Baby steps to a brighter future
Happy new year everybody! I saw so many social media posts from people eager to see the end of 2016, but how is 2017 going to be any different for you? What are you going to do to make it different? Because you need to do something to make the change, it won’t magically happen on its own.
The beginning of the year is often a time of introspection, where we evaluate the year past and make goals for the year ahead. I came across this poem I wrote a while ago this morning:
As one year ends
And another begins,
We begin to think
About all sorts of things
Things to stop
And things to start,
Things to change
And things of the heart
Wishes and dreams
And to begin again
How to get ahead
And not stay the same
It pretty much sums it all up for me. But it also got me thinking. We want all this change to happen, we set all these goals. And then what? Life happens and our dreams seem to get left behind.
I was listening to a webinar by Robin Sharma yesterday on Game Changers. He gave some great tips and points that people need to adopt and work on in order to get ahead and really achieve.
One of the main points that came across was consistency – you have to consistently work towards achieving your goals else you won’t ever get there. This is not a new concept. Almost every single speaker I have listened to at various conferences and workshops I attended when I was in the corporate world made a similar point. To me that speaks to just how important consistency is.
While I always left those conferences and workshops excited to begin working on my goals, the generally manic pace of life often got in the way and so many goals remained unattained. I guess I was also often looking at the big picture, and the number of steps to get there always seemed so overwhelming and too many to take. This can leave you feeling defeated before you even begin.
I am not saying don’t dream big – you absolutely should. And just so you know, no dream is EVER too big! But what I have learnt and found is that you also need to break it down into a million small little goals and milestones along the way. My top 5 tips based on my coaching knowledge and own experiences to help you get to where you want to be this year are:
1. Define the big dream
Think long term. Make it concrete. Write it down in a journal or make a vision board, but find a way to formalise your dream that works to inspire you and keep you motivated to achieve it. Put it in a place where you can read it or see it every day.
2. Set short and medium term milestones
So you have the big idea. Great. Now how are you going get there? You need to formulate some kind of plan, and this will more than likely be a work in progress that you will keep on tweaking and adding to as you go along.
It’s important to break down the “Big Dream” into a few little parts to make it more achievable. Also celebrating small successes and milestones along the way is a great way to keep motivated. Start off with 5 things you need to do to get started. Do you need to make a phone call, do some research, buy some equipment? Whatever it may be, make a list of the first 5 things you need to get done in order to make a start towards creating your new reality.
3. Make the time
This is where the consistency thing comes in. If you really want to see the change, you need to commit to doing one small thing to achieve your dream EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. NO EXCUSES! It doesn’t have to be a huge thing. It can be anything from starting to formulate and write down an action plan to making a phone call or signing up to an electronic newsletter. Set a fixed time – ideally no less than 30 minutes – each day that is blocked off in your diary to work on your “Big Dream”. It can even be split up into a couple of 30 minutes sessions throughout the day – first thing in the morning, in your lunch hour and before you go to bed - however you can slot it in that works best for you. But make set times and stick to them as far as possible.
4. Check in with yourself regularly
Things change and people change and your dream may change. It may grow into something even bigger or it may change direction. It might fade away completely to be replaced by another dream. This means that you need to check in with yourself regularly, at least once a month, to assess what you have achieved and where you are headed and how you need to adjust your coarse to be better aligned with where you want to be. You also need to celebrate achievement of mini goals and milestones. If you are contemplating your dream, remember you are always more connected to your creative side early in the morning, so this is a brilliant time to generate new ideas and problem solving.
5. Be flexible
Stay flexible and don’t let your goals and milestones become blinkers to other opportunities you may encounter along the way. Life is dynamic, so always be ready to change course, seize new opportunities and make the most of where you are at.
I can hear you thinking: “Well I have more than one goal, and if I need to do all this for one, how will I fit in the time to work on all the others?” Prioritize. Split the time up and give the biggest or most important goal the most of your time.
There is a saying that goes taking the first step is a job half done or something like that. It’s true. So when it all feels too far away, unattainable or just too overwhelming, break it down into a couple of super small steps. But most importantly, take one small step EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!
© Michelle Funke Coaching 2016