Overcoming Obstacles to Reach Your Goals: The Perils of Perfectionism

What is perfectionism?

Perfectionism is a character trait characterized by a person’s quest for flawlessness and often involves critical self-evaluations and concern regarding others’ evaluations.

How does perfectionism hurt you?

Perfectionism is a really common obstacle that can hinder you from reaching your goals. It is closely tied to anxiety and the result is that you are so focused on everything being “right or perfect” that you prevent yourself from taking any action at all. That fear-based paralysis kicks in and you are so caught up in worrying whether something is totally ready that you don’t move forward. This is not to say that you should not worry about quality and go through life doing a half-assed job at everything; it’s saying that you should do the best you can and then keep on moving. Interestingly, perfectionism is more common in those who were identified as gifted/talented when in school so consider it an honorable problem to have.

Action breeds action while the reverse is also true. If you just wait and wait until you feel that something is “just right,” you will likely be waiting for a very long time. Conversely, if you do your best and then put something out there, that step helps you to create future steps.

The Car Analogy

If you’re planning to drive your car from, let’s say Missouri to California, and you look at Google Maps or whatever you use, and do some planning about the best route to take and pack your bags and plot out how to avoid rush hour, etc., you will still never get to California unless you turn the dang car on and start driving! Could you get lost? Yes, and luckily, you can turn the car around or go a different direction and learn as you go. Could it get dark out? Yes, and then your headlights will turn on to help you navigate in the dark. What if something goes wrong? Flat tires, dead alternators, and other assorted car problems happen—that’s part of being a car owner but those things can be remedied even if it causes a delay in your travel.

I don’t even live in Missouri so what’s the point? All goals involve some challenges and detours, but if you start taking action, you figure out how to overcome those challenges and sometimes the detours end up being even better than your initial intended goal. Basically, a car parked safely in your driveway will never go anywhere.  

3 ways to handle perfectionism:

  1. Take a step. Any step. Figure out the most logical place to start with your goal and then take that first step. Remember: there is boldness in action.
  2. Plan on missteps. If it goes smoothly, great—now you can plan the next step. But if something goes awry or a challenge presents itself, use it as a learning tool and make adjustments. Remember: you learn more from what goes wrong than what goes right! My son once complained about getting 98% on a test and missing one question. I asked him what that question was and he knew it right away (and the correct answer) and said he would never forget that one again.
  3. Get help. There are multiple things you could try to address perfectionism. Try a meditation practice for anxiety, such as through Headspace or Brainsync. Read The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (I’ve recommended this book to many of my clients and they have gotten so much out of it). If your anxiety/perfectionism is crippling or preventing you from living your dream life, consider getting professional help from a therapist or counseling. Remember: getting help is a sign of strength because no successful person did it all on their own.  

Start today by taking a step toward your goal even though it might be scary or make you feel vulnerable. The more steps you take, the less scary it becomes and perfectionism will become a thing of the past. I’ll leave you with this quote that eloquently speaks to letting go of fear.

“You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”—Andre Gide

Make sure to like the Prosperity Facebook page if you’re not already following! Already know you’re ready to invest in making your ideal future a reality? Schedule a free coaching consultation today with Dr. Kristi to see if coaching is a good fit for you!  

Overcoming Obstacles To Reach Your Goals: Stop Should-ing Yourself to Death

What Do You Want?

The Common Shoulds of Society

We’ve already covered several common obstacles to reaching your goals, including those pesky negative thoughts and having a lack mindset. Today, we will address how to stop “should-ing yourself.” We live in a society driven by “shoulds.” Finance websites are more than happy to tell you what you should be doing with your money—save for retirement, invest in bitcoin, flip real estate, etc. Well-meaning friends and parents also have a multitude of opinions of what you should be doing with your life—get a stable job (“Be an accountant”), get married, buy a home, have children. I’m not saying that those things like having kids or buying a home are bad things—I’ve happily done both of those—I’m just encouraging you to take in all of the information and make your own informed decisions based on what’s best for YOU!

I can’t tell you how many clients sit in my office and ponder whether they “should” make a certain decision based on a variety of factors. They’ll ask me: “Do you think I should (insert “should” here: change jobs, go for the promotion and so on)?” and then wait expectantly for my answer. I often answer them with a simple question of my own: “Do you want to?” They sometimes stare at me as though I’ve asked a question in a foreign language. More often than not, I get a response along the lines of “I never thought about it.” They’ll go on to tell me they’ve been trained in a certain job field and figured it was logical to continue in that industry even though they dreaded going to work every day, or felt they would let their parents/friends/partner down if they left a stable or highly-regarded industry (have I mentioned how many lawyers I’ve had as clients?), or they felt stuck because they valued their salary even though they felt the job was crushing their soul.

Why Should is a Red Flag Word

Whenever you feel that you should do something, take a closer look because the word should usually indicates that it’s coming from somewhere (or someone) outside of yourself. For instance, a client told me he felt he should take a promotion in his company even though he couldn’t stand the job. When asked why he felt he should do that, he acknowledged that the people around him, including his parents, would view him as a success if he accepted a promotion. When I asked “Do you want to take the promotion?” it became crystal clear to him that he did not want it.

I point out that if I tell clients what I think they should do, they’ve again given their power away to an external source rather than empowering themselves. It shouldn’t matter what I think they should do; it only matters what they want for themselves. My job is to help them step into that power, discover what they want, and then help them to achieve it. Here’s the thing: nobody is more of an expert about you than you. Yes, in my role as a career coach, I help clients to unlock their potential, clarify their goals, and then break those goals down into achievable steps, but I would never presume to tell someone what those goals should be.

Is Should Always a Bad Thing?

No. For instance, you should pay your taxes because that’s part of being in a society, even though it’s not necessarily something you want to do. Let’s look at another common should. It’s common knowledge that exercise is good for you and has lots of benefits so you should do it. But it’s what you tell yourself that matters (remember the power of words we addressed in the negative thoughts post), so I encourage you to reframe those shoulds into wants if they are areas you want to improve. Figure out the want that is behind the should. Look at the following two sentences:

I should exercise more and lose some weight.

I want to be healthy and have lots of energy to care for myself and those around me.

Which of those statements is more positive and attaches personal empowerment to it? See the difference between the should statement versus the want? Let’s try one related to finances:

I should save more money for retirement.

I want to be financially independent in order to pursue my dreams and provide for my family.

Try saying the two statements out loud. Which statement is more motivating to you? In another post, we will look at the importance of the WHY behind your goals, but for now, we will look at how to focus on what you want rather than what you should do.

Here’s a quick exercise where you will reframe two should statements into want statements. Pick two areas in your life that you want to improve (not an area where others think you should improve) and write a should and want statement for each one.

  1. I should _________________________________________________________.
  2. I want ___________________________________________________________.
  1. I should _________________________________________________________.
  2. I want ___________________________________________________________.

2 Quick Steps to Refocus Your Shoulds

Step 1: Catch yourself whenever the word comes out of your mouth or pops into your head

Step 2: Stop and ask yourself, “What do I want?”

You will be surprised how quickly your real truth comes out when you pause to ask yourself that question. Next week, we will address the common obstacle known as “perfectionism.” Have a great week!

Make sure to like the Prosperity Facebook page if you’re not already following! Already know you’re ready to invest in making your ideal future a reality? Schedule a free coaching consultation today with Dr. Kristi to see if coaching is a good fit for you!  

Overcoming Obstacles to Reach Your Goals: The “Lack” Mindset

This series of posts addresses common obstacles that people encounter when trying to reach their desired goals. Last week, we addressed how to overcome negative thinking. This time, we will talk about the common perceived obstacle of “lack.”

When people have difficulty reaching their personal and professional goals, they often point to a lack of something as a reason. Lack of time. Lack of money. Lack of energy. Lack of knowledge. Lack of skills. Lack of resources. And so on. This obstacle is common because if reaching goals were easy, everyone would do it. If your common lack belief is something along the lines of “lack of smarts” or “lack of being good enough,” then I encourage you to go back and read the first post in this series about negative beliefs. Also, what you tell yourself matters, so if you tell yourself that you can’t succeed because of some “lack,” then that will be the case (see above quote). For the rest of you, here are some tips for 3 of the most common “lacks.”

  1. Lack of time. I can’t tell you how often I hear this one from my life coaching and career coaching clients (hint: it’s a lot.) Here’s the thing. Everyone has 24 hours in a day: you, your boss, your friends, and even Bill Gates, and Beyonce. Whenever someone begins describing this lack to me, it becomes evident that the issue is actually “lack of time management” rather than time. I will do an entire post on time management in the future but people take great pride in listing off all of their responsibilities and things they do in their day and why they can’t possibly find time for anything extra. You don’t find time. You make time. If something is important enough to you, you will make the time. One quick tip: schedule that thing in your calendar and you are way more likely to do it. I am also a published sci-fi author, and someone once said to me, “I wish I had time to fritter away to write a book.” As though the magical time fairy sprinkled me with extra time that she didn’t have. I get up at 4:30a on weekdays before my kids get ready for school so that I can make time for writing before my other work. Make time for what matters to you.
  2. Lack of money. Unless you are the aforementioned Bill Gates or Beyonce, you likely have some limitations with your money. I tell clients that the quickest way to determine what they really value in life is to look at every penny they spent in the past month that wasn’t for a roof over their heads and electricity. Then, look for any areas where you could shift even a few dollars toward your goal. There are a ton of posts out there on ways to save more money (a google search is great for this), but start a fund for that goal, no matter how small it is. Online accounts even let you name the account whatever you want so make it your goal name or something fun, such as Trip to Ireland account, Start My Own Catering Business account, Freedom from Corporate Enslavement account, etc. In the meantime, be creative. What can you do with the funds you have now? I guarantee you can start somewhere, even if it’s a small step. All big things start with smaller things that add up. I know someone who sold their blood plasma to pay for editing of their first book. How badly do you want that goal?
  3. Lack of knowledge. Most of us are knowledgeable in certain areas but we may have goals that stretch beyond our expertise. I encourage this because I strongly believe that all growth happens outside our comfort zones. I’ve had clients want to shift jobs into entirely new fields, clients who wanted to remodel a room in their home, and even one who wanted to build a motorcycle even though they’d never done it before. Luckily, we live in an age where a plethora of information is literally at our fingertips. I’ve had clients take online classes through places like Harvard X to learn new information, look up YouTube videos on how to install/repair/remodel various things, and send out the word on social media and email that they were interested in a new career field. Remember: knowledge can always be obtained. Plus, being a life-long learner is the key to continued growth and evolving as a human.

In Summary: Those are the top 3 “lacks” that I hear from clients though there are obviously more. I’ve said this before but if you try to view challenges more as “opportunities in disguise,” you will become more creative to your approach in solving them and future challenges won’t seem as daunting. You can absolutely achieve your goals. The key is believing it.

Make sure to like the Prosperity Facebook page if you’re not already following! Already know you’re ready to invest in making your ideal future a reality? Schedule a free coaching consultation today with Dr. Kristi to see if coaching is a good fit for you!  

Overcoming Obstacles to Reach Your Goals: Challenging Negative Thoughts

We started the year with a series of posts on how to set amazing goals for yourself. However, setting goals is always easier than accomplishing them, so next, I thought I’d address some of the common issues that cause people to stumble along the way. Today, we will tackle the super common obstacle of negative beliefs or negative thoughts.

What is a negative belief? Any thought you have that undermines your belief in yourself, others, and the world. It’s that little voice in the back of your head that acts as a naysayer to your hopes and dreams. We will focus on one’s beliefs about themselves rather than others/the world, as that is what primarily impacts your goals. As anyone’s perception of themselves is truly their reality, isn’t it better to create a reality you love instead of a negative one? Research from Cleveland Clinic found that we have about 50,000 spontaneous thoughts per day and the negative thoughts tend to be “stickier,” meaning they stay with you longer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t change how you think; and those researchers found that your brain does, in fact, change when you learn to think more positively.

What are some common negative thoughts? Some very common negative thoughts that I hear from my career coaching and life coaching clients are: I’m not experienced enough; I’m not lovable; I’m not smart enough; I’m not worthy; I’m not as good at “something” as others; etc. There are also extreme examples of this, such as when people say things to themselves, like: I’m stupid or I’m ugly.

How do negative thoughts impact my goals? Big goals aren’t easy to reach; otherwise, everyone around the world would be hugely successful and happy. Yet the difference between people who reach their goals and those who don’t isn’t typically incredible luck, skill, or lack of any obstacles. It’s perseverance and resilience. Talk to any so-called “overnight success” and they will tell you the hours of hard work and challenges they overcame to become successful.

Challenges are inevitable. They are a part of life. Plenty of people give up when they hit an obstacle due to negative thoughts, such as, I’ll never be able to do this or I’ll never be good enough. Learn to see challenges as opportunities in disguise and your life will change.

One of the greatest (if not the greatest) basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, who didn’t make the Varsity team in high school (he made JV) and interpreted that as being cut from the team, said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” He used his “failures” to drive him and motivate him to get even better. Everyone falls at times; the successful people are the ones who get up again.

How do I change my negative thoughts? Here are a few ways to tackle your negative thoughts.

  1. Identify them. Half the battle with anything in life is identifying the problem. Pick a day and catch yourself anytime you have a negative thought and stop and write that thought down (either on paper or in your phone). Do this for the entire day (or several days if you can). You will notice your patterns of typical thoughts and will likely be surprised at how often you have those thoughts. Don’t be hard on yourself. Negative thoughts are common and normal but if they’re keeping you from living your best life, you can address them.
  2. Challenge them. This is often hard to do at first which is why I have people do it on paper first. Look at your list of negative thoughts from the day and then write down a positive challenge to each thought. People who really believe their negative thoughts may have a hard time coming up with something positive they can believe. That’s okay. Start by pretending you’ve just told your best friend, a therapist, or a loved one the negative thought. How would they respond to you to challenge that thought? Write that challenge statement down even if you don’t believe it at first.
  3. Be consistent. Once you’ve written down the challenges to your negative thoughts, you are going to start catching yourself in the moment. As soon as the negative thought enters your head, immediately counter that thought with the challenge. You can do this anywhere since it’s a mental challenge, so your co-workers won’t wonder why you’re yelling “Yes, I am smart enough” at the office meeting.

Example:

Negative thought: I don’t have what it takes to get this promotion.

Challenge thought: I’m qualified for the job and have as good a chance as anyone.

Now what? After you consistently challenge those negative thoughts, you actually create new neural pathways in the brain. Eventually, instead of following the negative thoughts with a positive challenge, you will think the positive thought instead. Or you will have the negative thought and immediately dismiss it and not give attention to it. Then return to the positive statements that will help power you through to the next step. Next week, we will address the “lack” obstacle that can impact your goals (lack of time, money, resources, etc). Until then, challenge those thoughts!

Make sure to like the Prosperity Facebook page if you’re not already following! Already know you’re ready to invest in making your ideal future a reality? Schedule a free coaching consultation today with Dr. Kristi to see if coaching is a good fit for you!  

Part 4: Mastering Your Daily Goals

In last week’s post on goal-setting, we discussed how to break down monthly goals into weekly ones. In this 4th and final post on goal-setting and how to set successful goals, we tackle the most important one: how to set daily goals that move you toward your larger overall goal. Since I live in Colorado, I’ll use the mountain analogy: if you want to climb a 14er, you have to focus on one step at a time because because looking up at the peak from the very bottom can seem daunting. However, if you just focus on where you are and taking that next step, you’ll realize you’ve already climbed half the mountain.

Here are some tips on how to tackle your goals on a daily basis. Based on the last post, you’ve already sat down and addressed your overall 1-2 weekly goals so here are what you do with those weekly tasks:

  1. Decide the next day’s daily goals the night before. This is really easy to do if it’s a work-related goal because by the end of the work day, you’ll have a good idea what your next task is based on where you ended. Either way, take 5 minutes to write down the next day’s goals before you go to sleep. A huge side benefit of this is that you can release any worries about what you have to do the next day because the process of writing it down allows you to let it go. My clients tell me they sleep better because of this one thing alone!
  2. Make the tasks simple but high-priority goals. In following the 80/20 rule, you get 80% of your results from 20% of your efforts, so find out what will make the most impact on your goals and start there. If your weekly goal is to eat healthier, your first daily task may be to hit the grocery store for some healthy items for meals. If the task is complex, only put the first part of that task on your list. For instance, if you’re looking to change careers, put one task related to that on your daily list (e.g. revise resume).
  3. Have no more than 3 daily tasks on your list. This one is hard for people but stay with me. One of the things I hear over and over again from clients is how they used to put 10-20 things on their daily to-do list, but (being that they’re human) they couldn’t get to everything, so they simply re-wrote those things day after day. Doing that makes the tasks lose their impact and makes you feel like you failed. It’s better to get bonus points for doing more on your list than feeling like you didn’t finish it.
  4. Do at least 1 of those goals first thing the next morning. Whether it’s getting in an exercise session before your household wakes up or getting into the office early to cross the first thing off your list, completing the first daily goal sets the tone for the day. You start out the day with a WIN, and that feeling of accomplishment and success is highly motivating and encourages more success.
  5. Protect your time around those goals! I have some clients who do not check email until that first goal is done (this method is very powerful and I work with many clients on this time management skill), while others shut their office door or go to a different room in their house. I even have one client who has a shared workspace and uses humor to protect this time … she uses headphones and hangs a sign on her chair that says Work in Progress for that period of time. Do whatever it takes!

Think about what will happen with your large goals if you take just 1-2 steps every day toward them for an entire year! You will be amazed at your progress, especially when you look back at where you started … like standing at the mountain peak enjoying the gorgeous view around you and proud of your determination to reach the top.

Get started right now! Think of your overall weekly goals (you can use a planner or journal to track your daily progress) and list your first 1-3 daily goals for tomorrow:

  1. _______________________________________
  2. _______________________________________
  3. _______________________________________

Good luck and may you reach all of your goals this year!

Make sure to like the Prosperity Facebook page if you’re not already following! Already know you’re ready to invest in making your ideal future a reality? Schedule a free coaching consultation today with Dr. Kristi to see if coaching is a good fit for you!  

Part 2: Goal Setting: Breaking Down Big Goals into Monthly Ones

The last post discussed how to set overall goals for the whole year. Part of why people have trouble reaching their goals is that a year can seem like a long time so it’s easy to get overwhelmed with a larger goal and not know where to start. Unfortunately, sometimes when people don’t know where to begin, they either don’t start at all … or they start but give up before reaching the goal.

If you have a larger goal for the end of 2020, you want to reverse engineer that goal and break it down month by month. This way, you start with small, manageable steps that build on each other and it becomes way easier to reach your goal. I’ll give you a few examples and I’ll also provide a free monthly planning template you can try out.

Health Goal Example:

If you have a year-end goal of being healthier, think of a step you could implement first. Not ten steps–like exercising more, drinking more water, eliminating sugar, cutting carbs, increasing vegetables, meditating, etc. Pick one thing first and do that. Also, try not to be extreme in that one step. For instance, if you are currently exercising ZERO times per week and you put that your goal is to exercise every day for two hours … well, you are most likely going to fail in that goal. You want to set yourself up for success which will cause increased motivation and happiness. So, for my clients who exercise zero or once a week, we set the goal for the first month to increase exercise 2X per week. That’s it. Then, if they exercise more days some week, it feels amazing to them, like they’ve gone above and beyond. Keep it simple.

Financial Goal Example:

If you have a goal of saving for a specific vacation, kitchen appliance, etc, then research what you need to save per month given your desired timeline and make that a monthly savings goal–and put that money into a separate account for that specific thing if possible. Some online banks let you name your savings accounts whatever you want which is a fabulous idea as it creates excitement and motivation. So you can name an account “European escapades” or “kitchen remodel” which makes it even more fun to put money into it.

You would apply these same concepts to career goals, relationship goals, spirituality goals, etc. Start with the first step the first month and then assess how it goes before deciding what to implement the following month. Next week, we will go into specific weekly goal planning in a way that sets you up for success. In the meantime, you can grab this Monthly Planning Sheet to use if you want somewhere to list your goals for this month.

Make sure to check out plenty of other tips on the blog such as 5 Questions to Help You Determine Your Ideal Career.  Already know you’re ready to invest in making your ideal future a reality? Schedule a free coaching consultation today with Dr. Kristi to see if coaching is a good fit for you!  

Part 1: How to Set Realistic Goals for 2020!

Happy 2020! I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing holiday season with family and friends. I love this time of year as it’s a literal new beginning and is a great chance to set yourself up for a successful year. I’ve never been a fan of resolutions because they often don’t work for many reasons. However, I’m a huge fan of setting goals, because research has shown over and over again that people make progress in the things that they track.

This is the first in a series of 4 posts on goal-setting and we’ll start with the big overall goals you have for yourself for 2020 and the following posts will show you how to reverse engineer those goals into monthly, weekly, and daily tasks to set yourself up to succeed in those goals. Here are a few key tips to goal setting for 2020:

  1. First, you want to choose overall goals in no more than 3-4 areas of your life. Why? Because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself and then become paralyzed into inaction by those feelings. They don’t know which steps to take first, so they take no steps at all. I recommend choosing just 1-2 career goals and 1-2 personal goals for the year.
  2. Make the goals things you have control over. This is a big one. For instance, you can’t say you will get a promotion (unless you’re in charge of giving one to yourself) or that you will meet your future spouse but you can focus on doing things to improve your career such as obtain a new certification, exceed your quotas, etc. or put yourself out there on the dating market.
  3. Be specific. We’ll go more into this with the reverse engineering part of our goal setting in future posts. For now, just get as specific as possible with the overall goal. However, it’s fine to put something like “improve my relationship with my spouse,” “eat healthier,” or “change jobs” because we will drill down into more specificity in future posts.
  4. Use creative visualization. If you’re unsure where to begin as far as goal-setting, then try this creative visualization exercise. Imagine yourself at the end of 2020 and feeling like you just had the best year ever! Feel the glow of happiness and satisfaction until you’re actually smiling. Once you’re smiling because it feels real to you, you’re all set. Now think about this question while you’re still experiencing that happiness: what is different about my life in this visualization than how it is right now?
  5. What will make the biggest difference right now? That’s usually your biggest clue with where to start in terms of goal-setting. What area of your life is causing you the most frustration or discomfort? Start there. Think about that one area of your life getting better and that will help you determine your goal.

Ready to set some overall goals? You can use a notebook, laptop, planner, or just fill out the items below. Feel free to email me at drhelvig (at) yahoo.com if you’d like a prettier version of the planner sheet below or if you would like to set up a yearly planning session with me.

Personal Goals

Health:                                Spiritual/Mindfulness:  

________________________         _________________________

________________________          _________________________

Relationships/Social:                 Other:

________________________         _________________________

________________________         _________________________

Professional Goals

        Career Goal #1                       Career Goal #2

 __________________________      __________________________

Career Goal #3                      Career Goal #4

__________________________           ____________________________

Other:           ________________________________

Financial Goals

Savings Goals:                       Investment Goals:

____________________________                  _____________________________

____________________________                  _____________________________

Other Financial Goals

____________________________

____________________________

Life Coaching Worksheet: Year End Goal Assessment

I have to admit that I love this time of year! Not just because of all the cooking, family time, and snuggling with my dogs by the fireplace. I love that it’s a perfect time to take stock of the year and then make plans for the next one. Whether or not you reached all of your career goals, personal goals, or other goals, it’s so important to focus your energy ahead on what you want rather than dwell on your perceived shortcoming. Give yourself credit for every win you had, no matter how small you think it is. One of my favorite quotes by Wayne Dyer is: “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

It’s your choice whether to see the glass as half-full versus half-empty! Did you have a goal to lose 10 pounds but “only” lost 5 pounds? Rejoice in losing 5 pounds. Have a goal to meditate daily or increase your income by a certain amount but didn’t quite reach it? Celebrate meditating at least several times a week or increasing your income at all. Then make a plan for 2020 where you set actionable and specific goals. Make the overall end of year goal big but make your daily action steps small and doable–even a marathon is only accomplished step by step.

Later, I will share a sheet for setting your monthly goals to set you up for success in 2020, but for now, here is a free year-end worksheet for you to download so you can take stock of 2019 (download below). I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing holiday season!! Love and light, Kristi

Life Coaching Insights: 2019 Mid-Year Goal Check

I can’t believe half of 2019 is over already! Mid-year is a great time to take a few minutes and assess how you’re doing so far with your goals for this year. If you’re on track to meet your personal and professional goals, that’s awesome! *throws confetti* You’re doing great and should be proud so take a moment to celebrate and then keep on truckin’ along. However, if instead you are feeling like you blinked and the year is already half-over and you haven’t accomplished anywhere near what you wanted to by this point—don’t despair. You still have time. Six months, in fact. You still have half the year to focus on making 2019 a success for you.

Ready?

Step 1) Assess where you are now. What is the personal or professional goal you wanted to accomplish? What steps did you accomplish so far? What held you back or got in your way? Examine the goal itself—is it a specific enough goal with small attainable steps? Write down the goal below and make sure it is specific to what you have control over. For example, instead of “lose 10 pounds,” you would write something like “exercise 30 minutes per day.” Instead of “make more money,” you would have something specific like “work “x” hours per week on my side hustle” or “make 5 sales calls per day.” You get the idea.

GOAL: ____________________________________________________

Step 2) Break the goal down into smaller steps. Over the next 6 months, if you even take one small step per day or complete one action item, imagine where you’ll be in half a year. You can only climb a mountain one step at a time so instead of being overwhelmed and paralyzed by the sheer size of your goal, just take one step today. And then another one tomorrow. Movement creates movement, so even small steps will motivate and energize you.

What is one thing you can do today to get you on your next step to your bigger goal? Examples might include: set up a savings account, go for a walk with a friend, organize one drawer, create a profile on a dating app, make a website, etc.

Your one thing for today: _______________________________________

Step 3) Set aside a few minutes per week to review progress and determine steps for the next week. Many of my career coaching and life coaching clients tell me they prefer to do this on Sunday evening because it gives them focus for the coming week but you do you and see what works best. Assess your completed items for the past week and decide what you need to put on your daily list for the following week. Note: Only assign 1 task per day. You can always do more than one thing which is bonus but you want to set yourself up to succeed. A common mistake is when people put 20 things on their daily task list, and being that they’re human, they don’t complete them and then feel like a failure—plus, when you re-write the same unfinished tasks over and over each day, it makes them lose their impact.

Weekly goal for upcoming week:___________________________________

Then, just rinse and repeat each week. The prior week’s tasks will help determine your next steps. When a certain task feels larger than others, break that down into smaller ones that seem doable. For instance, if you’re decluttering your entire house and this week’s overall goal is the garage which is so crammed with things that you want to cry thinking about it, break that one task down into manageable pieces, e.g. Monday: the shelves by the door, Tuesday: the box of holiday decorations, etc. One of my clients who started her own business broke things down into different days and: set up her LLC, obtained liability insurance, got a logo design, created her tagline and designed her website by picking one thing per day to do. You can do anything if you break it down into small enough steps!

Here is wishing you a successful second half of 2019 and that you finish this year amazed at all that you accomplished!

Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Professional Coach who helps clients reach their goals all over the world through the magic of Skype. If you’re ready to change careers or would like a free consultation to see if coaching is right for you, please email Dr. Kristi at kristi@prosperitycoachingandconsulting.com.

5 Steps to Smart Goal-Setting in 2019

I’m not a fan of resolutions because they often don’t work—my husband tells me every year how crowded his gym gets in January but then empties out each February after people give up on their yearly gym resolution. However, I am a big believer in goal setting and the New Year is a great time to get started. Why set goals? Well, if you do the same thing you’ve always done, you will get the same results. Therefore, this year will look pretty much the same as last year if you don’t change anything, which is great as long as everything is already amazing for you. If not, decide what changes would feel good to you and make those your goals. I do an annual goal-setting session with all of my clients at the outset of each year and the following is the basic outline so you can set your own goals in order to make 2019 your best year ever!

 

  1. Begin at the end. Close your eyes and flash forward in your mind to the end of 2019 where you see yourself happy and satisfied with your year. I often use creative visualization with my clients as it helps to quickly clarify what they want out of life. The trick to visualization is to do it until you really feel the emotions of happiness, excitement, well-being, etc. Then evaluate what you just experienced in the visualization by asking “what was different than right now?” In that visualization, are you in a different, more rewarding job? Are you healthier or in better shape? Is your relationship with partner lighter and happier? Did you save more money? Does parenting feel easier and more enjoyable? Did you write that book? You get the idea. Jot down what would make the next year feel amazing to you.

 

  1. Use reverse engineering. After writing down some notes about what you would like to have happen in the next year, work backwards to see where you would need to start now. This can be tricky, especially if the difference between where you would like to be and where you are now feels huge to you. If you want to write a book but have written zero words, then pick the very first step—e.g. decide on a book topic. If you want to save more money, your first step might be exploring savings accounts or investment options. Starting a business and running your own company is a common goal I see with clients, so creating a business plan might be the first step for you before looking for office space, etc. Picturing the end goal and then breaking that down helps to see where to start.

 

  1. Start small. This may seem counter-intuitive to the “go big or go home” thinking that is prevalent in the U.S., but stick with me a minute. Too often, I have clients with a big goal and the amount they have to do to reach that goal can be overwhelming. If you want to get healthier, but your initial goals are “drink 8 glasses of water a day, give up sugar, exercise daily, master yoga, and become a vegetarian,” then you are likely setting yourself up to fail. When we cannot do everything, we often throw up our hands and say “oh well, I tried” and give up (hence the emptier gym in February). It is better to pick one thing until it becomes habit before adding another. If you currently exercise 0-1 time per week, then setting a goal of exercising 2 times per week is a realistic goal where you are setting yourself up to succeed—and then you can increase or add the next goal.

 

  1. Schedule regular check-ins. Too often, people set amazing goals…but then the whole year goes by before they revisit them and are disappointed when they didn’t reach them. Goals take time and energy to reach which is why it’s important to revisit them often. I have most of my clients do weekly assessments of their goals and it does not take much time at all. Schedule 10 minutes on a Sunday and assess where you are. Then decide what small step or steps you need to take the following week and write those down. If you do even 1-2 steps per week, think where you will be at the end of the year compared to doing nothing. Small steps add up to huge accomplishments when done consistently.

 

  1. Do it now. As in, right now. Stop and do one thing related to your goals you just created. Drink that first glass of water, open an online savings account, schedule your two weekly workouts into your planner, make plans for a date night with your spouse. Getting started is always the hardest part, but action begets action. You will feel better the sooner you take that first small step and the next steps become easier to take once you get started. Once you start making progress, the intrinsic motivation kicks in and the excitement level builds until you are well on your way to the amazing year you visualized for yourself.

 

Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Life Coach who helps clients reach their goals all over the world through the magic of Skype. If you would like more help reaching your goals or would like a free consultation to see if coaching is right for you, please email her at kristi@prosperitycoachingandconsulting.com.