It’s 2013. You may have already set some New Years Resolutions. Perhaps you’d like to get out of debt, get organized, enjoy more time with your kids or finally learn how to create a Pivot Table in Microsoft Excel… Whatever it is, your New Years Resolution probably won’t work. They say that only 1 in 20 people ever reach their goals. I think it’s less. Sure there’s a lot of talk about resolutions at the start of each year but most goals never see the light of day. Having a goal, after all, means acknowledging the gap between where you are now and where you’d like to be. As Jeff Olsen writes in The Slight Edge, “Having a dream is not always a matter of all roses and sweetness; ambitions and desires can be uncomfortable, even painful.” Most people, I’m afraid, would rather distract themselves from their goals using food, wine, bad reality TV, you name it, rather than acknowledge a dream and never see it come true. How do I know? I’m a life coach. I have worked intimately with hundreds of individuals over the past several years and, as a result, I know things. For example, here’s something I know. “Successful” people, the ones who actually set and reach goals, are no better than you. It’s not because they are more talented, or more self-disciplined. And no, it has nothing to do with the number of google calendars they can manage simultaneously. Don’t get me wrong, google calendar is important for any high achieving goal setter, but I don’t care how boldly you declare your goal, how many milestones you set up, or the number of times you meet with your accountant. You’ve got to do the inner work first. The only difference between people who achieve goals and people who do not is mindset. In that light, here are 5 mindset tweaks you absolutely have to make, in order to reach your goals in 2013. Pay close attention to your why. Are your goals for you or about you? Do you use goals to prove a point, emulate someone else, or demonstrate your competence? Those would be what I call “bad” goals. Even thinking about these goals will compel you to suck down Capri Suns while coach surfing (or maybe that’s just me). Your goals should be for you. They should feel energizing, exciting and challenge you to stretch and grow. Just say no to black or white thinking. Dichotomous thinking is a total goal killer that will sabotage the long-term work it takes to reach your goals. Don’t fall for the trap - you are never either “on” or “off” a diet, financial plan or any other kind of routine. When you get off track, just figure out what went wrong and course correct. Plant, harvest but don’t forget to cultivate. Farmers get it. But most of us don’t live on a farm. With goal setting you can’t go directly from plant to harvest. You have to learn how to ride out your goal – cultivate it. Instant gratification will get you nowhere fast when it comes to goal setting. Perfectionism is really just a form of procrastination. Take it from Elizabeth Gilbert, “Finish your sloppy-ass novel, your irritating painting, your not-what-you-had-hoped-for poem, your disappointing song, your lame dance, your boring play.” Done IS better than good. If you wait around for the “perfect” plan, or hold out until your book/product/[insert your thing here] is “perfect” you will guarantee your goal never sees the light of day (because perfect doesn’t exist). Fail faster. Failure is the only option when it comes to reaching your goals. You’ve got to get over your fear of failure and realize that any mistake you make on the way to your goal is the feedback you absolutely needed to get to it. Babies understand this, adults often do not. You have to fall a lot to learn how to walk. As I said, New Years Resolutions hardly ever work. Now, please, go forth and prove me wrong!
Amy is a Master Certified Martha Beck Life Coach, a coach mentor, and instructor for Martha Beck's life coach training. She is a teacher, coach, writer and speaker. A former approval addict (with the occasional relapse), She is now addicted to success. You can read more by Amy at her blog or sign up for her free e-course, I Do Not Need Your Approval! How to Overcome Your Inner Approval Addict here.