I often see people waiting for certain dates or times of the year to start pursuing a goal, whether it’s to better themselves, their career, or their lives in some other way. A great example of this is New Year’s resolutions. I’ve worked with so many that wait until January 1st to start the journey of achieving a goal, and the question I always ask is, “Why?” According to Forbes, statistics show that only 8% of people who set a New Year’s resolution actually achieve those goals. Have you ever considered why that is?
As a leader, I always encourage my team to set realistic goals, but more importantly, I have them create a plan to achieve that goal. It’s important to know how to motivate your team too. Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or just a major goal you’ve always wanted to achieve, it’s easy for it to be overwhelming and daunting to even get started. You’ll keep telling yourself “someday” or claiming you’ll start the journey when you reach a certain point (like January 1st or once you get a raise). What if starting that goal was really just planning out the journey of how you’re going to get there?
Think of the path to achieving a goal, like a road trip. You don’t just hop in the car and start driving on a straight road directly toward your destination across the country. You make stops, you detour, jog over to the roadways that will get you there, and you may even hit some traffic or bumps in the road. Maybe your car breaks down and you have to problem solve to fix it. But eventually, you reach your destination.
Layout your goal planning like mapping out your road trip:
1. Create “stops” along the way consisting of smaller goals that help you achieve the end goal. Make sure these are measurable goals so your timeline is realistic.
2. Have “emergency funds” (backup plans) in place just in case something goes wrong — this could simply be positive mantras to say to yourself when times get tough.
3. Look at setbacks, struggles, and failures like roadblocks and traffic jams. It may take you longer to get to where you’re going in order to bypass the problem, but you will get there.
4. Enjoy the journey. It’s so easy to be laser-focused on the end destination that you’re too wrapped up to be present in the moment.
5. Take care of yourself along the way. Sometimes you do have to make sacrifices along the way to get to your end goal, but that doesn’t mean you throw your health out the window either. Get rest, eat well, and take breaks when necessary.
6. Bring a friend. You wouldn’t go on a road trip alone, so why put all the pressure on yourself to achieve goals alone? Have an accountability partner, mentor, or team that has the same end goal as you.
When coaching leadership and goal setting, one of the most important things I emphasize is a positive, can-do mindset. Thinking of goal setting like a road trip is the same idea. I’m teaching people to view their circumstances in a particular way to make it easier to overcome obstacles and adversity. We often get in our own way when it comes to accomplishing a goal because our minds play tricks on us into thinking something is too great to overcome. Or perhaps we keep making excuses because we know the journey won’t be easy.
No matter where you are in your journey to a goal, the first thing I want you to think about is your mindset. What are you saying to yourself as you consider achieving a goal? What are your motivations for achieving the goal? Do you truly believe you can do it? Have you laid out the journey of how you’ll get to that end goal? I’m here to tell you that you can do it; you just have to believe it and set a realistic, measurable plan in place to achieve it.
So next time you tell yourself you’ll wait to start working toward your goal, remember that reaching your goal is a journey, and the sooner you embark on that journey, the sooner you’ll reach your destination goal. And don’t forget it’s really the journey that shapes you into the leader you’ll become.