Check up from the neck up…

So, March is upon us.  Now is an excellent time to check in on the goals you created in January.  Are you on track?

Does it feel like you are moving toward your goals?  Have you maintained any new disciplines you’ve created?

Many times, when people create goals for the New Year, they overdo it.  They believe they will be able to keep up with their unrealistic expectations long enough to create a new habit.  Then, after a few weeks they realize they made a mistake and overestimated their ability and they simply quit.  That usually happens, right about this time of year.

If one of your goals was to lose weight and you’ve never had a daily dose of exercise but you set a goal of running a mile every day.  You might never get started.  If you’ve decided to make 10 new sales calls every day but prior to your goal you’ve average 10 new sales calls a month, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

I like Darren Hardy’s view on setting and achieving goals in his book The Compound Effect.  In that book he identified rather than starting off with a huge initiative you should begin with small baby like steps that you do regularly.  The key here is ‘doing it regularly’.  If you start with smaller steps you’ll find in no time, you’ll master them and then move on to a more challenging routine.  Rather than running a mile every day, start with walking for 30 minutes.  Then, walk faster for 30 minutes each day increasing how far you walk by even one step.  Eventually, you can introduce jogging into your routine intermittently and before you know it, you’ll be jogging the entire 30 minutes.

Rather than attempting to make 10 new sales calls each day, start with one.  Do that for a week and then increase it to two calls.  If you do this consistently, in about 10 weeks you’ll be hitting your goal.

Yes, this will guarantee that you start slower, but it will also guarantee you last longer and hopefully, you’ll keep these new habits for a lifetime.

For me, I find when I start a new discipline if I hire an accountability coach I tend to stay on track.  This year one of my goals was to reduce my golf handicap to fewer than 10.  But in order to do that I needed to practice more.  I knew from past experience that even though I really wanted to be a better golfer that left to my own devices, I’d create real or imagined reasons why I shouldn’t practice every week.  So, this year I hired a coach.  Every week he and I practice together and it’s my responsibility to practice more on my own so when I arrive for my next lesson he can see movement in the right direction.

I’m happy to say, I’ve kept with my discipline and though I haven’t yet reduced my handicap, I know I’m well on my way.

For me, golf represented my physical goal.  I have goals for business, financial, family, spiritual, and health.  What are your goals?  If you’ve fallen off the wagon, it’s ok, pick yourself back up and start again.  This time, start small and gradually increase your intensity over time.

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