This year will be different. Except it won’t. This year you hope to do the thing, write the book, lose the weight, go on the trip, and maybe even leave your job to follow your dream. Then reality hits and nothing changes. Here are five obstacles dragging you down and keeping you from breaking through to reach your potential in 2017.
1. You are stuck in the same self-destructive routines.
“Inertia: An object at rest remains at rest.” – Newton’s first law of motion
As humans, we are creatures of habit, and years and years of hitting the snooze button, making unhealthy choices about our diet, and staying up late binging on Netflix can result in lowered willpower. We all want to hit the reset button in 2017, but this will require making new sacrifices. It isn’t enough to start your year with a written goal, you need to make at least one major change in your daily processes. For some this means waking up 30 minutes earlier, for others, this means deleting Netflix or unplugging the TV in your bedroom. Here are 18 reasons this one choice could impact your life for the better.
2. You don’t know yourself.
“If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
What motivates you? If you can’t understand what personally lights a fire under you and triggers action, your goals are dead before they even get started.
Six years ago, I was in terrible shape. Getting laid off as an attorney and spending the next two years writing a couple of books and launching my first consulting business had been a great thing for my family and my career but had taken a terrible toll on my health. After having back surgery and gaining a bunch of weight, one day a text message arrived from my father-in-law: “How would you like to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with me next Spring?” My response was immediate, “Yes.” I found my motivation. Get in shape, lose weight, or die freezing on top of the highest peak in Africa. I call this my Kilimanjaro moment. I learned a lot about myself from this experience, I now know that I make far better progress with my goals when I have an event with a fixed date staring me in the face. Look back at your life. What has been your Kilimanjaro moment? When have you had great success breaking through and how can you replicate that?
3. You lack accountability.
“When it comes to privacy and accountability, people always demand the former for themselves and the latter for everyone else.”
– David Brin
Growing up, my family set goals once a year. We wrote them on a lined piece of paper, placed them in a folder, and then didn’t look at them until the next year when we repeated the process all over again. This was a great tradition and one that I’ve continued with my own young family, but it lacks real ongoing accountability. In software development, accountability has been perfected almost to an art form through a process called scrum. In scrum, teams set weekly goals: to build entire features or portions of the software. These are called sprints and each day the team has a daily stand-up to hold everybody accountable for their work and to remove any obstacles keeping them from completing the sprint in the designated one-week timeframe. Almost every piece of software you use, including the software, used to help you find this blog post was developed using scrum. We use a version of a scrum at Clearview Social for our developers, but we also use it for our sales team and our client success team. It works. Check out Scrum: Doing twice to work in half the time to learn more
What if you don’t have a team? You still need an accountability partner, someone to keep you honest. Here are a few different types of accountability partners for hire: personal trainer, executive coach, life coach, and business coach. Can’t afford to hire an accountability partner? Find a friend that is willing to be your accountability partner and hold a weekly or daily phone call with this person. You need accountability or your chances of changing in 2017 will take a major hit.
4. You lack purpose.
“People who use time wisely spend it on activities that advance their overall purpose in life.” – John C. Maxwell
If you can’t articulate a clear and compelling purpose behind your goals, you will lack the motivation to achieve them. In Simon Sinek’s viral TED talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” he talks about getting to “why.” I’m not going to re-hash his message, but I want to invite everyone who has set big goals in 2017 to ask three questions: How will my life change in twelve months if I achieve this goal? How will my family be impacted for the better if I achieve this goal? How will I feel twelve months from now if I achieve this goal? If your answers to these questions inspire you, you may be on to something. If they don’t, not only are your chances of achieving them less, but they might not be the right goals.
5. You lack process.
“The step that we are on is only a step to the next place, and no step regardless of how massive is ever a destination.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough
What is the next step? Break down your goals into an action plan. The next step may as simple as calling a personal trainer or buying good running shoes. Write out the steps, create a checklist, and start knocking them out one-by-one. “I want to go to the gym three days a week this year” is not a plan! Break it down. What are you going to do each day? 60 minutes of cardio? 9360 minutes of cardio in 2017? That’s a terrible plan. It’s too boring! You need a plan that changes the way you think about going to the gym and provides benchmarks along the way. Get your Vo2 max tested or body fat percentage. Find a new benchmark and a new way to think about your goal this year.
Your 2017 goals will fail unless you find new ways to break through.
I’ll leave you with the words of Bruce Lee:
“If you always put a limit on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”