If you are like the over 40% of goal-setters who have abandoned their new year’s resolutions by January of the same year, then you need strategies to get back on track with your goals. In my latest Forbes post, I shared four strategies (and new book recommendations) to help you maintain those new year’s resolutions. Here are three more, counterintuitive ways to get back on track with your goals:
Double down on doing nothing
You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour. – Zen saying
Meditation is not doing nothing (think of it as training your mind, practicing visualization, or exercising your concentration muscle). However, many people resist the idea that siting still or doing anything other than bustling with activity can be productive. Yet, if you’re flailing around with a goal or meeting deep resistance to even getting started, this is exactly the time you need to take a step back and get your mind and body back in your control. When I feel rushed, I slow down by meditating. You might go for a walk, take a long shower, do some household chores or just sit in your favorite chair and enjoy some quiet. Simple acts that look like you’re doing nothing often help you ultimately do more.
Keep to yourself
Yes, in my Forbes post I promoted the idea of getting help from others for your goal, and there is value to delegating to a team, getting counsel from a mentor, or simply finding an accountability partner to report your activity to. That said, sometimes it’s better to keep a goal or its progress (or lack thereof) to yourself. If the people around you aren’t supportive or aren’t knowledgeable in what you’re trying to do (say, you’re starting a business and come from a family of longtime 9-5’ers) then sharing your plans may slow you down or stop you altogether. If each time you share your dream, you get push back or worry or even just questions, it takes energy and confidence to address these. You need to preserve your energy and confidence for your goal. (Sometimes, it’s best just to avoid difficult people.) You don’t have to share everything you’re doing — know when it’s best to keep to yourself.
What if you couldn’t accomplish what you set out to do? What would you do instead? Perhaps that “instead” is what you really should be doing. Play around with that idea to double-check whether your goal is the right focus for you, or if it is something else. Sometimes we confuse process for the end-game. In a personal example, a few years ago I set a goal to start a coaching products business, in addition to the coaching services we already offered. I learned a lot on this journey and even made a few dollars, but the most valuable lesson was that I didn’t like the product side! But one thing I needed from the product side was a way to diversify income, specifically to remove the constraint of my time attached to everything I do. For a while, I forced myself to continue with the products because income diversification was an important goal to me, and products was my process of choice. However, when I stopped to think what I could do instead, I realized I could still get to the same goal but in a complete different way. (I ended up investing in real estate, which is something completely different from how I started and completely apart from coaching, but still linked to the same goal). I got to a much better solution for me through trial and error, but you may be able to shortcut some of the angst by checking in on your choices for goal and for process separately. Don’t be afraid to switch things around!
There is often more than one way, and usually many different ways, to get what you want. If you’re stuck, experiment with something else, even if that something else looks like nothing. What new tactic will you try? What has worked for you?