How did 2015 go for you? Did you complete all your expected goals for the year? If you came up short, it’s worth exploring why. Most likely you set an intention with annualized planning. When you set your sights on creating annual goals you’ve given yourself 12 months to achieve something which is probably more time than these goals actually require.
Because you perceive plenty of time available the tendency is to tackle the easiest items first and leave the harder items for last. As the harder items continue to slide back to toward December, there’s a pileup. By December, you want to be enjoying your holiday, but all the unfinished goals are distracting and pressuring you to finish them.
Questions for reflection:
1. What was your intention? Did you have a life plan or did you wing it flying by the seat of your pants?
2. Did you break your goals down into actionable steps as projects and tasks with deadlines?
3. Did you have someone hold you accountable to achieving your objectives?
4. Did you pay regular visits to your plan to gather new ideas, make tweaks, and improve your habits?
5. Did you keep good control of the unexpected items that flashed in front of you to complete?
6. Did you remember your daily priorities as they pertained to your goals?
How’d you do? Were you on your game? If you had a plan, you had a design. Did you execute? Perhaps you got overwhelmed and tried to do too much rather than narrow your focus on the most significant things!
The truth is you know the answers. So why don’t you come through on your goals? Two simple reasons: 1)you chose to do what you do because it was a priority to you, and 2) you did what you always do. The first one is obvious. If you didn’t get to your goals, it’s because something else was more compelling at the moment of truth. You chose to do something else, either because it was urgent or easy or prevented a scare some outcome. The second reason is that you did what you always do.
The purpose of a goal is to change behavior, yet, you fell back to what you normally do to feel comfortable. You have a desire to act, then before acting you meet potential risk (failure, humiliation, isolation), which leads to inaction. What you do is favor the inaction rather than action. It’s almost so simple it’s easy to miss this.
The same underlying structure keeps winning and prevailing every year!!! And you thought you’d somehow wield your willpower and push through the resistance and create change anyway! After all,
that self-manipulation and cheerleading yourself what seemed to be victory slid back to continuity instead of change.
If you want to create and keep your achievements, you have to change the underlying structure that motivates what you do.
First, write down what you want. Write the conditions you deeply desire this year in your health, business, finances, and relationships. Consider how you intend to spend your time, earn and save income, and live.
Then, write down a second vision. This one is a picture of where you are now—the one that is truly the good, bad, and ugly relative to where you want to be. Take a close look at what is working, not working, and the patterns that play out. Look at your assumptions and what they lead you to do. Current reality is an acquired taste! Don’t edit reality, instead, be factual and objective.
When you know accurately where you are (without lying) next to where you want to go, you now have two powerful points of reference that reinforce a dynamic tension seeking resolution. Energy follows the path of least resistance and will tend to go where it’s easiest to go. When you hold the tension between what you’re doing now vs. what you want, you motivate your actions in service to the higher choices that you make. You can orient yourself to the creative rather than the reactive by having a place to go and learn toward as you take action. This is the nature of the creative process, to learn.
Third, structure your actions such that you focus on your priorities in a fractal frame of reference. Think of 12 weeks as a 12 week year, a week as a month, a day as a week, and an hour as a day. A fractal is a miniature version of something without reducing its integrity. A good example is the Russian doll structure. Even the smallest one looks the same as the biggest when un-layered. When you relate with time dimensions as a fractal, you take your goals and place them in shorter time bursts. An annual goal becomes a 12-week objective.
This way you strip the goal of 12 months of time, to motivate your resourcefulness and dependence on teamwork within 1/4th the time. It’s a great way to consider impractical goals because this way the goal does something to you that an annualized outlook would not. The sense of urgency and creative thinking tends to be higher because now you’re faced with producing something that you truly have never done. You’re called upon to do things you normally would not.
So take all your life plan goals and make them 12-week objectives. Then select the one big idea in each area of your life plan, consider your current reality, then identify your next 2-3 steps with time activated deadlines to organize action. These steps to break down your goals is like taking out a magnifying glass and turning ideas into simple steps. Your goals are like destinations you see from our periscope view while your actions are like granular elements that are in service to your destination. It’s important in the creative process to maintain this orientation (informed actions) while having clarity on the technical steps required (the means). This involves concentration (intention) as well as mindfulness (momentary awareness of what is going on).
If you fail in the first 12 week year, you have another period coming right after to make a quick turn around and course correction. Your recovery is sped up. If you have a stellar 12 week year, you could head to 4x the results in the past. Each 12 week period will require the last week to be a vacation. Giving yourself four weeks vacation in one full calendar year will be an exciting step to life balance, time for reflection, appreciation and gratitude, and overall well-being to add years to your lifetime!