dreams are goals without a plan...blah, blah, blah
Whether we put it down on paper, tell a friend, or hold it in our minds and hearts, we all set goals. It can be pretty easy to come up with what we want to do, but the struggle is getting to the finish line. There's a number of strategies out there, but one in particular has rubbed me the wrong way and I'm ready to tell why.
In this post, I'm writing about why 5-year-plans are NOT the best things for us when setting long-term goals and giving you some tips on how to develop a timeline for your goals that makes sense and won't leave you burnt out and discouraged.
it took me 2 years to ditch my 5-year plan
In 2017, I participated in an online program to become a life coach. During that time we were loaded with tools, strategies, and resources designed to help us meet our life coaching goals and help future clients do the same with theirs. Part of that was creating a 5-year-plan that would outline in excruciating detail what we wanted to have happen in that span of time. I did it and it didn't work for me for a number of reasons, primarily the length of time paired with goals that were out of my control.
We have to consider how long 5 years really is. Do it now. Take a moment to think back on where you were 5 years ago today.
How old were you? Where were you living? What were you doing for money? For fun? Who were you spending time with? What was your biggest problem?
Time is a huge component in reaching our goals. We have to consider how possible it is to attain specific things in a set amount of time. Sometimes we go too big and give ourselves a small window of time to get it done. Other times, we get too comfortable and give ourselves the whole 5 years to accomplish something that we just never get around to. It doesn't matter whether it's health and fitness, career-oriented, family plans, financial freedom, or something else. If we can't find the balance between what we want to do and when it can actually be done, we struggle.
The other half to my 5-year plan failing was the type of goals I set for myself. I didn't set goals that were specific nor achievable. I had minimal control over how some of my goals would play out. I set myself up for feeling like a failure...like the goal to become a mom. I could set a goal to try to become a mom, but I cannot guarantee that, even if going the route of IVF or adoption. Nothing is promised. Sometimes we do this to ourselves. Set the really big, vague goals that can leave us feeling like we weren't good enough, motivated enough, deserving enough. If we can't be clear and honest with ourselves when sitting down and deciding what we want to be different, we will end up disappointed, with ourselves, the ones closest to us, and the universe.
a new approach
If you can relate to this, consider making the following changes when goal setting for the short and long-term so you don't burn out or feel like a failure.
Step 1: Identify the WHAT. What do you want to be different? Be clear and concise in identify the action you want to start or stop doing. Examples: - Walk outside - Lose 5 pounds - Change careers - Manage my anxiety
Step 2: Identify the WHEN. When do you want to do this action? Examples (added on from step 1): - Walk outside every day - Lose 5 pounds in 1 month - Change careers within the year - Manage my anxiety
Step 3: Get real with yourself and what's in your full control to change. This is BIG and this is a huge reason why my 5-year plan failed. Look at your goals and find any that are not 100% in your control, then adapt them so they are! Here's my personal example:
This one was my problematic goal. I can't GUARANTEE that my body will make a baby. It's just a fact. So instead of "get pregnant," I altered it to "start a family." By changing the language, I opened the door to several other ways to meet my goal of having a family that doesn't require me to get pregnant in order to meet the goal.
Step 4: Identify the HOW. How will you make this happen? These are the actions you'll take to accomplish the big goal. There usually aren't only 1-2 of these, but possibly up to 10 depending on the overall goal. Examples (added on from step 3): - Walk outside every day:
walk to for at least 10 minutes
find a different path to walk on each week
make a plan for rainy days or poor weather
- Lose 5 pounds in 1 month:
work out for at least 30-minutes 5 days a week
find and follow a nutrition plan
create a fitness budget to include costs like gym, trainers, groceries, etc.
- Change careers within the year:
Identify a career that would meet the needs my current one does not
Job hunt for at least 1 hour every day
- Manage my anxiety
Identify triggers that bring on an attack
Run cold water up and down arms during an attack
Meditate 2 times per week
Step 5: Double back and get real with yourself again. Go back through your list and get really honest about whether or not you will actually do the actions you identified. If you hate meditation, cross it off and replace it with something calming that you'll actually do. 30-minutes each day too long? Drop it down! Don't be afraid to change what you wrote. Just because it's what you think everyone else does or you think it's the only way, stop, get creative, and do what's good for you!
#adventureinspiresadventure + adventure coach
Tired of just setting goals and not accomplishing them? Looking for accountability and motivation? Sign up for a Pay-What-You-Can Coaching Session on accountability/motivation today as your first step. You'll receive tools and strategies that the most successful goal achievers utilize.
Remember, my coaching costs will never be a barrier to you feeling supported because you set the price and 100% of your investment goes directly into our 2020 IVF fund. Help us work towards our adapted family goal while I help you work towards yours.