Have you set a goal for 2013? How is it going? Before it gets derailed, take a few minutes to do some planning, anticipate obstacles, and prepare options that will help you persist and persevere. Many times when we set a goal, we imagine a straight and simple path to our destination. We expect we’ll be able to save 10% of our income consistently or we expect we’ll lose one pound a week until we reach our goal weight.
But the path to reaching your goal is rarely so clean and linear. In reality, it is full of obstacles. Expect a straight, linear path, and an obstacle will quickly derail you. But anticipate obstacles, and you will be able to conquer them more easily.
When you have a plan that you know will work it is easy to stick to it. But if doubt creeps in, your behaviors change, and ironically… that change in behavior is what wrecks the plan. Doubt can be good because it makes you think twice about what you are doing. But there is a time and place for that and it is during the planning stages. When you are amidst taking action, it is not the right time to doubt yourself. Pick a path and stick to it until you succeed or you reach a predetermined evaluation point.
What are the common excuses people have for not doing something they know they should? Lack of time, lack of money, lack of energy! These are finite resources for all of us and if you don’t allocate them properly you will, of course, run out. Think about which one tends to become your excuse and find a way to make sure it doesn’t become an obstacle this time around: make a schedule, set aside funds, or do the important things first.
As life happens, our priorities shift. Perhaps at one time your goal was the most important thing in the world to you, but when you encountered an unexpected situation you abandoned your goal to deal with the new predicament. But in the long run was the distraction worth it? What have you lost or gained by not persisting? Looking back, do you wish you had kept on? Before times get tough, think about what it would take for you to give up and feel good about it. When you are dealing with difficulty, call on that perspective to help make your decisions.
Habits are important for reaching your goals. Creating routines for behaviors that help you reach your goals is, without a doubt, the easiest way to accomplish anything that takes effort over a long period of time. But what happens when an event comes along that disrupts the momentum? Go back to where you started: change your emotion first, and then change your behavior. Re-ignite the original motivation that led you to set that goal and then re-establish your habit.