How are you getting on with the goals you set at the beginning of January? Still on track? How often do you review your goals?
If you’re not any further forward from when you set your goals then it’s ok, there’s still plenty time to get back on track. It’s common to think of our goals as either on track or way off but that’s usually because we focus on the end result rather than the journey to get there and if we focus solely on the desired outcome – weight loss, marathon with a target time – then we can miss a lot of the magic that happens along the way.
It’s good to review your goals often, once a month can be good depending on what your goals are and when you need to see results. If your goal is for the whole of 2018 then it can be good to set a target for each month and make that target scalable towards your goal rather than it being your goal so if your goal is to lose 3 stone then it’s unlikely to happen in January and so smaller targets are required.
In order to review, we need to know where we’re at and if we feel like we’re heading in the right direction or if we need to change things in order to move forwards. I find a useful way to do this is to ask some questions and here are the ones I use:
- What did you achieve this month?
- What worked well for you?
- What didn’t work so well?
- What have you learned?
- What’s been the highlight of this month?
- What can you do to make February better?
These questions give us a chance to reflect on everything we did, recognise our achievements as well as highlight our areas of weakness. It’s important to celebrate our successes as it’s obvious that we’re doing something right and that these become the platform from which we can build on in the months ahead.
There Is No Such Thing As Failure
As well as celebrating our success, we should also embrace the things we didn’t do so well with. I believe that there is no such thing as failure, only opportunities to learn. We can only fail if don’t learn from things we didn’t do so well with. Instead, these things can help us become stronger and get better results for the next month. In my 0-5k group, when I have set a target of, say, running a particular distance and finishing feeling comfortable, and a few finish feeling breathless, I ask them what they would do differently next time to get a better outcome to which they instantly say they would run slower and that’s all it takes.
If we don’t get the outcome we want, we simply ask ourselves what we need to do differently to get a better outcome and usually the answer appears straight away. I believe the question of what we need to do to get a better result for next time is crucial as that’s where the learning is. All we need to do is act on that instinct and either we will get the outcome we want or we will know a better way to do it. When that happens, we cannot fail, we keep on learning.
It’s unlikely we will have reached all our targets for January and one of the most common learnings may be that we set more realistic goals for February as much as the need to tweak our actual goals or our plan to get there.
When reviewing your goals and thinking about targets for February, ask yourself what positive goals you can aim for. Succeeding in our goals relies heavily on habit change and so one goal might be to focus on one or two aspects and just to become good at them this month so that they no longer feel like they’re something you’re working hard to achieve.
For example, in weight loss, I always ask my clients to focus on drinking 2 litres of water every day and maybe move more every day to begin with. The second one can be from measuring steps to going for a walk 3 times a day or whatever is relevant to them. I haven’t asked them to cut anything out or deprive them of anything they enjoy but solely working on these two things makes it feel like they’re working towards something, isn’t too challenging and often while they’re doing this, they start to forget about unhealthy snacks they used to have because they don’t feel the need to have them anymore or are enjoying being out in the fresh air that the walking brings that they start to do more and also feel less likely to want something they used to have that they no longer desire and it all feeling rather easy to do.
Look now at the goals you set and look to see if you have set reasonable targets to aim for each month and if not, now you can set them for this month and for the future. If you feel you’re way off where you want to be, review what you did last month and consider what needs to change to get better next month.
Always think about the journey towards your goals as that’s where the magic is. We will learn a lot about ourselves along the way and we may even stumble upon new goals we previously didn’t consider as being of interest. By the end of the year, you may well achieve your goals or you may end up achieving something far more exciting and meaningful that makes your original goals pale into insignificance.
Have you reviewed your goals yet? Where are you at with them?