After a tumultuous start to 2018, I can’t believe we’re already at the end of March. How fast do the days and weeks go by? It’s crazy.
Usually, I love the first quarter. It’s a time filled with optimism, promise and new beginnings. Generally it’s a perfect time to focus on all that we want to achieve in the coming year before the doubts, the fears and the excuses set in.
Losing my dad this year has made that not so much the case but what it has made me realise is that life is too short. It’s too short for excuses. It’s too short to not be doing and saying the things we want to be doing and saying. It’s too short to not follow our dreams.
I know for us women, it’s all too easy (and unfortunately, common) to not put our dreams first, to find the reasons why we can’t pursue and take action towards our goals.
After all, as level headed, dependable women, as quiet, sensitive introverts and as natural nurturers with family and other commitments, it’s easy not to put ourselves first. We’re able to reassure ourselves that perhaps our dreams are not important enough, that we are being unrealistic and irresponsible, and that we should focus on our current lives, and not rock the boat.
We’ve been taught to play safe, stay in the background, get it right or don’t do it at all but the question is….where has that really gotten us in the past?
This waiting on the sidelines….for everything to be perfect before we actually get stuff done?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it’s very easy for a day to slip by and then a week, and then a month. Before we know it, our hopes and dreams for the future start to fade into the distance.
So I want to ask you this one question today…do you want to live a life full of regrets or is 2018 the year that you’re going to make your dreams come to life?
If it’s an absolute ‘YES, 2018 is the year’ keep reading as I’m going to share a list of the seven biggest actions that have helped me turn my dreams into reality over the last few years.
The first step is to take a moment to list all the reasons why you haven’t started that one thing you dreamed of starting/done that one thing you wanted to get done. Just free flow here and list all the thoughts that come up for you. When the tank is empty and you can’t think of any more, cast your eye down the list and get really honest with yourself. Ask yourself: “Is this absolutely true? What is really getting in the way of me moving forward? Is this an excuse for not moving forward?”
And then it’s time to dig deep and find a solution to overcome the hurdles getting in your way.
As yourself if you can you learn how to do the thing that’s stopping you, can you find someone to help you, can you reframe it so it doesn’t hold you back?
Having the right mind-set is the first step towards achieving your goals.
Set meaningful, motivating goals
So you’ve turned your can’ts into cans and you’ve realised that your hopes and dreams are possible.
Now it’s time to take a moment to sit quietly with yourself and figure out what your goals really are.
Another way of figuring this out is to imagine that you’re at the bottom of a mountain trail. Your one big goal is to reach the peak of the mountain. Start with the end in mind and ask yourself the question, “If everything else stayed the same, what ONE thing would I like to make massive progress with this year?”
How does this one BIG goal make you feel? Does it motivate and inspire you? It’s vital to ensure that you feel connected to your goals so write down why it’s valuable and important to you.
Break your goals down into bite–sized chunks
Now that we have the big picture taken care of, it’s time to break your big goals down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Setting quarterly goals helps with this.
Think of these as the milestones or base camps along your trail to reach the mountain peak.
Using the same system, ask yourself the question, “If I could only focus on ONE thing this quarter, what would it be?” These now become your 90-day goals.
You may or may not have heard of setting SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that describes the 5 steps towards setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based goals. It’s a great framework to use to create clearly defined, actionable goals.
To go into a little more detail:
- Specific means setting goals that are well defined and focussed. For example, ‘gaining 10 new coaching clients in the wellness industry by 30 April 2018’ is a much more explicit and focussed goal than a vague description about ‘growing my business.’
- Measurable ensures that you are able to track the outcome of a goal by putting concrete numbers to it. In the example above, 10 new clients is a trackable number that can be assessed.
- Attainable implies that the goals that you set are realistic and capable of being reached. All too often, business owners set impractical goals and then feel as if they’ve failed, as they’ve been unable to accomplish them. By all means, set goals that are ambitious and make you feel excited and a little nervous, but remain realistic at the same time.
- Relevant ensures that the goals that you’re setting for yourself are the right ones for you. They move the needle in the right direction towards your bigger goals and they’re aligned to your values
- Time-based means that your goals must have a time frame tied to the process. As Napoleon Hill says “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” The reality is that goals remain dreams and don’t get done when there’s no time frame attached to the goal.
So go ahead now, and write your goals down in individual goal statements using the SMART framework and the word will’ instead of ‘would like to.’
For example, my 90 goal for the first quarter was as follows: I will host the Quiet Collective Conference 2018 in March. I will educate and inspire at least 10,000 quiet, sensitive, introverted women to move off the sidelines and create businesses and lives they love. (It’s on at the moment by the way….if you’d like to check it out here.)
The physical act of writing your goals down makes them tangible and real. Using the word ‘will’ reinforces framing your goal statement positively. As a final step, write your goal statements down every single day. Keep them in visible places to remind yourself every day of what it is you intend to do.
If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real
Now it’s time to turn your goals into reality and the way to do that is to create an action plan.
The first step is to set a reminder in your calendar and phone every Sunday night or Monday morning to remind yourself to set your weekly goals.
Take a quick glance at your quarterly goals to recap what they are. Then spend the next five minutes stopping – to breathe, meditate, pray… whatever you need to do – to clear your mind and then ask yourself what are the key priorities to focus on this week that will advance you towards your 90 day goals.
Think of these as the water stops/waypoints along the path towards the base camps following your trail up the mountain.
Looking at this list, categorise which of the tasks you’ll be doing and which of the tasks you’ll be delegating to other team members.
Then take the next 15 minutes to time block these tasks in your calendar.
At the end of the day, the absolute key to you reaching your goals in 2018 is the action you take today so check in and set your weekly goals, schedule them into your calendar and execute on them, every single day.
Create habits to support your goals
It’s important to create habits that will support you in achieving your goals too.
The first step is to listen to your body and figure out what time of day you’re at your most productive. I’m an early bird and love waking up before sunrise. I usually find that I’m brimming with energy at that time of the day and so this is the time that I set to achieve my ONE big goal for the day.
When I recognised that my power hours were early in the morning, I made an effort to set my alarm and get up early. I gradually set it earlier and earlier and it’s now become such a routine and part of my day that I don’t even set an alarm at all anymore.
Secondly get into the habit of incorporating prompts and reminders into your day and sticking to them. I schedule alarms in my diary and on my phone to remind me to do things and find that this is a great way to keep me on task and focussed.
Lastly, stop and breathe. This is been a really big one for me, as I tend to do,do, do and not take a break. But I started with just 5 minutes at some point during the day. Gradually I’ve been building more 5-minute sessions into my day and honestly, it’s made a big difference. By taking regular breaks I feel so much more refreshed and refocused. I feel as if I’m staying at the top of your game much more.
Find people to hold you accountable
Accountability has been instrumental in helping me stay on track to achieve my goals in the past.
I am very action-oriented so I am able to hold myself accountable for the most part. However the game changer for me was being in a mastermind and finding accountability buddies.
The biggest advantage I’ve experienced having sisterhood is that whenever I’m feeling down, when I’m in a slump and feeling full of doubt, I jump on a call with one of them and they always lift my spirits up and get me back to where I need to be.
So my advice to you would be to find one, two or five people who will become your ‘go-to’ partners to help you achieve your goals, keep you on track when you lose focus and keep you motivated to keep going because when the “honeymoon period” of optimistic, full of promises Q1 is over, it becomes a real struggle.
Always be in momentum
My parting words to you are to just get started. Using my mountain analogy, picture this. You’re at the bottom of the trail and your big goal is to get to the peak. But when it’s time to get going, you feel so nervous. You’re unclear on the directions. You wonder if you have enough provisions, you doubt whether your fitness levels are high enough or if you have the right gear and you’re wondering if this is such a good idea.
But you pluck up the courage to take that first step, and then the next and then the next. Once you get started, you’re in momentum, taking one step at a time. Suddenly, without really realising it, you’ve reached the peak and achieved a goal that you thought before you were never able to do.
The first steps are always the hardest as you don’t know what to expect. But once you’re in momentum, it becomes easier and easier to work towards your goals.
So if you’re experiencing the doubt, the excuses, the reasons why not, just take the first, baby step – whatever that is.
And now it’s over to you, what is the one BIG goal that you’d like to achieve this year? Share in the comments below. I would so love to hear from you!