Kim’s Goal-Setting Tools for Sticking to Your Plans
- Escape the When/Then Trap
If you’re someone who worries about being fully ready and completely prepared to make a decision, you might use the when/then trap as an excuse to procrastinate and avoid action. Many people use when/then as an excuse to stay stagnant:
- “When ____ finally happens, then I will ____.”
- “When I lose five pounds, then I’ll be ready to start dating.”
- “When the economy gets more stable, then I will be ready to look for a new job.”
- “When I retire, then I will pursue my passion.”
I’ve struggled with the when/then trap myself. A few years ago, I was talking to one of my mentors, and I told him, “When I retire, then I’ll be ready to write a book.” He asked me why I felt I had to wait to pursue my goal and why I couldn’t start writing it now. The simple solution never dawned on me: I could be the CEO of a company and still find time to write a book. It was not a when/then situation; it was an instance of “I can do ____ and ____.”
- Create a One Year Success Plan
As you begin to formulate your own plan for the coming twelve months, take some pointers from the Couch to 5K program. The Couch to 5K program is a perfect example of a simple plan that leads to reliable success, and it’s one that even works for people who hate running. This plan is simple, flexible, and has built-in positive reinforcement. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and you need absolutely no expertise to get started.
Consider how these elements might fit into your own plan. You don’t have to have a plan so simple that it can be boiled down to four steps, but you do need something that can be explained in a few sentences. You need a plan that can work with your routine, not against it. Consider how you’ll build in flexibility and milestones so you can have a few bursts of motivation along the way.
- Conduct a Life Audit
Every year I take time to reflect on the people I spend the most time with and determine if my circle is filled with the right people. I always want to have more optimists than pessimists, and sometimes that means weeding out a few lingering critics. I call this process a “life audit,” and it is an essential step in setting yourself up for success. I sort people into two categories: (1) those who lift me up, and (2) those who bring me down. I write down the names of people who energize, challenge, inspire, and support me. Then I reflect on the people who are emotional vampires: the people in my life who complain, criticize, gossip, and drain my energy. If they aren’t supporting me as I prepare for my next jump, I make an active choice to spend less time with them.