Try This Instead

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

You make a commitment to get to the gym early each morning, but in the last two weeks, you only made it there twice.

You make a commitment to do a better job with your spending habits, but in the last week, you impulse bought four items that will take a few months to pay off.

You make a commitment to lose 20 pounds before an upcoming trip, but it’s now a week away and you haven’t lost any weight.

For some, these examples may raise questions of commitment. For others, it makes you wonder if the goals were too large or unrealistic for a specific time frame.

When your goals are well-intended but your achievement plan is unreasonable, you increase the likelihood of failure. And, for many, once you hit the failure wall, then the goal gets abandoned. Over my career, I’ve heard a number of people say, “be stubborn about your goals, but be flexible about your methods.” That applies here.

To set yourself up for success, consider the phrase, try this instead. As you look at your goal, break it into smaller parts. This helps you make incremental, but consistent, movement toward your goal, helping you achieve it.

When you feel yourself wandering away from a meaningful goal, ask yourself: what is something smaller I could do instead?

When you feel like your energy for the goal is waning, ask yourself: what is something I can do instead to get me energized and back on track?

When you feel like your progress isn’t in line with the effort, ask yourself: what should I try instead so I get the results I want?

Setting goals in both work and life is important, but be sure they are realistic. Then, constantly assess the effectiveness of your approach as you work on achieving your goal. If you find yourself missing your goal or getting disappointed, down or disengaged, progress will stop. When this happens, recalibrate your approach by asking yourself, what can I try instead? Smaller, more reasonable steps may be just what is needed to keep you moving forward to achieve your important goals.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. What goals do you have that need rethinking or recalibrating?
  2. What areas do you aim to overachieve in yet actually find yourself underachieving?
  3. Think about a goal that never seems to be achieved. What could you do instead – as a new approach – that will help move you forward?

Coaching is another way to help you stay on top of your goals. Coaches provide guidance, support and accountability, all things that can help you define your goals and stay on track to achieve them.

Talk to a certified professional coach to help you build goals and plans that are achievable.


Consider reading Create a Personal Report Card.

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