I often talk to people in the fall, as they think about the year winding down and reflect on the big ideas they had back in January. So many women were sure about what they wanted and felt fired up to go for it 10 months ago.
Some wanted a new job, or to go for a big promotion.
Some say they were ready to find love.
Some wanted more harmony in close relationships.
Some yearned for more excitement in their lives.
Some wanted to lose weight.
Some wanted to grow their businesses, or shift the focus of their business.
Some knew they were holding back and wanted to show up more authentically and boldly.
Some were starved for more self-care and time for themselves.
Some yearned to have a bigger impact.
For all the determination and enthusiasm they felt at the beginning of the year, time after time I see the same thing: lots of excitement and talk early on, but little change or progress over time. Many of these women tell me about how hard they’ve tried, but that their attempts didn’t lead to the big results they were after.
Some will say that when it came down to taking serious action, they couldn’t really get started, or couldn’t build momentum, or they were unable to sustain their efforts.
What inevitably follows? Discouragement, frustration, regret, self-recrimination, self-doubt, or a toxic combination of these negative emotions. Many feel stuck. Some will say their luck was bad. Some say that external factors or dynamics were working against them. They feel like victims of circumstance.
The ambitions they started with often weigh on them now. Many resign themselves to the status quo.
Why are scenarios like this so common?
Even the most accomplished women can find themselves in a bind like this. Even when they’ve excelled professionally, they get stuck when pursuing personal ambitions or making progress toward bold new professional goals.
If you relate to stories like these, I have good news.
You are not alone, and you need not settle.
So, you ask, what’s the path forward?
I wish I could tell you there’s a magical, easy way to achieve what you had set your mind to back at the start of 2018 (or maybe years ago). But you’re too smart to believe that there’s a quick fix for making important and lasting change.
Here are the 5 steps it takes to make consistent progress to bringing your dreams and desires into reality.
1. A clear and important “Why”
When you have a goal in mind for something you really want, it needs a strong foundation. Think about the reason why you want to accomplish it, create it, or make that change in your life. Maybe it’s something you are unwilling to tolerate any longer. Maybe you have a picture in mind about something in the future that will be different if you do this. The how is always easier when you know why something is meaningful. And, getting clear about the why at the start will make it easier to stay committed to the effort required to achieve your goal.
Trying to achieve an important change in your life requires you to be willing to set clear intentions, willing to focus on the work to be done, willing to put in effort — and willing to sustain that effort, even when you fall short or experience set-backs along the way.
To take serious steps to make an important change or make a big ambition your reality, you need to believe in yourself. You must believe — in your bones — that you matter, and that you deserve the outcome. You must also believe that you can be what’s required to accomplish your goal — such being strong, or flexible, or resourceful, or committed, or confident, or resilient, or brave, to name some examples — which is the basis for believing that you really can create the future you want.
4. Commitment and action
Commitment is the key to stepping into the effort and seeing it through. This is where the proverbial rubber hits the road!
As I said, many of us start the year with big ideas and enthusiasm, but never take more than a first step, or are unable to sustain the effort that’s required. When you bring commitment to the effort, you get into motion and can keep going — especially when you run into a rough patch, or your confidence flags, or you experience a set-back, or you feel unsure of your next step.
When you are committed, you take the endeavor seriously. You schedule blocks on your calendar for the time and effort that are needed to make steady progress. You work to create new habits. You reach out for help. You stick with your plan, small step by small step, and keep moving forward even when it isn’t easy. Commitment and consistent action help you to gain momentum and are the keys to sustaining your efforts.
5. Support and accountability
Lots of people go it alone — at least at first — as they attempt to bring important changes into their lives. That works for some people. But I have personally experienced, and seen with my clients time and again, that getting expert support and guidance makes a huge difference.
Not only are goals reached, but they are reached more quickly and with less struggle when you have the loving support of a skilled coach. When you hit the (inevitable) places that struggle or discouragement show up, or you experience confusion about next steps, you have someone to turn to who helps you get back on track.
And, accountability is one of the big benefits of reaching out for support. It’s human nature to let yourself slide or stall unless someone is holding you to your commitments. A coach with whom you work on a regular basis can gently but firmly support you to stay in integrity with your commitments and keep moving forward.
If you are looking for help to finish 2018 with clarity and insight — so that you’ll have a running start for the new year — I welcome you to reach out and contact me. We can schedule a time to talk about the deep work I do with private coaching clients, or if an upcoming group coaching program would be a good way for you to get support and accountability in the company of an intimate and committed group of women. Either approach will help you to get clear, make and keep big commitments, and take big steps to realizing your dreams.
How would it feel to be living that life at this time next year?