So you went to a great and inspiring conference, you heard powerful speakers, bought the t-shirt, had fun with your friends, got really pumped up, had a few breakthroughs, and even jotted down some goals. It was awesome!!
Then you got home and was greeted with reality; a pile of laundry, issues with your kids or spouse, bills that must be paid; work for your JOB that pays the bills; health issues… In other words, LIFE!
You don’t want to lose the great ideas and momentum that you started during the event, but first things first.
Everyone doesn’t have the ideal situation or resources to be able to just start carving out the life they want or imagined. Sometimes there are realities that can make the journey to getting there seem a little overwhelming. Take a breath. It’s okay, we all feel this way.
The reality is, if you still have that stirring that you want to change something, that’s great! It just means that you must start taking action now before that feeling goes away, if it ever does. I’m not gonna sugar-coat it for you, change is not easy and it will get downright uncomfortable, but I want to discuss in this article the most effective way to start taking action today.
I recently stumbled upon the work of BJ Fogg, Ph.D., a professor at Stanford University who has done extensive research on human behavior for the past 20 years. He says the reason people don’t change behavior in the long-term is because, “People aren’t picking specific behaviors, they’re picking abstractions”.
In a great article by Leo Wildrich on buffer social about new years resolutions, he articulates it so well I think, “Any abstract goal you have, that is not tied to a specific behavior is near impossible for your brain to focus on. Instead, the key is to make any goal a habit first. And most importantly, make it a tiny one.” In other words he says, “…you make it so stupidly easy and simple for yourself to create that habit, that there is almost no way you can fail with it.”
So let’s discuss 5 actions you can start taking today on your path to changing your life.
Download this worksheet to do this exercise. I want you to TRULY focus on doing this exercise. No excuses!
1. Select one goal to focus on. Of the long list of goals you have jotted down in your notebook or journal, I want you to choose only ONE.
2. Write down the action steps necessary to tackle that single goal. These are the steps you know about. If you don’t know, just jot down “research” or something that requires further investigation, but put something down.
3. Make yourself accountable: Tell your “tribe”. Something magical happens when you tell someone your goal. We have a built in desire to succeed or maybe it’s not to look stupid to others, whatever it is, it drives us to action. An important fact to remember is “When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real”, mentioned in Via Charles Duhigg’s book. So what does this mean for you? Surround yourself with people who are as motivated as you to achieving their goals. This doesn’t mean that you have to drop your current friends, but if they are not supportive of you reaching your goals then you must align yourself with a new circle of Mastermind buddies who want to see you succeed. Weak social support can be very detrimental to accomplishing your goals.
4. Update your checklist. You definitely want to acknowledge how you are doing in accomplishing your goal. There is something powerful that happens when you write about goals. It just makes people happy. Studies have shown that it has been associated with a significant increase in subjective well-being.
5. Celebrate your success! Research has also shown that positive feedback and rewards, increase your chances of being successful. One review by faculty members at the University of Chicago Booth School of business concluded that, “for people who are new to a particular set of tasks or goals, receiving positive feedback causes them to be more likely to adhere to a new goal”. In addition, rewarding yourself for sticking to your goal makes you feel great and is going to provide continued fuel for continuing towards finishing your goal.
Even if you fall short of your goal, don’t give up! You are not where you were when we started this process. You took a tiny step in the right direction and you are on the road to making lasting changes towards creating the life YOU want! That should feel really good. Once you finish ONE goal, start another. Keep going until you are able to complete every one that you wrote down in your notebook.
I believe in you!