The thrill of goal-setting
When you first make life goals, new plans, New Year resolutions or any sort of big changes in life, it’s turbo-charged all the way. You’re committed, enthusiastic, and optimistic. It’s an exciting and energising feeling – but, unfortunately, it rarely lasts.
The longer you do something, the more you get into a rut. It’s a weird dichotomy. We humans are hardwired to gravitate to pattern, routine and shortcuts, it’s the most efficient way for us to function. But our routines get stale and lose their lustre. We have a tendency to get bored and lose motivation. These natural slumps often cause us to feel negatively about the decisions we have made in life. We question whether we are in the right career, or worry that we have wasted our precious time doing things that don’t excite us.
I believe that to avoid or overcome these ‘troughs’ that we all experience on our journeys through life, we should regularly and intentionally revisit the decisions we have made and positively recommit to our goals. Drive and energy was produced by the original commitment – so recommitting should help reignite that passion. Don’t just leave it to New Year to make resolutions, use the natural breaks in life to reevaluate and remember what it was that led you to choose the path that you’re on. By natural breaks I mean after a holiday, the start of the school year, new seasons, an anniversary, and especially now, as we emerge from lockdown into a changed world. Whether it’s in your career, home life, health or relationships – reflect on your goals, retake ownership of them and frame them positively.
How to recommit to your goals.
1 – Remember
What were the reasons that led you to make the decisions you made at the time that you made them? Write them down and consider all the ways that they still apply.
2 – Assess the benefits
Think of all the things you have already gained by being on this particular path and all the positive points about the goal. For example, if you have an exercise goal, how has your health and energy already increased? If you are feeling lacklustre about your career path, what are the upsides to the job?
3 – Make a plan
Add some smaller short-term goals to your wider life plans to give you something tangible to aim for and an extra boost of motivation. Perhaps at work you could aim to add some extra value to your company – contribute some writing, or run a workshop? Sign up to a charity event to help you train and recommit to your fitness goals.
4 – Make some small changes
Sometimes our dissatisfaction really just comes from boredom and sameness. Think of small ways you could introduce some variety and interest in your life. Take up a new sport, or find a new group to train with. Join a networking organisation at work and meet some new people – anything that will reignite a bit of passion and help you recommit to your long-term goals.
5 – Be accountable
Tell someone! Being accountable is the best way to stay motivated. Speak to a friend, partner or colleague about your intentions and ask them to remind you of your commitment when your motivation wanes.
Tune into this week’s podcast for more ideas on positively recommitting to your goals. I can help with goal-setting and motivation in my Having it all coaching programme. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.