Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I can't believe it's not January anymore

I really can't get over how fast January has gone by. I think I say this every year, but time just seems to speed up in January.  When I stop and pause and look back on the month it feels like it only began yesterday and I've run out of days to achieve everything I set out to. My goals have outstripped the time allocated to achieve them and sometimes it kind of feels like I've let myself down. Not sure if you feel the same way, but if you do it can be the biggest downer and the fastest way of falling off the wagon, or loosing momentum for all your setting out to do. So what do you do? How do you keep on track?

I wish I could tell you I had the magic answer, but the truth is that right now,  some of my goals are in worse shape than when I started. Instead of making baby steps of progress, I've actually gone backwards.  Hands up all those who've done the same? You know who you are?  Come on... eyes closed no-one is looking. Let's get real with each other and confess... some of our good intentions for the year are already gathering dust on the shelves. We try and ignore the truth of the situation, because it feels like failure, but in the harsh light of day the truth is we've done nothing to achieve them.

On a positive note, not all of my goals are in such bad shape. My commitment to my creative outlets and my blogs is still on track - although there have been a few close calls. And I'm diligently protecting my time, my energy and my life like a mother hen protects her chicks. So there are a few things I'm on track to achieve in the coming months and year. What then is the difference? Why am I succeeding in some goals and not others? I'm not 100% sure I have the answer yet, but here's a few things I've noticed.

Having a plan has made all the difference. Last week I talked about the difference creating a roadmap for your goals and dreams makes in achieving them. For me that's truth right now. At the end of December I planned what I wanted to blog about in January and I've more or less stuck to it. In that roadmap I set both hard and soft goals. The things I wouldn't compromise on doing and the nice to haves that I wanted to do if I had time. Well I've hit all the hard goals and even a few of the soft ones. For the goals I haven't hit I haven't really had a plan. Well that's not entirely true. In my head I had thought about how I would achieve them, but I never actually wrote them down and stuck to them. There was no daily or weekly commitment to stick to. For me this makes all the difference, so now I have to set aside time to write up my goal roadmaps for February.

The second thing I've noticed is that my attitude has made all the difference. The goals I've made progress on have been things I've been wanting to do for months. I've been actively thinking about them and slowly working on a mental strategy to achieve them even before I started work on them. When I did sit down to plan and then execute on that plan it was easy because I'd already made the mental commitment to do so. The fact of the matter is when I look at the goals I've made little or no progress on I can't say I have the same attitude or mindset. They are things I want to do, but I'm not as passionate about them. I can't say I've worked through the process in my mind. It's no wonder it's easy to keep putting them off until tomorrow.

So where does that leave me today? Well right now I'm reassessing. What is it I want to achieve this year? What is really important to me? The goals I've been making progress on I plan to keep on work on. Clearly they are important to me and I have both energy and motivation to continue working on them. The goals that I've made little process on require a bit more thought. Are they really important to me? If the answer is no then they need to drop off the list. If the answer is yes then I need to make a concrete plan on getting there. If the answer is I'm not sure then I need to carve out time to answer that question. After all time is ticking away and I want to spend it doing the important stuff, not just the stuff I can do.