It wouldn’t be January without a furore of goal setting. The blogosphere is alight with how to set and achieve your goals in 2010. We’re feeling enthused, excited and ready to take on the world. However, there are still plenty of obstacles out there to try and stop you achieving your best intentions. Whether it’s the cold outside and a warm bed inside, post Christmas blues or the paralysing fear that you might not actually achieve what it was you set out to do.
Over the next week I’m going to be writing a series of 6 posts all about goal setting, particularly for those people who may have found the New Year has given them a shaky start. Achieving goals is hard at the best of times, but when you feel more like “oh dear” than “New Year!” it can seem an impossible task.
This series is designed to ease you in to setting good goals and minimise that goal setting fear.
Day One: What To Do When You’re Stuck On The Starting Block
One of my favourite authors Robert Ringer, who wrote Winning Through Intimidation, Million Dollar Habits and Action, Nothing Happens Until Something Moves, wrote a great post on his blog a few years ago about starting the New Year and getting off the starting block by January 2nd.
I like Robert ringer. He’s a no nonsense, no whining, get your head down and get on with it kind of guy. His books were influential in shaping my view of getting things done and I recommend his books whole heartedly if you like this straight forward approach.
I was all ready to fire my own starting pistol on the 2nd of January and start racing that marathon of personal success.
Till I found myself with nowhere to live.
Suddenly I was the one with chewing gum on the soles of their trainers whilst the rest of the runners were gleefully sprinting ahead; even in the snow (in particular you, the smug jogger who seemed to glide over the ice last week as I stumbled in my cowboy boots).
I was in a world of packing bags, throwing things out and looking for somewhere to reside whilst my RSS feed grew and grew with all the tales of the lovely productive people on the interweb.
Moving out on New Year’s Day was a bit of a surprise, though I was very lucky. Amidst all the chaos I’ve found myself staying with a super family who have set up an office space for me, feed me far too well (according to a friend I’d not seen for a while…) and have let me live with them until I find a permanent place.
As I juggled the move into temporary digs, work, tax and flat hunting I couldn’t help feel guilty for not getting off the starting block. Everyone seemed to be moving and achieving things and I hadn’t even set out my goals for the year.
It’s almost three weeks into the New Year and I’ve stopped beating myself up about the delay. I figure I can’t be the only person who’s faced unexpected circumstances which has left them hanging around the starting line.
After I calmed down, and had a little think I came up with a few thoughts to help you if you’re also finding yourself stuck on the starting block.
It’s About The Small Steps – Not The Fanfare Of The Starting Line
Facing a new year can be daunting. You feel as though you have to get everything done in January which just isn’t possible and makes you feel like there is an insurmountable mountain to climb. Take time to remind yourself of the small steps that got you where you are today. Thinking of the New Year as a continuation of those steps is easier than thinking you have to change overnight. (Something I’ll be looking at later in the series),
The World Doesn’t End If You Spend January 2nd In Bed
For all the positive aspects of starting with a fresh burst of energy in the New Year, it is just a date in the calendar after all. Anyone with any sense would give you at least a week in between New Year ’s Eve and New Year’s Day just to recover. The idea of having to have your fresh start on this particular day is not essential for you to succeed. The very fact that you’re considering your goals is a step in the right direction. Whether you do this in January, or in August on a beach sipping Captain Morgan’s rum is no great shakes. Don’t sweat it if you don’t have all the answers straight away
It’s YOUR Race – No-One Else’s
Similar to the above, though other people might seem like they are steps ahead, sometimes you need to forget everyone else and their goals and focus on what’s important to you. Close your eyes and ears to the people who tell you how marvellous they are doing. Whilst this can be inspiring if you’re on top of your game, if you’re feeling a little stuck it tends to makes you feel worse.
And feeling worse is never good for getting things done.
It doesn’t matter how well other people are doing, only how well you are doing in relation to what is important to you; another reason why ignoring others for a bit can do you the world of good. Listening to other people talk about achieving their goals is not necessarily relevant to you and your goals.
Collect Motivating Articles – Just Don’t Read Them…(Yet)
As I’ve mentioned, there is value in this sudden burst of energy at the beginning of the year. We’re flooded with motivational messages and articles on achieving goals. But if you’ve got something else to deal with, it might not be the best time to read them, especially if you feel you can’t act on them straight away. Save them. If you’re getting them through your RSS feeds, put them in a set folder and set a date to come back at your start date to read them. This also helps to refresh the sense of excitement when you’re ready to channel that excitement.
Don’t Ignore It – Set Your Own Start Date
So, you’ve relaxed a little, you’re not thinking about all the productive happy people out there, and you’ve found some energy to deal with what’s on your plate at the moment. That’s great, except it would be a shame to completely ignore the enthusiasm for the New Year. That little burst of motivation is good – when you have it on your terms. So make sure you set a start date that’s suitable for you. It might even be staggered. For me, my start date for planning, and small productive pieces is this week, and my start date for really cracking on is when I find my new place; hopefully in the next couple of weeks. We all need to relax sometimes as too much pressure can be immobilising, but we also need to act, and planning a start date is good action.
Coming up next in the series of: Goals…. (Goals)!…Always believe in your soul…
(If it helps to sing along to Spandau Ballet whilst you read these, it wouldn’t be my place to stop you)
Day Three: Translating Goals Into Action
Day Four: Don’t Go Changing… (Overnight)
Day Five: Don’t Miss The Gold For The Goal…
Day Six: Kick Ass Goal Achieving Resources