Do you need a goal refresh? I think a lot of us are looking at our goals right now and trying to figure out whether we want to keep them or not. Really, it all comes down to one question, though – is the goal stagnation temporary or do you see it being permanent?
If the stagnation is permanent, it’s probably time to abandon the goals that are no longer serving us. We’ll talk in an upcoming video about how to say goodbye to a goal, but sometimes we have to acknowledge what our reality is. We have to move forward to set new goals that both excite us and are possible. Because, honestly, there’s nothing more discouraging than having goals that are impossible and can’t be accomplished no matter what. (We’ll talk about that too!)
Perhaps your goal was related to the job you had, but you no longer have that job. Or maybe it’s something you can no longer physically do. Maybe it’s something that seemed like a good idea at the time, but now you’re not so sure. The world around you has changed, something has happened where it just no longer excites you. It’s okay to acknowledge the change and move on to something new. (I give you permission, if you need it!)
If the stagnation is temporary, look at your other goals and see if you can move them forward while you wait. Instead of saying ‘no’ to the goal, say ‘not yet.’ We’ll talk more in depth in a future video about why you want to limit the number of goals that you’re working on at one time, but know that it’s okay if you can’t work on one or two of your goals right now – take the time to focus and push forward some of the other goals that you can work on now.
If you’ve seen any of my videos on the goal inserts in my Etsy shop, you’ll notice that I have room for 8 annual goals, but only 5 goals/projects in the quarterly, monthly, and weekly sections. This gives me the permission to press the pause button on goals where it might not be their time yet, whether because of external or internal circumstances.
External circumstances might include when my schedule is busy for other reasons – work, other opportunities, family obligations – and I don’t have the time to put in to the goal. Or, maybe, as it has been in early 2020, the resources I need are not available to move the goal forward. It could be a lack of income, or a lack of access to a specific business, whether at all or in a timely fashion.
Internal circumstances might be a lack of knowledge (yet) about how to move a goal forward. Or, perhaps it has to do with the amount of energy I have available. I’ve decided to commit that energy to something else, and so I press pause on a goal that requires more energy than I have left over. Sometimes the two mix: I don’t have the knowledge I need, but I also don’t have the ability right now to network with other people to get that knowledge.
Just know that it’s okay to pause a goal. This is when a good review process comes into play, making sure you review all your goals regularly allows you the opportunity to press play or pause on whatever works for you.
Your last option is to pivot a goal. We’ll talk about the pluses and minuses of SMART goals in a different video, but you might be able to accomplish a goal in a different way than you initially intended or take advantage of new circumstances to push forward a goal in a different manner. This is what I mean when I say ‘pivot a goal.‘
Let’s say your goal is health related, and your preferred method of working out is running. Perhaps the weather isn’t cooperating or you’re not able to run either outside or in the gym. Would you be able choose another type of exercise that might accomplish the same end result? Maybe it’s high intensity interval training that you can do in your living room. Or maybe it’s a form of cross training or a different sport that you can play instead. The key to doing this is to really examine the end result that you’re looking for.
Generally there is more than one way to reach that destination, unless your goal is very, very specific. And, if your goal is very, very specific, would you be satisfied with a similar, but broader goal result?
Let’s say your goal is to run a marathon by the end of the year, but there are no marathons being held for the rest of the year. You might just throw your hands up and think that all is lost, however, look at your goal more closely. How fast do you need to run to complete a marathon? Are there distance recommendations or running programs that you can focus on that, if you can do them, you are very likely to be able to complete a marathon? Maybe you focus on the distance, the timing of a mile, or the running program instead.
Maybe you’re not at the exact end result. But, you have to admit – you’re a whole lot closer than you were than when you started. Perhaps that next marathon that’s held? You’re ready. It’s just the icing on top.
Setting Goals During Uncertain Times
That being said, I think the key to revising or setting your goals during uncertain times is to make your goal really about the results, the destination you want, and not so much about how you get there or maybe even what it exactly looks like. I know that’s sacrilege in the goal setting world, but it gives you the flexibility to make adjustments on the fly, to take advantage of opportunities that might present themselves. Focus is good, but don’t forget to stop and look in a broader fashion around you to see if there might be a better way to reach the same result.
Let’s evaluate our goals.
In my intro video, I asked you to find a copy of your most recent set of goals. Make sure you have a copy of your goals out so that you can play along at home.
What excites you?
First, look at your goals. Are there any that excite you? Maybe reviewing them sparks why you wrote it in the first place? Or, looking at them right now sparks ideas. Maybe you want to grab a piece of paper have a brainstorming session? Or maybe even get to work on it now? It’s okay if there are some goals that you like and want to keep, but that don’t give you the exact energy boost I’m describing. We’ll be in life situations where energy is spread a little thin, so the spark may be smaller. But, the fact that you’re attracted to them is enough. Anyway, go ahead and put a star next to these.
What’s no longer possible?
Next, look for the goals that are no longer possible for one reason or another. For the ones that you think have a permanent status change associated with it, put an ‘x’ next to it. For those that seem like they might just need a temporary hold (you still want to do it, but can’t right this moment), put an arrow to the right.
What repels you?
Finally, look for the goals that don’t excite you, or maybe even repel you. (It’s like the Marie Kondo of goal reviews! What no longer does or never did spark joy?) We’re going to talk about wants vs shoulds in goals in a future video. For now, make a question mark next to these goals. They’re on the bubble for being kept.
Look back. Are there any goals that don’t have a mark? Check and make sure that they shouldn’t be in one of the previous three categories. However, they could just be a ‘meh’ sort of a goal. (Don’t want to do it necessarily, but need to for one reason or another? If you’re like me and don’t love fitness, my health goals can fall in this category if I’m not careful.) These goals are the ones that might need a wording refresh to make them more attractive to you. They also may need either better definition or broadening so that they are appealing again.
In my next video, we’re going to talk about how to do a goal ‘hot wash’ to figure out what’s wrong with a goal and whether it can be fixed. That’s why I haven’t told you to toss any of them out yet. It’s always good to learn from the past so we can do things better in the future. Set aside your goals with your notes so that you have it for next video when we’ll take a look at how to evaluate a goal.