As 2018 closes it’s always an interesting exercise to stop and reflect on the previous year. You can also use the lessons learned to gear up for the year ahead with renewed and potentially redirected focus.
At the start of a new year, we create great plans of what we’ll do differently and the “new year, new me” posts appear on Facebook. People check in at the gym for the first time since last January, and gym companies love it for the first few weeks in January because that’s typically where they make a lot of their revenue.
Instead, a suggestion is to reflect on what you did great in 2018 that you can build on.
Did you go to the gym twice a week? Great, try one more time a week.
Did you tell your family you loved them daily? Great, show them you love them daily this year.
Did you surround yourself with friends and colleagues who support you and your goals? Great, now do the same for them this year.
Did you learn new things? Great, learn from failure too and be kind to yourself despite not always succeeding.
Big changes don’t help you run a marathon, consistent and deliberate action, compounding over time, gets you there.
And setting up systems to keep you going toward your goals will help.
A few suggestions to consider in your system for achieving your goals are below. I’d love to hear how you get on with implementing and trying these out – let me know!
- Accountability partner
- Public scoreboard
- SMARTER goals
- Cost is in the present, bring the reward there too
- Lead rather than lag measures
- Give value before you expect it by helping others achieve their goals
- Don’t wait until you feel like it, just do it
- “Every action you take is a vote for the person you want to become” James Clear.
Accountability partner – both positive and negative:
Have you ever told someone you were going to do something and you did it because you didn’t want to let them down or have to tell them you didn’t? Have you ever done something because someone told you you couldn’t? This is what it’s like to have an accountability partner, someone who knows what you’re trying to achieve, and who will be interested in hearing your progress and success.
Public scoreboard – don’t break the chain:
Something I learned recently is the power of 1% incremental improvements to different areas of life. Create a calendar or public scoreboard where you can see your actions taken and progress and don’t break the chain of action. It’s also a dopamine hit every time you take action and mark it off and feels great.
We all know SMART goals, try SMARTER instead. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound, Expectations and Reward. Adding the Expectations on what’s expected of you gives you direction and accountability to yourself for your actions. Rewards keep you focused, not on what you’re giving up to take action now, but instead on the positive difference you’re making in your life and the lives of others.
Cost is in the present, bring the reward there too:
Similar to the reward component in SMARTER goals, there’s always an opportunity cost when taking action. If I go to the gym tonight, the opportunity cost might be watching tv or having a takeaway. Cost is in the present. Reward yourself in the present so you can weigh these costs differently. This is subjective so create your own but for me, going to the gym I always reward myself with a nice coffee afterwards in a place I really like!
Lead rather than lag measures:
We often measure scale weight when trying to get healthier as a goal. This is a lag measure, something that’s a result of actions and after the fact. Instead focusing on lead measures are better to pay attention to. A lead measure for getting healthier might be eat green vegetables with 2 meals a day and go to the gym 3 times a week. The scale weight is a result of this. Measure lead rather than lag.
Give value before you expect it by helping others achieve their goals:
We often think we’re on our own when trying to achieve our goals. By having an accountability partner you’ve already got support to help you make progress. And so have they – with you! So be a good support for others as they’re trying to achieve their goals.
“Every action you take is a vote for the person you want to become” James Clear
I love this quote from James Clear. Taking action and doing things you’ve committed to is a vote for who you want to be more like. Keep doing it and become more of the person you want to become.
What have you added to your system of achieving your goals and what are building on for 2019?