightones first.
As an example, if you know me, you know that Physical Health and Fun & Leisure are the two priorities I feel like I could write a book on. Finances and Spiritual Growth are another story. It doesn't mean that they are less of a priority to me than Physical Health and Fun & Leisure. In fact, if you were to ask me to just list my priorities in order of importance, I would list Spiritual Growth right at the tippy top. Nothing is more important to me. It's just the area that I see in my life that I need the most improvement in. I also don't love to think about finances, I avoid budgets like the plague! But, I know that if I could be better about budgeting and saving, and if I could create more income in my life, I could do a lot to improve myself and would be way better able to help and serve the world. Get it?
"Intrinsic priorities" are the areas of our life that we naturally "work on" or spend time doing. They're important to us, and we have already figured out how to make them top priorities. Physical Fitness and Fun & Leisure are my intrinsic priorities. I don't need to work on them more than I already do. I can, and should still have goals in these areas because they're important, but I will work on them without anyone or anything prompting me to do so.
So, lets start over with our New Years resolutions, Ok? Lets focus on your "Power Priorities" first, and do the four steps I mentioned above with each of these priorities. I want you to write the goals down that are associated with these priorities and keep them where you can see them everyday. Make sure your wording is emotional and motivating to you. I also suggest that you keep your timeline shorter than a year. Aim to reach your goal in 3-6 months. Setting shorter-term goals keeps you more accountable and focused. Reaching your short-term goals one right after another, helps you reach your long-term goals faster than you can believe!
I'd love to be one of your biggest cheerleaders, please share with me what your "Power Priorities" are. I'd love to help cheer you on and keep you accountable.
Go, Fight, Win! You've got this! I believe that you are going to be crushing your goals like nobody's business from now on. So exciting!