Getting our behinds in gear
For those of us in the northern hemisphere we’re coming to the close of summer, for those down under (of which many of you are) it’s starting to thaw and the mornings are getting lighter. Team TP tells me* that as people start to migrate back from their summer breaks it’s a time of reflection and replanning for the next few month to close out the year. If you’re on the flip side and coming out of hibernation it’s a great time to start setting goals that will have an even longer impact than the rocking beach bod we’d thought we’d be building over winter but somehow didn’t prioritise [note: still a great goal and is going to be used throughout this missive as our example].
*Full disclosure I normally have to be reminded what quarter/month/day it is, but I think that’s a result of not having mini-mes and living in multiple continents.
Whether you’re an active year planner like the team, or a diary boot strapper like me, stepping back on the regular and reviewing how you’re tracking towards the bigger, more meaningful things in life is critical. It re-focuses us, hopefully gives us a sense of self-efficacy, helps us see if we need to pivot or evolve our plans, and helps us move forward.
Dreaming isn’t reserved for shut eye. Taking time to dream big and jot down your hopes and aspirations for the future is an important investment in building the life you really want. There’s a lot of research that shows we regret the things we didn’t do far more often than the things we did. However crazy they may be, going for our dreams makes us happier, more inspired and authentic people. Writing them down makes it far more likely we’ll reach for them, 42% according to the peeps in white coats. So get yourself a nice journal or notebook and get scribing. Life’s too short to pass up an accelerant that big.
Set those goals
Crafting your ambition into goals takes them from aspiration to actionable, which is what we’re going for. An oldie but goodie is ensuring your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. There’s a reason why the concept has survived the test of time, it really does work. We use this approach in Life is Short, a quick actionable guide to living the life you want – it’s a quick read and easy reference guide to doing just this. Take a few minutes to capture your SMART goals and write them down too. 42% people.
Get those goals
Finally, goals need to be converted to clear action plans. We need to break them down into the smallest actions we could take to start moving towards them. I love Dr Heather McKee’s work on this – she always tells me that unless it’s laughably small, it’s too big an action for most of us to consistently pursue it. So get those actions down. For our beach bod we need to work out how to get kale into ourselves in a palatable form, how to add in incidental exercise by taking the stairs not the escalator and so on. For our career reaching out to a new person in your chosen field every week, asking them for an introduction (or three) to build network, or researching skills needed for a shift.
Writing them down, checking in and checking them off on the regular feeds our motivation and encourages us to build the muscles of discipline and dare I say it…habit. If you find yourself procrastinating (hello, human nature) it’s worth testing out the “action drives motivation” principle. Just by doing something (again, something really small) we get cracking and it gets easier and easier to build.
The power of reflection
So that’s it…Dreams > Goals > Actions…right? Almost. Taking time to reflect on how far we’ve come is fuel for the fire of self-efficacy, giving us the strength we need to step outside our comfort zone. So carve out a little time to look back and see the awesome person you’ve built over time. One of my favourite life hacks on this front is the Time Capsule playlist on Spotify. It’s hard not to feel pumped when you listen to the tunes that you were singing along to as a young’un. Back when you started dreaming. When you see how far you’ve come, imagine how far you can go if you let yourself really dream.
We’ll be running a three month pilot course on Goal Setting & Goal Getting in Q4 – if you fancy signing up for free and helping us build it we’ll need an hour of your time a month, an open mind and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. Ping our TP Head of Community if you’re game 😊
Until next time take care, stay safe and be kind 🙌
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