Starting something new is exciting, challenging, and maybe even scary. When we set a goal for ourselves, the thrill of the journey and vision of success can be energizing. However, it can be overwhelming to take the first few actions towards that goal and keep the momentum going.
I am experiencing this right now. Between having two brand new baby businesses and embarking on an entire shift in my mental and physical health as I sit smack dab in the middle of my life, I am easily distracted, frustrated, drained, and uncertain with each step. Which business do I focus on today? Which to-do is more critical than the others? How am I going to fit in my workout? What if I have writer’s block in the time I have set aside to knock out my blog and social media posts? How will I stay motivated when I am alone in my home office much of the week?
My story is still a work-in-progress. However, I have invested a significant amount of time researching high-performance behaviors, working every day to implement new tactics, improving upon my approach and mindset, and finding ways to make consistent forward progress towards success.
Here are five actions to focus on when working towards a new goal in life:
- Understand your goal and invest in support to get there. Whether it be purchasing healthy food to foster better eating habits, or new sound equipment to start a podcast, or an executive coach to help you level up in your career, take time to learn what you will need to set yourself up for success as you learn/do/start something new. Remember that anything worth doing for self-improvement is worth your investment.
- Pick a day to start your new something and celebrate it. Be deliberate in declaring when you intend to push off the starting block. This confidence is important to get your brain and body aligned to your vision collectively. If you want to start a new fitness routine to reverse the quarantine effects, then choose a day to flip the mental switch to bring forward a different mindset about physical activity. “As of Thursday, I will ride my bike or go for a run for 20-30 minutes each morning and not sit on my sofa while I eat my meals. I have four days between now and then to prepare for this change.”
- Be discerning about your time and make it your way of life. We schedule so many things in our calendars, so why are we not more deliberate about scheduling time for those activities that advance our goals? Whatever we want to do, learn, change, achieve, or grow into requires our time and attention. Make it a point to incorporate it into your daily life. From scheduling time on your calendar to planning how events might impact your progress, to determining how to prepare for each day, be deliberate about dedicating at least part of your brain to thinking about and protecting your actions and progress related to your new goal.
- Map out your ecosystem and make pieces work together. Ensuring success requires us to understand all of the facets of our lives and how they play together. It’s a mistake not to appreciate how our personal lives impact our professional lives, how our mental health affects our physical health, and so on. Journaling about how the areas of our life play into how we approach our goals and actions allows us to see connection points, which may be areas of opportunity to enable us or areas of risk to derail us. For example, if you have started a new blog but are also an at-home mom and are struggling to focus, how might you reorganize your day to allow your inner-creative to thrive?
- Layer in what works and discard what doesn’t. Starting something new (or becoming something new) requires adjustment. Don’t shy away from trial and error. What may work for you in one week may not work the next. Early in my entrepreneurial journey, I spent a ton of time online in the morning taking digital courses to gain knowledge quickly while my brain was fresh. Over time, I realized that I needed to carve out more time away from my computer to inspire my creativity. I had to design a new schedule for my mornings to undo the habit of jumping online immediately after breakfast to capitalize on this quieter time of day for writing.
- Share your progress and journey with someone. Inviting someone on your journey with you instills a measure of accountability that will help you to keep moving forward when it gets challenging. That individual (or several) will also be there to celebrate with you when you achieve a milestone. I have found that telling my husband about new things I am doing has helped me focus on staying the course. He will periodically ask me how it is going or gently nudge me when I am veering away from what I set out to do. A similar effect can be created by sharing on social media, though that can be overwhelming, so it is not recommended for all.
No matter how big or small your goal is for starting something new, positioning yourself for success is key to realizing your potential. Whether it is a one-time event or a life-changing habit, you can breed success by investing in yourself, being deliberate about your time spent, not fearing trial-and-error, and sharing your journey to foster accountability and celebrations of achievement.
All my best and more,
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