January is a popular month to do a self-inventory of where you are in life and where you want to be. When you have things you want to accomplish, you form New Year’s resolutions. That is, you resolve to make changes and improvements.
Then if you are like many of us, by March you’ve moved on from your resolutions. What’s worse, if you really think about it, your resolutions have been the same for the past five years!
We all get stuck in the same routine. Sometimes it’s comfortable, but sometimes it’s distressing when you want to embrace change, but can’t seem to do it.
Here are some tips for mixing it up and getting a new game plan.
1. Establish accountability. Hold yourself accountable for reaching your goals. You can let your mate know about what you are doing, or if you are not ready to involve others, keep a list of your goals. If you keep this all in your head, it’s too easy over time to change your goals, minimize them or even forget about them.
2. Set personal deadlines. It’s very easy to lose sight of your goals if you have no deadline. In the business world they are called deliverables. Think of your goal as an actual project that has a completion date. If it’s something that is going to take months, break it up into smaller goals.
Suppose I set a goal to write a book by the end of the year. This is a good start as at least I have an endpoint. But there are so many steps to the process that I’m likely to get overwhelmed with this and by June feel like it’s not going to happen. Then when the next January rolls around, I’ll plan to do it again.
It will flow much better for me if I break up my goal as such:
- Complete outline by March
- Spend one month writing each chapter for a total of 6 months
- Send to be edited by October, and so on.
With this kind of schedule, I can keep up with the small steps and push myself forward when I slow down or get distracted.
3. Welcome fear. Let’s face it, fear does not feel good. Because it does not feel good, your instinctive reflex is to avoid the things you fear. This is exactly how you can get stuck in familiar territory.
If you are uncomfortable with the unknown and you are trying to get unstuck in a particular area, then fear is a signal that you are where you should be – in the midst of change. Rather than run away, embrace it and work through it. You have to persevere to keep your efforts moving forward.
What is your fear is a cautionary red flag that you should avoid? You should have discernment to recognize reasonable dangers. This is part of the process of working through your fears. Once you recognize the danger, you find a work around. The idea is that you don’t let the fear make you completely turn away from your goal. The situation you fear may simply be a call for a redirection of your efforts.
4. Remove the chaff. This is a reference to harvesting wheat. Before this became a mechanized process, you must remove the chaff, which is the inedible portion of the plant to get to the edible grain.
Maybe you have too much chaff in your life that keeps you stuck. You could have too many activities that keep you too busy to do anything else. You could also have too many issues consuming your thoughts such that you don’t have the mental space to entertain new ideas.
There are many areas where you can feel stuck or feel as though you’re making very little progress. Moving forward may require learning a new skill. If so, put that on your goal list and get to it. Set a deadline for when you should be competent with the goal. Then move on to setting a new goal of using your newly acquired skill. Whatever your process requires, try these strategies to see if you can push through the inertia of the status quo.