February | Personal Development | Read time: calculating...
Fallen off track? Here’s how to reset your goals
Many people struggle with staying on track with our goals – in fact 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Here’s how you can reset yourself by applying more powerful intent, backed up by changing daily habits.
Around this time last year, I thought I’d found a pretty perfect balance in all areas of my home, work and social life. My career with Keogh was continuing to evolve in a great direction… I’d even gone more than a year without biting my nails.
Then in March of 2019, a very important person in my life received a terrible medical diagnosis.
If there’s anything that will prompt you to give your priorities a long hard look, a loved one facing a trauma will do it. There are emotional shockwaves of the event obviously, but also on a practical level, there’s so much to do to support that person and their family, whom you both love and feel a sense of responsibility towards.
When an issue so important takes much of your focus, something has to give, and I saw that my goals and life as it was, weren’t in balance – particularly in my own home and on a wellness level.
I know that getting side-tracked is something we all experience. We think we have a good idea of where we’d like to head, then for various reasons (internal or external) we are waylaid on the journey. So, when do we know we’ve been derailed, and how do we get back on track?
“The river is constantly turning and bending and you never know where it’s going to go and where you’ll wind up. Following the bend in the river and staying on your own track path means that you are on the right track. Don’t let anyone deter you from that.”
– Eartha Kitt
We could make New Year’s resolutions, but according to businessinsider.com 80% of these fail in or before February. There are many reasons we can point to: a lack of support when commitment begins to waver, poor planning, triggering circumstances. When you look at it, a ‘resolution’ is rarely resolute.
Why? Well for a start New Year’s resolutions are a cliche: exercising more, saving money, losing weight. They all sound good on the surface, but they’re also vague and don’t take into account all the other shifts that have to occur to make them happen. Resolutions made in isolation of other factors in your life can be hard to achieve and easy to give up. So let’s ditch the term “resolution” and look at goals.
How can we make goals stick and motivate us to succeed in achieving them?
For me, it’s considering the big picture – and the perfect tool I like to use is Keogh’s Wisdom Wheel.
Instead of what issues do I have to resolve, the better question might be: “How would I like to see myself at the end of 2020?”
If you have a specific goal, ask, “What parts of the wisdom wheel does my goal most fit within?”
Is that actually an area that needs your attention, that you feel is out of balance? Try and pick goals that help balance all four quadrants
Reset with SMARTY goals
Now let’s make it a SMARTY goal. Most people are familiar with the concept: make it Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. The Y, included here is one thing that I know improves the chance of reaching your goal: Yay!
You need to celebrate the small victories that show you that you’re heading in the right direction. That could be as simple as taking a moment to acknowledge the win, literally a little hard-shelled chocolate treat, or for me, booking a massage.
I’d also recommend setting regular check ins with yourself on your calendar. Leaving it a whole year to notice you’re off track is a year too long. Flick ahead in your calendar and write where you expect to be each month or at three month intervals. These calendar alerts act as markers to correct the course when we veer off a side rode.
On the wisdom of habits
For the longest time, I would bite my nails – a habit I wanted to abolish. Being so ingrained, it was often my go to in a stressful situation or during deep thinking or simply having idle hands. Giving up the habit was a continually failed resolution. I changed my goal to a positive, and found a different way using the Wisdom Wheel as a guide.
“It’s much easier to start doing something new than to stop doing something habitual without a replacement behaviour,” according to neuroscientist Elliot Berkman.
I channelled my late Nana and landed on crochet. Crochet fulfils all areas of the Wisdom Wheel for me. My TQ, helping develop a new skill, PQ is also being tapped into, it’s arm movements and surprisingly, muscles and movement I didn’t use before. On an SQ level it gives me time for deeper connection with my creative self. And there’s an EQ element too: what I make as gifts for friends and family strengthens relationships and brings the absolute joy of giving.
We have to remember that habits aren’t in and of themselves bad. We can set up good habits that improve our lives immeasurably.
When asked how Jerry Seinfeld became such a talented stand up and prolific joke writer, he said he employed a rule in life: ‘don’t break the chain’. Do the action one day, then the next. Soon you have a week, and that looks pretty good. Keep that calendar a chain of ticks, aiming for no zero days. The longer the chain gets, the less likely it is you’ll want to break it.
But new habits and goals can fail, right?
They can, but the most common cause of that is when we’re looking at your goals in isolation. You’re not simply trying to stop eating chocolate, you’re transforming your health, gaining a better understanding of emotions, and connecting with the vision of your higher self, someone with powerful self-control.
“If you’re walking down the right path and you are willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”
– Barack Obama
When you should reset
Another reason people make resolutions around the end of the year is the break from the norm. Most of us have some time off to pause and reflect about where we’re at on our journey. But, you don’t need to wait until next year, you just need to create some space to get clarity on priorities.
“Once a year go someplace you’ve never been before.”
– Dalai Lama
Together with my husband and kids, we managed to spend a few weeks in Canada and the US after a particularly pressure-filled time in our lives. For me, having some distance (literally and figuratively) from how my day-to-day had become, allowed me to more clearly see where I was out of balance and what shifts needed to happen.
But you don’t need a fly around the world to start your reset. A weekend away might help. If you can’t spare the time, you need to do this more than anyone. Get out into nature, an unfamiliar beach, a botanical garden you haven’t been to and you can start getting back on track with what’s most important in life.
Because as you know life can change in an instant.
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