tl;dr Your action plan
- Ask yourself, “What could happen if I don’t pursue this goal?” Create a visual reminder of the pain you’re avoiding by moving forward.
- Schedule time to regularly review your goal and protect that time.
- Find an accountability partner or group, or hire a professional coach.
In the first two posts of this series, you defined your big, inspiring life goal and broke it down into actionable steps. Now, you’ll build a process that supports you in achieving your goal.
Give your goal weight
You might be jazzed about your goal right now, but will you have the same level of energy a month from now?
“Change is usually not a question of capability; it’s almost always a question of motivation.” – Tony Robbins
Create a sense of urgency behind your goal. We all want to increase our pleasure and avoid pain. You’ve probably thought some about the great things that could happen if you achieve your goal, but have you identified the pain associated with failure? Answer one question to give your goal the weight it needs: What could happen if I don’t pursue this goal?
What could happen if you don’t pursue this goal?
One of my clients wanted to pursue a different career. When she asked herself this question, she identified everything from missing opportunities to connect with her family to physical back pain due to excess time sitting at a desk. When her fear was confronted with this laundry list of pain, she found clarity: “Seems like a no brainer!”
Once you’ve done this exercise, make it visual. Draw or collage the scene and post it somewhere you’ll see it every day.
Build in a review process
Review your goal on a consistent basis. Decide on a cadence that works for you — annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily — and schedule it. I use all of these time frames to some degree. If this is new for you, I recommend starting with the same 15-minute time slot each week.
Schedule and commit to consistent goal review sessions.
Next, decide the content of your goal review. For example, in a weekly review I will review my high-level vision and goals, celebrate wins, set my focus for the week, and schedule everything. You might also consider jotting down lessons learned or identifying your self-care plan.
Finally, protect this time. If you do miss a session, reschedule it and reflect on what’s getting in your way. What are you telling yourself is more important than your biggest life dream? What are you so afraid of?
Check out this post for more on my favorite planning tools.
Get help from real-life people
There’s something about have a conversation with someone that is so different from reading a book or working through something on your own.
In a recent study on accountability, it was found that if you commit your goal to someone and have a specific accountability appointment with them, you’ll increase your chance of completing a goal by up to 95%.
Increase your chance of success by 95% with an accountability partner.
To up your chance of success, consider finding an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who coaches another person to help them keep a commitment. You can help each other clarify goals, celebrate wins, and even brainstorm solutions to challenges.
Accountability comes in many forms. My husband and I have been accountability partners for diet-related goals. Currently, I’m partnered with two business peers. We use weekly emails and monthly video calls to support each other in our businesses. I use Facebook groups. And I hire life coaches.
For the best chance of success, hire a coach who specializes in the type of change you’re seeking.