The end of summer is coming up and fall (!) is just around the corner. Kids are going back to school, and work is kicking back(ish) into gear.
Beneath the bustle of activity, odd as it still is out there, there is a feeling that something is ending (sadly, not the pandemic) and beginning at the same time.
Change is in the air!
That’s what makes August a good time to regroup, reflect, and make your plan of attack for the remaining months of 2021.
If you haven’t achieved the goals you set for yourself way back in January — or if you never made any beyond sanity and survival! — don’t be discouraged. There’s still time to create something brilliant this year, and nothing feels better than pulling out a big win in the last quarter.
Here’s an exercise you can do in an hour or two during one last day sitting by the pool, soaking up the last days of summer.
Follow these six steps to set yourself up, and in a few months, you’ll be dancing your way into 2022 (literally, and metaphorically!).
Step 1: Make a List
Did you make any resolutions or promises in January? What did you swear you were going to make happen no matter what was happening outside, inside, or on Zoom?
Write down everything you wanted to accomplish this year, but haven’t yet. These things can be as simple as spending more time with family or as major as reinventing your career.
Be realistic, though. Even though we believe in time warping, you don’t have 12 months to make it happen!
Step 2: Rate Your Goals
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being “consider it done” and 1 being “haven’t thought about it since January 1st,” assess where you are on each goal.
You might find that you’re at a 6 when it comes to your exercise plan if you already own that Peloton and get on it every once in a while.
You might be at a 1 on your money goals if you vowed back in January to be debt-free and you haven’t made a dent yet (in fact, your credit has increased).
WARNING: This is not about feeling bad! It’s helpful to be honest and even humorous about your rating. You’re not judging yourself, you’re just telling the truth.
You’re trying to figure out where you stand with each goal, so you can make informed decisions about what to do next.
Step 3: Figure Out the Failure
Take an honest look at each goal on your list and figure out why you gave them the ratings you did.
What happened? We teach a concept called Personal Integrity®, which is the ability to keep a promise to yourself that is a match with your goals and the alignment of your heart, mind, and body.
If you haven’t succeeded at a goal or dream, the issue is likely to be found within those three different aspects of you. Your thoughts, actions, and/or feelings are not in accordance with your dreams.
Was your heart not in it?
Were you not smart about the plan?
Did you just get a little lazy?
Your honesty in this assessment will carry you far, and we can’t stress enough—failure is not a dirty word.
Step 4: Make the Cut
It’s time to get real. You may realize that you’re not committed to a particular goal or dream anymore, or that you need to postpone it to next year for other reasons.
Tell the truth: Own up to the areas where you fell short this year and forgive yourself so you can move on.
For example, “I’m giving up on trying to buy a house this year. I didn’t save enough for the down payment and the prices are still high.”
Take it off the list and let it go for now. You can always pick it up again in January!
Don’t put anything on your list that you don’t absolutely love and want to make happen right now.
Step 5: Make a Plan of Action
Pick three or four goals from your list that are the most important to you, and remember to consider why they still haven’t been done (heart, mind, body) as you start making real-time commitments.
Goal-oriented promises with deadlines and accountability measures, like consequences, are the most effective way to make your dreams come true.
For example, if it’s your dream to get a better job by December 31, that means making weekly promises to research, network, and job-hunt. If you don’t make good on your promises, lose the right to Instagram for a day, or your wine with dinner the following week.
The right consequence for you will sting just enough to keep you on course. Consequences aren’t punishments, they are a tool to help you stay in the right fight.
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Step 6: Create a Vision of Your Success
Picture yourself in a few months celebrating New Year’s Eve with friends and feeling proud about how you finished the year.
Come up with a toast you’re going to make about how you succeeded at your goals this year. Write down the scene and put it somewhere you’ll see every day. Share it with your friends. Reread it often, but especially when you need a little motivation boost in November.
No matter what time of year it is, it’s never too late to do this exercise, and it’s never not incredibly motivating.
Enjoy the process of pushing yourself through these last months of 2021. You can set yourself up to feel proud regardless of the number of wins you collect by December 31.
True happiness and fulfillment doesn’t come from what you get, but from what you give of yourself in the fight for your dreams.