Quarantine is slowly coming to an end. As you adjust back into the ?new normal,? you may begin to wonder: ?What now??
How should you plan to move forward?
Maybe you had lots of plans this year. Many of those plans are now likely canceled. Should you give up on 2020 and start again next year?
For several fearful months, you haven?t been thinking about setting goals. 2020 has been a year of reflection and self-care. It was a year to pause and take things slow.
Take time to put mental health first. If you need to continue to rest, then do so.
But maybe you?re now looking to the future and wondering what to do next. How do you move forward in these upcoming weeks? How can you pick up the pieces of these past few months and move forward with purpose?
Don?t jump headfirst into an intimidating goal. This is what you do every New Year?s Day. And guess what: you scare yourself and end up quitting.
Now is not the time to rush into a life-changing transformation. But this doesn?t mean you can?t set small, measurable goals and achieve them at a steady pace. No matter the state of your environment, you can always make daily changes toward improvement.
But as you face these small goals, you may find yourself feeling a sense of dread. Pema Chödön?an American Buddhist teacher?has a name for this urge to avoid goals. She calls this shenpa.
Shenpa is addictive triggers or hooks that turn on when you?re faced with a problem.
This may be a small trigger, like your tendency to sit down and watch Netflix instead of exercising. Or it may be a big trigger, like becoming overwhelmed with your marriage and turning to alcohol for relief.
Shenpa is the urge that makes you close down. It keeps you from taking the necessary steps toward your goals. You can learn to control this tendency, face your challenges, and set new goals. But how?
1. Set SMART Goals for Yourself
A goal without guidelines is a terrifying thing to face. You?ll become overwhelmed and want to quit.
To avoid this, I?m going to share with you a set of guidelines for every goal you make. Make sure your goals are SMART:
Are you intimidated by your goal? Break it into simple steps. Create a map of mini-achievements you can complete each day, week, or month. Use the acronym SMART as a guideline.
As you finish each step, celebrate each mini-victory. Every time you complete a step on your map, you achieve success. Build on this success to propel you forward. You?ll find the process grows increasingly easier.
Every time you succeed, you?ll discover your strengths. Celebrate your strengths and apply them to upcoming challenges.
Once you set a goal, shout it out to the world. Don?t keep it to yourself.
Studies show sharing your goals with others?or working with a group to achieve a goal?makes it more likely you?ll succeed.
How does this work? Sharing your measurable goals with others makes them feel more real. This also pushes you to work harder because you don?t want to admit to someone you?ve failed.
Friends can encourage you to chase your goals. Call them when you feel shenpa creeping up on you and ask for a pep talk. You may want to find someone to complete a challenge with you. Working together can help you achieve success.
What?s the point in pushing yourself to move and complete a workout if there?s no light at the end of the tunnel? Rewards help you create, maintain, and process the motivation it takes to get a job done.
As you tackle a mini-goal, give yourself something to work towards. Reward yourself with a snack, a hot shower, or a night out with friends.
Tell yourself: ?If I do this, I?ll reward myself with XYZ.? And make sure you don?t reward yourself without reaching your mini-goal! It may take some self-control, but you can do it.
5. Hold Yourself Accountable to Crush Your Goals
Complete the steps before you by staying accountable.
Hold yourself accountable to the measurable goals you set for yourself. How many times have you skipped a workout? When was the last time you didn?t study for a test? Did you really stick to your diet?
It?s easy to let things slide. But this only makes it more difficult down the road. Show up for yourself. Do the work. Be accountable. And reap the rewards.
Remember how I told you to share your goals with others? I want you to find someone you respect to help guide you towards your goal. If you know someone who?s already achieved what you want to do, then what are you waiting for?
Pick up the phone and call her!
Have you considered working with a life coach? A life coach helps you:
Download your free worksheet below. My clients use this to track their progress every week.