Smart Goal Setting: The Power Is In The Reflection
With 2014 right around the corner, some of you are anxiously awaiting and preparing for your New Year’s Eve resolutions. You know that most don’t stick, right? You want to know why? It’s because most people make a rash decision to make a change, but they have not investigated the fuel behind the fire of desire. Before you begin to even think about what dreams you have for 2014, you must first reflect on the past.
Now I know that some of you have had a very difficult 2013. Maybe even several years in a row filled with challenges or maybe your life has been filled with bliss and unexpected miracles. Either way, I can help you to create the life of your dreams. I have received personal and business coaching consistently for the past 10 years and I have learned a few things about what has worked and what has failed miserably when it comes to smart goal setting. Surprisingly enough, this post will have NOTHING to do with smart goal setting and EVERYTHING to do with it.
So where do you start? Get out a pen and paper and let’s dive deep. But first, I want to share an important analogy with you. How big is your rear view mirror in comparison to you windshield in your car? It might seem like a silly question, but actually it’s not. Obviously, the rear view mirror is significantly smaller than the windshield, but it is still important, right? The rear view mirror represents your past. A quick look in the rear view mirror and you can reflect upon what is behind you and what lies in your past. Your windshield, on the other hand, is your vision for your future. All of your hopes and dreams that lie ahead of you. You could NEVER drive your car if you were constantly looking in the rear view mirror. It only serves you to take quick glances, especially if you have a baby in the back! I want you to use this same metaphor in your life.
While your past is incredibly important, it does not define you! You can’t dwell on your past and expect to live into a brighter future. When you think about your past, I want you to reflect on the GOOD and the BAD, paying particular attention to what you have learned in the process. One of the number one questions my coach is constantly asking me is, “What is working for you in your life right now?” as opposed to “what’s NOT working?”. What amazes me is that I am constantly accessing an incredible amount of actionable information when I focus on what’s working. What do you want in your life? What could you build upon that is already working in your life to get you where you want to go? What resources do you have that could help you to get there? What gremlin might be lurking in the background that could keep you from attaining your goals?
1. Pick up your pen and paper, or start typing or dictating to Siri all of the things that come to mind when you think of 2013. Lay it all out. No filters, just write it down until nothing else comes to mind. Think of this as a brain dump for 2013. I personally have had a very full past year. In brief, I launched my book, created an online private forum for Women Supporting Women with Herpes, created an online Foundations Course for my community, became Vice President of the Colorado H Club, started my daughter in part time PreSchool, we potty trained my daughter (my biggest accomplishment) and I had a few miscarriages (that totally sucked!)
2. Identify what helped you to achieve some of your goals or what may have gone wrong with some of your mistakes. Always try to find something positive even in the midst of tragedy. For example, I could have never created an online forum for women without the help of my internet consultant. I clearly explained to him what my vision was and then I trusted that he could bring it to fruition. One of the key things I have learned this past year is to delegate the things that I cannot do and to NOT try to become an expert on things I have no business doing. It takes too much time away from the things that I love to do and I am good at doing. I dearly love to collaborate and this past year was all about collaboration and delegation to help my dreams to become a reality. As women, we often try to do it all. I did that for many years and it is absolutely exhausting! Asking for help is a lesson that everyone should learn.
3. Write down some of your key strengths and your key weaknesses
4. When you think about the future you want to create, what is your number one motivation? How would you feel if you didn’t accomplish it? What small thing could you do today to move you toward that goal?
5. Take the next few weeks to get real about where you’ve been and what you have learned. Be sure to include your victories and what was in place in your life that helped you to achieve them. Include the good, the bad and the ugly. No one will ever have to read this, so be true to yourself. The reason it is so important for you to intimately know your past in a very conscious way is because it will help you to explode your growth in the future.
One of the best tools I have used in my life for personal growth and development is my journals. I have been journaling since I was a teenager. Most of the time I just allow my thoughts to flow onto the paper without any judgement. It is from these journals that I eventually wrote my book to help women overcome the emotional and physical burdens that a diagnosis of herpes brings. Thank God for those journals to offer me insight and memories that helped me to find my path of helping others.
Whether you believe it or not, I believe that there are hidden blessings in almost all struggles in life. Believe me, I would have never thought that I would write a book about herpes, but upon reflection, I realized that I had a lot to share with my sisters around the world who were struggling with the same things I was. After the New Year, we can talk more about your dreams for the future and how to make them come true, but for now, spend your time in reflection.
I will end with a quote that my sister wrote in a journal for me many years ago before I set out on a trip around the world. “He who knows others is wise; He who knows (her) himself is enlightened.” –Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)
Live. Love. Thrive.
Dr. Kelly Amazon best-selling author of Live, Love, and Thrive with Herpes