The thing about setting goals is that life has a sneaky habit of getting in the way!
Let’s be real, I don’t think anyone’s 2020 new year’s resolutions could withstand the all-out weirdness we’ve experienced this year. So if some of your goals have fallen by the wayside, that’s ok. Ours too!
At the same time, we bet that some of your goals are really important to you and you don’t want to lose sight of them. If you’re keen to get things back on track, and feel like you have the energy to give to your goals, here are five tips our experts recommend.
1. Finding focus when the goalposts keep shifting
When everything around you is changing, or unsettled, you need to find that point of focus. In yoga, they use ‘drishti‘ which is picking out a focal point for your gaze, to help with concentration and balance. Ballet dancers fix their eyes on one spot when they’re spinning pirouttes, to help them make the full turn and not throw up with nausea!
Perhaps you set yourself several goals at the beginning of the year: make it to spin class twice a week, read at least one new book a month, save for your house deposit, learn photoshop, grow your own vegetables, start a podcast, redecorate your flat. You’ll find it a lot easier if you streamline the number of different things you’re trying to do all at once.
Turns out that humans are not actually wired for multitasking. All that energy spent switching our brains between different tasks slows us down from achieving things.
Our recommendation (always, but especially now when there is more external change happening), is to focus on one or two goals. Ideally, you’d pick one that is personally important one for you – something that you really, really want to do. That will help with determination and resilience. Plus another that is a bit easier and definitely enjoyable.
So maybe the important one is saving for your house deposit so you can get more space than you have in your shared house, or a new bike so you can easily travel around and see friends. And the fun one is making batches of your own bathtub gin!
2. Recalibrate your expectations
There’s a saying that disappointment is the gap between your expectation and the reality of a situation.
You can totally see how that fits. If you’ve ever really looked forward to something and it doesn’t quite work out as you planned, you’ll know the feeling. Maybe you booked a birthday meal at an expensive restaurant that everyone was raving about, or you spent ages planning a party and created a playlist, put up cool decorations and made a load of food you knew your friends would love, or you treated yourself to a luxury city break in Amsterdam as a treat for getting a promotion and did loads of research to find the perfect boutique hotel.
Whenever we put a lot of effort into planning something, or look forward to something for a while, chances are we’ve built up a picture in our minds for how we want it to go. Which means that when you get the table next to the toilets in the fancy restaurant, or your mates all arrive an hour late to your party and the food’s gone cold, or your Amsterdam boutique hotel turns out to have doll-sized rooms and uncomfortable beds, you feel disappointed.
Now that doesn’t mean we should set really low expectations, to avoid ever being disappointed! We want to infuse our goals with lots of hope and excitement, as that creates the enthusiasm and motivation we need to take action.
Instead, we just need to practise recalibrating our expectations with new information that we get along the way.
Expect that you will hit some bumps along the way in your plan. Expect that everything will take longer, cost more money and be a little bit less special then the pictures show! Trust that it will still be worth it overall. Stick with your goal, even if it means adjusting your expectations a little.
3. Find ways to take action
We’ve all heard that the best way to tackle a goal is to break it down into smaller pieces that are easier to manage. That does help. But the real secret is to identify those actions that will actually propel you forwards and help you make real progress towards the goal. So you become selective and focus your energy on those steps that make a difference.
It’s a bit like when you first see a magnificent hotel buffet breakfast. You don’t want to fill up on boring old fruit and yohurt and cereal. What a waste! You want to scope out all the buffet sections, then make a tactical decision to go for the high value waffles in the waffle-maker, smoked salmon, poached eggs and hash browns.
Same with goals. Break down your goal into actions. Then prioritise those actions that will have the biggest impact.
If one of your goals is to buy a home, we’ve got detailed action plans that help you get there quicker and easier. We’ve taken all the steps in the process – from saving your deposit all the way through to picking a property and getting a mortgage – and turned them into simple actions. So all you have to do is follow the instructions!
4. Get some scaffolding (support to build you up)
Think of the people you admire who have achieved some pretty impressive things in their lives. It might be Serena Williams, or Simone Biles, or Bill Gates. They all had what we call scaffolding. They were able to do big things because they used coaches and experts to help them. Yes, even Bill Gates has coaches and believes everyone should get outside help to hit their goals.
Yet, most of us plug away at things on our own. We get tired of the slog and dispirited when we don’t see enough progress. The answer is to find someone or something that can help you.
If you’re an entrepreneur, meeting with a coach or a mentor once a month is a great way to assess progress against goals and brainstorm solutions to any blocks in the road.
If you’re training for a 10k run, a few sessions with a trainer can be great for both confidence in your ability and to help you build up endurance and strength.
We know that this level of support is really important. We’ve put our expertise into creating online Masterclasses. Covering specific how-to topics on different areas of your money and lifestyle, so you can get deeper knowledge, plus mindset and other workshops to boost your financial wellbeing.
For the cost of a dinner, you can learn, ask questions and get help from people who know their stuff.
5. Join a supportive online community
You can pretty much find a community for anything you’re into, no matter how niche. When it comes to communities based around goals, you’re looking for one that provides a few things:
Inspiration: Show us the success stories! We want to see and hear from people who have done what we’re working towards. It boosts those feel-good chemicals and makes us more motivated to keep going.
Genuine help and advice: No snark please! Most of us join a community to get advice or to see others going for the same goals. So you want to make sure that the vibe is positive and helpful. The best communities are ones where you feel you can ask any question. And also contribute with things that you know.
If you’re looking for a community of people committed to achieving their life goals and helping others get there too, you are very welcome to join our friendly Facebook group, or follow us on Twitter or Instagram.
We want to finish by saying, keep going! The fact that you’ve read this far shows that you are committed to your goals. Now’s the time to re-focus on them, so you can keep seeing progress – whatever pace that may be.