Your New Year Resolution: Instead Of Goals Focus On Practices

Posted: Dec 31 2013, 2:38pm CST | by , in News

 

Your New Year Resolution: Instead Of Goals Focus On Practices
Photo Credit: Forbes
 

I’m a pretty goal-oriented person. I love to set goals. I track them on a weekly basis.  And then I wonder why I didn’t meet them.  The fact is most New Year goals don’t get met.  So this year I’ve decided to do something different.

As I sat to ponder the goals I didn’t meet this year (lose the 10 lbs I am perpetually trying to lose, make progress on the book I’m writing, be more present for the important people in my life), I felt a bit of shame.  Here’s a leadership coach who helps others achieve their goals and can’t quite get there herself.  So I decided to do the exercise of celebrating goals met and examining unmet goals.  Here’s what I discovered about why I didn’t achieve my goals:

I give in to temptation easily.  I get discouraged when I’m confronted with obstacles (someone says “no” and I move to the next easy task rather than persevering).  I don’t take failure easily (so I “cheated” on my diet, might as well eat the pint of ice-cream while I’m at it).  While I like to plan and set milestones, I don’t often have a plan to resist temptation in the moment.  I judge myself quickly if I’m not meeting my goals.

As I reviewed these fits and starts, I realized that these challenges are probably common to most of us.  It’s part of the journey of being human and striving for goals.  So this year as I set goals, my greater focus will be on five leadership practices that will help me develop muscles to meet goals.

Resist Temptation

Temptation abounds all around us. It comes in the form of chocolate chip cookies, all day “Law & Order” marathons on TV, the next status update on Facebook.  Temptation has a purpose.  It is so we can develop muscles that help us resist temptation.  My new practice to resist temptation is to give myself 10 minutes or 24 hours (depending on the temptation) to “take a deep breath and think” before giving in – and to celebrate the resistance to temptation (with something other than a chocolate chip cookie).

Get Curious In Discomfort

Discomfort comes in many forms. Someone says “No” to what we want. We have a hard time saying “No” to someone. We have a hard time asking for what we want. Our normal course of action is to give in to our discomfort by doing whatever will lower the discomfort.  My new practice to deal with discomfort is to get curious about what within me is causing the discomfort. Getting curious gets us out of acting from our emotional impulses, or blaming others, into more of our “executive brain” so we can make the right choices.

Focus on Progress

We often tend to focus on the gap between where we are and the goal we need to get to.  On the other hand positive energy is released when we focus on how much progress we have made. My new practice is to start with progress I’m making and celebrate that – even if that means developing stronger muscles in these practices.

Practice in the Now

No moment like the present to take action toward our goals. Yet, many of us create elaborate plans and don’t manage to take action in the present toward those plans.  The most successful people pursue their goals in the Now – not in an hour, not tomorrow. My new practice here will be to adopt the perspective of “Nike” and just do it!

Focus Learning in the Now

The practice is to stop when I see myself in “failure”. My new practice is to give myself the gift of stopping and learning more, taking a breath and reframing, rather than judging myself (and going for that other pint of ice-cream).

So try these practices or come up with yours to help you build the muscles to achieve your goals.  After all, in the famous words of Henry David Thoreau “what you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals”.

Wishing you an abundant 2014 and hoping you reach toward all that you’re capable of being.

Please comment and share your thoughts on the topic.  Connect with me on Twitter @hennainam and and get valuable advice on leadership at www.transformleaders.tv

Source: Forbes

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