I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I prefer to take time to reflect on the previous year, acknowledge what went well and what didn’t, and reset where needed.
While I enjoy using my imagination to dream about the “big” goals, I find that I don’t reach them unless I think about the actions that I need to take to actually achieve them. Recently, a coach gave me a perfect visual – a ladder. She asked, “What is the smallest first step you can take to reach your goal?” Her point was that for a ladder to be useful, you needed to be able to reach the next rung and focus on getting to the top, one step at a time.
It was a different way of explaining SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound). As a visual learner, the ladder resonated with me.
When I consider SMART goals, I’ve learned that my mindset for “achievable” is my most important driver. If the goal is achievable and I haven’t succeeded, then I know I need to make some changes to my approach … I need to reset.
In his quest for the electric lightbulb, Thomas Edison stated “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Often, that’s what it takes to reach our goals. When we have setbacks, it doesn’t mean that our goal isn’t achievable; it means we may need to consider a different approach.
Celebrate what works. Acknowledge what doesn’t. Try something different. You will learn something every time.
This Week’s Challenge: What have you wanted to achieve that you haven’t yet? Draw a ladder and place that goal above it. Identify the smallest action you need to take to start the climb, and write it on the first rung. As you complete that step, draw the next rung and write down the next smallest action. Keep it up until you reach the top. Remember to reset as you need to. It’s not a step back, it’s a learning process.
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