I recently spoke at Girl Tribe Gang's meet-up in Ilkley about how to overcome barriers to creating positive change in your lifestyle or business. As someone who has spent much of my career supporting organisations and individuals to deliver new ideas and implement change, it was fantastic to share my experience and see how everyone deals with this potentially tricky topic ... it was a fab evening talking with all the amazing #girlbosses there!
As we now move toward Christmas fun (yay!) and the promise of a new year, I wanted to share with you some of what I spoke about and my top 5 tips for great ways to smash goal setting for 2018! It's time to do it differently!
1) Be SAFE not SMART!
Many of us are familiar with the idea of SMART objectives as a way to focus on realistic and achievable targets; but in terms of delivering change, this way of setting goals can often create a whole load of expectation and with it added pressure to succeed!
In behaviour change, whether in your life or business, it's often better to be SAFE!
SAFE still means that you're working towards Specific and Attainable aims, but with it, incorporating the fact that they are Flexible, forgiving AND Enjoyable! Sounds good right?!
For example, rather than deciding on a whim to do a full blown digital detox in January, why not decide to dedicate 1-2 hours a day to enjoyable mindful activities as part of a self-care routine, where you won't be using your phone. There is still motivation to achieve the goal, but it is much more achievable and FUN to focus on a target with a sense of balance; some room for anything life might throw at you, AND you're not going to end up feeling downhearted if you reach for Instagram stories in your Monday lunchbreak! The chances are at the end of the month you'll be much closer to your goal and with that feeling of success, you'll be geared up to continue making this part of an ongoing, sustained routine. ONE STEP AT A TIME :)
In your career or business, particularly if you're a solopreneur with everything on your plate, you might also choose to see SAFE objectives in this way:
SEE IT! - Visualise the goal and see yourself working towards it
ACCEPT IT! - Accept what the goal is and decide you can do it! Picture what it looks like.
FEEL IT! - What's your motivation for doing this? How would you feel if you did it?
EXPRESS IT! - What would you like to be able to tell others about your achievement? Can your picture yourself sharing your good news?
If you're a creative, non-process driven person (like me!), this way of thinking about things can be much more inspiring than feeling the need to chase a target. Focus on your big picture and keep finding your way.
2) Identify your barriers!
Soooooo many things can try to get in the way of us achieving our dreams, but the very best way to overcome them is to head them off at the pass!
Whenever I talk to my mentoring clients or we discuss barriers at my workshops, the SAME things come up time and time again! And number 1, without doubt, is FEAR!
FEAR of putting yourself out there!
FEAR that you don't know what you're doing!
FEAR of what others think!
FEAR of the unknown!
FEAR of quite simply F**KING IT UP!
But within each of those anxieties are things you can control and things you can't! You CAN put yourself out there, but you CAN'T control what others might think. It IS scary to go into the unknown, but it's also heartbreaking to let your dreams slip away. You CAN'T control the weather if you're running an event, but you CAN focus on a robust plan for your project and know that you can deliver regardless.
And with this self awareness, you can be empowered and play to your strengths to create success! So write your worries down and start working through them ... let go of what you can't change and focus on what you can - that's where your power is!
3) Move into the stretch zone!
Somewhere between our comfy, cosy, comfort zone and a state of sheer panic is a little juicy spot, right on the edge, that my amazing coach Naomi refers to as the stretch zone. This is where the magic can happen!
Often when we're looking to change things, we jump straight from what we know into the total unknown and it feels, well, terrifying! And of course then naturally we want to get straight back under a massive duvet and make things go away... ending up right where we started.
A much healthier approach is to move into your stretch zone, where things might feel a teeny, tiny bit uncomfortable, but you're less likely to run for the hills when it all starts to get scary.
So if you're terrified about public speaking or launching your YouTube channel, why not aim instead to do Instagram stories and chat to your audience for just 10 seconds at a time. That way you can perfect your craft, feel more confident in what you're doing and know that after 24 hours it'll be archived into social media heaven. Or focus on attending networking events and trying to nail your elevator pitch about what you do ... all these small things, whilst still on the edge of what's comfortable, might quickly move you towards a bigger goal.
Think about what you're looking to achieve and how you could use this.
4) Let the right people help!
Who do you know? And who do you need?
Making any sustainable change is difficult, but it's a whole lot damn harder when you don't have the right team around you! And so you need to choose them!
Your friends, colleagues, family, your lovely mum, your next door neighbour's cat ... yes they're all important to you, but are they necessarily the right people to support you to achieve your goals? Probably not.
The chances are they lack the right skills, knowledge and objectivity to really give you the advice and support you need, perhaps leaving you feeling rather lost and frustrated! Ring a bell?
Instead you need to go out there and recruit a tribe fit for purpose ... surround yourself with likeminded people, network in the right crowd, hang out with others that share your passion and prioritise getting the support you need. And remember that not all support is equal.
Some people will be there as gurus to inspire you and guide you on a strategic level. Others as peers where you feel part of a community who understands you. And then there will be those who can help you get the job (or part of it) done! Consciously make sure you have these different bases covered and if you don't, go out and fill the gaps.
Perhaps you need a coach, mentor or a senior colleague to help you with big picture thinking; maybe to join local networking circles or FB groups for your very own cheerleading squad; or is it as simple as someone who can wizz through your monthly expenses in an hour as opposed to you taking five!
Why not write down 5 ways you need support in achieving your goals for 2018 and think about who can help you get there?!
5) And most importantly... done is better than perfect!
START BEFORE YOU ARE READY! If I'd have embraced this concept, I would have launched my own business years ago! Ok, probably not the same one, but even Answers On A Postcard has changed in the six months we've been up and running because change is only natural.
Far too often, it's easy to take so long to plan things, in an attempt to iron out every minor detail or future proof what's going to happen, that we can end up putting off what we really want to achieve.
Ever told yourself that you'll launch your website when you've written 5 blog articles; that you're not quite ready to launch your new product because you need to perfect it; or you'll get healthier after Monday, your birthday, Christmas... ? Yep, me too.
Here's the thing, as simple as it sounds, it's not going to happen until you start and it's never going to be perfect either.
You're much better to focus on ways to get started and get something done, rather than dwelling on every little detail as a reason to postpone working on your goals. Practically this can be achieved by the way you structure your day. For example, I'm a big fan of the 3 item to-do list. Three big tasks to focus on that day and no pressure after that if you get them done. You start the day tackling these bigger jobs and any extras you tick off are a bonus. Answering emails and daily social media updates don't count, (but let's face it you're spending too much time on those anyway!) - instead you're concentrating on just getting the job done!
It can also be handy to break you day into 20-30 minute segments ... as much as we can often feel we're too busy to work on the things that matter, it's hard to justify that we can't find even half an hour to work on something important to us. Get disciplined, phone on silent and just dedicate that little bit of time ... before you know it, things might start happening (like this blog post that I'm squeezing into my Christmas TV watching!).
Oh the C word ... yep it's nearly time for the festivities, so in the spirit of flexible, forgiving and enjoyable goals, it's time to sign off, but I'm already looking forward to what the start of next year has in store and I hope you are too!
Apparently John F. Kennedy once said, 'change is the law of life' ... I think he might have been right. So embrace it!
2018 - it's time to do it differently! If you'd like to create change in your life or business, why not book in for a complimentary 20 minute 1-2-1 session to discuss the personal or business mentoring options I offer or take a look at my January workshops.
Have a great Christmas and a happy new year!