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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Create A Personal Report Card

By Jay Forte

So many people have good intentions to make a change in their lives. They think about it. They talk about it. They actually start to do something and then, for many, it falls apart. Why does this happen?

  1. They lack goal clarity. Basically, they aren’t really sure what they want to achieve. A clear goal is required to know which direction is forward, sideways and backward. Clarity is key.
  2. They lack an accountability partner. Sometimes, you need someone to lean on or to help you stay committed to your commitments and goals. This is why many people look to gym buddies at the start of a new workout plan. Whether it’s a workplace coach, a friend or a family member, consider sharing your goal and ask them to help keep you committed to your achievement plan.
  3. They don’t measure or keep track of goals and progress. How will you know what progress you are making if you use generic and non-measurable terms like “do better,” “improve,” “work harder” or provide no metrics or measurements at all? Measurement is critical to the achievement of all goals. It allows you to assess whether your progress is at, ahead or behind expectation.

Before you start to move forward on making any change in your life, think about creating a personal report card to keep you moving forward on your goals.

A personal report card could include a spreadsheet of goals and your current progress or performance on each, tracked on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule. For example, you may have a goal of meditating and taking time to do some self-discovery work every day, so your goal is 30 days for the month. Seeing that you completed this 12 times in the month creates a review point for you. If you only did it 12 times, how important was the goal to you? If it was important, what stopped you from meeting your goal of 30 days?

Regularly comparing your progress against a goal provides information about what’s working and what’s not, giving you information from which to make wiser and better next decisions – to do more of what’s working and to improve on what’s not working.

When it comes to goals, measurements matter.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. How can you create clear and measurable goals?
  2. What method will work best for you to measure your progress on your goals?
  3. What is one thing you can do right now to make progress on your goals?

As poet Mary Oliver asks in her poem, The Summer Day, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” How can creating clear and measurable goals help you have that “wild and precious life?”

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