It is a shiny new year! And, you are ready to tackle all of your goals and the changes you want to implement in your business and life. You have all the passion you need to kick things off and take your business to new heights. But, how do you sustain that enthusiasm and where do you start on your plan?
Having goals is vital to your success, but too many goals at once can feel overwhelming and distracting. How do you strike the perfect balance?
Let’s start with your vision. Is it written? Have you broken things down to want to accomplish each quarter, each month, each week, each day? Often the biggest barrier to success is not the goals themselves, but rather the implementation plan and the daily habits required to sustain your enthusiasm for the plan.
Two weeks ago, I started a life-changing, diet. The diet is very hard but by doing it, I may transform not just my weight and my physical self, but my mindset, as well, about what I can do. It was scary to commit and start, but I felt compelled to get started, as soon as possible. And, I did, knowing I would be starting right before the holidays. I felt ready for a big shift in 2014, and what a great way to start shifting.
Once I made the decision, the reality of truly being an ideal weight and the commitment it takes to do this diet for almost three months, hit me. This is weighty stuff but I believe that making a commitment to my goal and realizing the goal will help me realize my other goals for 2014. So, what do I have to lose besides something I have wanted to lose for longer than I can remember?
When you have several goals, it can be a challenge to work on all of them at the same time. If you can see how one goal precedes another goal, then you can identify and implement habits that support reaching all of your goals. And, with lessons learned each time, you can shorten the time it takes to succeed as you accomplish each new goal. And, doing the hard work on one goal, then accomplishing the goal is the perfect setup for doing the hard work for the next goal because you now know what you are capable of and what it takes to succeed.
I have the vision and the goal and some part of the plan, as laid out by the limits of the diet itself. Now, the hard work comes – my everyday plan to eat within the limits of the calories and food I am allowed to eat. Everyday, I make the decision to eat what I am allowed and not deviate from that list.
It is funny that there is a lot to think about and not a lot to think about at the same time. I can only eat certain things and I only like some of those certain things. Therefore, not a lot of time is spent thinking about what to eat. I also like to have diversity in my day and my foods. Part of what is great about being a business owner is that everyday can be different, if you like. I do like to have things be different from one day to the next. What this means is I am constantly in search of a new way to eat these same foods and not be bored.
When you have a plan and there are certain things that require daily attention and habits, it can be tough to implement that change. To make it easier, I start with a small change or two and get those going. Once those habits become like getting out of bed in the morning, I add in another one or two.
When you look at your plan, identify one or two things you can find a way to easily implement daily. Start with one change and see how it feels. Maybe, it is getting up a half hour earlier every day. Or, you can try making two phone calls. Write down what you will do everyday and review at the end of the day what you accomplished.
Part of what makes this hard is following a set plan everyday. I love to make a plan, but dealing with the details has never been my idea of a good time. I find that business owners often have the same challenge. There is always something more interesting, more pressing or more fun to do, than whatever we have planned for a given day, that will help us get to our goal. But, when you look at people who are one success after another, they have habits that help them achieve their goals. And, they say, “success leaves clues.”
On the diet, one of the habits I have adopted (as instructed) is to get on the scale and measure my progress. Some days, the scale rewards me with a clear sign my effort is creating my desired results. Not all days yield the desired outcome, but I know I am in this for the long haul and I don’t want to let a bad day take me off course.
Setting limits and keeping them is typically not what gets a business owner out of bed in the morning. So, how do you get excited about the details and the daily activities required to make the goal happen? You track your food and you get on a scale everyday!
When you track your daily activity and daily results, you can see progress. When you have a stall, reminding yourself of what you are working toward can sometimes keep you on the plan. Another way to stay on track is to look at something you have been doing and give yourself a pat on the shoulder/high five for the things that you have not been willing or able to do in the past. That is why it is helpful to start with one thing and get it down; a goal is reached with multiple small victories. There really is no such thing as an overnight star.
And, if those two ways of being your own cheerleader don’t keep you going, you can challenge yourself to do it one more day. A mind trick that gives that little push can be just what you need to see something change the next day.
The Stall and the Solution
For me, I have already had a couple of days that made me want to jump ship on this diet. The scale wasn’t changing and my self-motivation was waning thin. I am fortunate that I noticed early on in the process, a call with my diet coach had a huge impact on my mood and physical well-being.
If someone had told me this before it happened to me, I am certain I would not have believed it. I shared this with a client and her response knocked me over. She said, “that is what our coaching calls for her business had been like for her.” Everyday, I know that someone is there who is on my side and helping me through the rough patches. As a business coach it is quite fulfilling to help clients attain their goals. And now, I have the incredible fortune to be able to both give and now receive this bonus.
So, if you know what you want to make happen this year and you aren’t sure how, there are three things that will certainly give you the best chance for success. The three things you need are: 1) a written plan to chart your course, 2) Daily tracking of your activity and 3) A Coach or Mentor for accountability, ideas and support for the good and bad days that happen while you are creating new results.
I would love to hear about your goals for 2014 and what you have in place to help you attain them!