Wednesday, September 1, 2010

You've messed up. So what?

So you’ve vowed to exercise four times per week and you only went once last week. Are you thinking that you should just bail on your goal because you messed up? Of course not! Don't be putting that "L" sign up on your forehead and jumping to conclusions about yourself. There's not a straight line between right here where you are and the ultimate outcome you're seeking.

The process of setting and achieving goals is just like anything else in your life – it’s not going to be perfect and you aren’t going to be perfect just because you set them. Even if you go into your goal with full commitment there are many potential potholes, such as:

· Longstanding habits that need to change to achieve the goal
· Unanticipated circumstances
· Not seeing results quickly enough
· Seeing too many early results, so we think we don’t have to follow the plan
· Overly ambitious target dates
· Other goals competing for time and energy

Lighten up on yourself and give yourself an opportunity to learn. If you wait for your mindset to be completely right to move forward, for the stars to be in complete alignment and the wind to be blowing in the right direction you’ll never take action, and that won’t get you even a little bit of progress. If your goal has swerved to the side of the road here are some possible actions to take:

Make sure your goal is in written form, all the way from the big result to the itty-bittiest action step. Otherwise your brain just might revise the goal (usually downward) or you might forget a key step.

Double-check to make sure your goal is specific and measurable with a target date. When you rely on “I’ll know it when I see it” your feelings of success will correlate more with your mood swings than with your actual progress.

Put the action steps right into your PDA or calendar so you won’t accidentally schedule over them.

If you’ve found that one path didn’t work, evaluate why and revise that piece of your plan to take another shot at it.

Check your self-talk. Are you sabotaging yourself with secret messages that say you can’t do it? Manage your mindset by writing some affirmations and keeping them in the foreground.

Consider sharing your goal to gather support and accountability from others. If your mom loves to bake your favorite pie but you’re trying to drop 15 pounds let her know about your goal. She’d not want to inadvertently sabotage your progress.

Give yourself a clean slate with no self-recriminations and start again. Persistence makes more difference over the long haul than does immediate success.

Remember there are two accomplishments associated with any goal.
1.The first, of course, is the achievement of the goal.

2.The second, one you might not stop to consider, is the accomplishment associated with better understanding yourself, your motivation, and your strategies for overcoming the inevitable obstacles that stand between you and whatever it is that you want to achieve.

If you decide to make it so, life is a continuous self-improvement process. There is no finish line. This doesn’t mean that you’re never good enough. This means that you are fallible, yet have incredible potential for greatness that you’ve not even started to tap. If you’ve messed up be kind to yourself and forgive…then pick yourself up and get on with it from whatever position you're in.

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