One of the fastest ways to stop yourself achieving goals is to think about how you’re going to get there. That may seem contradictory but give me a sec to explain.
I’m all for planning. Actually, planning saves me A LOT of inefficiency because it means I can get a few things done at the same time if they fit logically together. For example, getting all the things you need from the one aisle in the supermarket while you’re there, instead of going from one end of the shop to the other because that’s the order your list is in. Or scheduling meetings on the same day so you can plan for an uninterrupted day of desk work.
Planning is great for those day to day tasks where you know what the outcome looks like. Want to go shopping? Write your list. Want to go on a trip? Plan your itinerary. Want to meet friends for lunch? Put it in your diary. Think it, plan it, do it.
But what about those bigger goals? The ones that seem bigger than you can imagine. Those that you have no idea HOW you would ever get there? Well, this is where the conflict can arrive. Because in those situations, all of a sudden, the how becomes super important in your mind. In fact, because you don’t know how you’re going to get there (now), you become convinced you’ll never know how, and therefore you won’t be able to get there and the how wins. The goal goes from being something to aim for, to a dismissed dream. Simply an idea you got excited about for a moment only to have it slip through your fingers. But it doesn’t have to.
When you have one those big, hairy ideas where you can’t imagine HOW you’re going to there – don’t think about the HOW. So, you don’t know how – so what?! Focusing on the ‘lack of how’ will only crush any momentum you ever had towards making that idea a reality. Put the how aside. Say yes to the idea. Lean into it. Give it space to breathe and grow legs.
There’s a well-known saying “If you can dream it, you can do it” – and that ‘doing it’ means a focus on the dream, not on the how. When you give that dream, that idea, space to breathe…it finds its own ‘how’.
At the start of this year, I wrote a list of things I wanted in place by 31 December 2019. I had no idea HOW any of these would happen. The how wasn’t my focus, the outcome was. Here’s a sample of how the year has gone:
If you stopped focusing on the how, and leaned into your (big, hairy) goal – what would change for you? If you find this idea to be a challenge…why is it a challenge? What’s one goal you’d really like to achieve, but you keep getting caught up in the how?
I’d love to hear from you! Let me know your experience with the ‘how’ by leaving a comment below.
Have an awesome week,
A couple of weeks ago, I outlined 5 Steps to Navigating Change. If you missed that blog – you’ll find it here.
Here are those steps again in brief (but for the detail, I’d really suggest checking out that blog!):
What I love about these 5 steps is the way they can be applied to change of any size. It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning a weekend away or moving across the country; whether you’re cooking a meal or catering for a party of 100s; whether you’re switching to a new work team or need to find a whole new job.
There are a couple of reasons I bring this up. One is the big O…for Overwhelm. When it comes to day-to-day things you might fly through your day without a trouble in the world – but the moment something happens that breaks you out of your routine and all you know – wham! Grinding halt. Overwhelm = nothing gets done and procrastination steps in.
Another reason is the voice is in your head that sends you all sorts of negative messages about your ability to cope and completely erases any memory of the success you’ve had before. Your brain can be so good at telling you all the things you don’t need to hear right now and turning that pimple of an issue into a Kosciuszko-sized problem. Which of course leads to the big O and nothing gets done.
With the 5 Steps to Navigating Change, you have a beautiful formula to apply to any change – regardless of whether it’s big or small. For small changes – just go from steps 1 to 5. For the big picture of a big change – you can also just go from 1 to 5. But to really get some traction, it’s much easier if you break that big change into smaller parts such as sections of work, or stages to be completed. Each of those sections or stages has its own set of 5 Steps. The starting point (or define here) and goal (define there) is different for each. Keeping the sections small and manageable helps you stay positive and focused towards the goal, which helps to overcome that big O.
When it comes to your next point of change, have a go at applying the 5 Steps. If the change seems too big, break it down into smaller parts and then use the 5 Steps for each. Let me know how you go!
Got questions? Comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the rest of your day, and thanks for reading,
Life experience has taught me a lot about change - its messiness and my desire to circumnavigate it in a more efficient way. In this blog I share my experience so you too can survive change with a smile on your face!