written by Jennifer Hadley | Owner Fierce Mom Personal Coaching | Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Congratulations! You’ve survived 2020!
We’ve all been anticipating the painfully slow arrival of 2021 and have built up many new expectations for this fresh start. How does it feel?
I’ll tell you this one truth that you may or may not appreciate – if you aren’t planning for anything different, it’s going to be the same. The change of a calendar date does nothing for your personal growth other than make you a day older. Harsh, I know – but true!
I know it might be early to burst the bubble of that ‘New Year Glow’ but let’s be real for a moment and talk some truth… If we don’t do anything new, then we are going to stay the same. You can’t reach new goals if you don’t set them. And even then, if you don’t plan the daily steps to get there, they turn from goals to dreams.
This is where I come in! To help you understand first, the difference between goals and dreams, then how to set goals and build an action plan towards achievement. This is what truly makes a difference, this is where the rubber meets the road, per se.
Let’s do a quick inventory of your goals. What are some things that you want to accomplish this month, or quarter, or year?
***pro tip – go for shorter period time frames at first so you can see yourself succeed sooner as you practice this, wins = fuel for the next one! I usually go for quarterly goals because they usually require time but also come to fruition quickly giving me that rush of endorphins I need to keep me motivated***
Grab a pad of paper or a journal and write down your goal. Make sure that your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely – these are known as SMART Goals. Without the specifics, these are not goals, they are just ideas. So, let’s look at one of your top goals. Write it down. For example: I will weigh 175 lbs by April 30, 2021. This is a specific, measurable and time stamped goal that could be realistic and attainable based on the reality of where you’re starting. If your current weight is 300lbs, it’s likely not realistic to be 175 by April 30, so make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success with a little bit of a stretch so there is an actual accomplishment.
Once you have written down your goal think about the steps that you’ll need to take or the habits you’ll need to maintain in order to reach your goal. Again, specific and measurable actions so that you have some accountability. There’s a difference in saying that you’ll start going to the gym versus I will exercise for the least 45 minutes, 3 days per week. Do you see the difference? Write down 3 things you need to do in order to accomplish your goal.
The next step is crucial! If you do anything, this is it! If you set your goals without an action plan – even if they are specific and hit all of the SMART requirements – they won’t happen. This is where a planner or calendar or project management tool comes in. Whether its digital or hand-written (I go for hand-written, there’s a lot of science behind hand-written being more effective). Yes, I said project management tool – if you plan your life like a project, you’ll get more done and always be on top of and intentional in what you’re doing. This may seem daunting and it can be a little heavy in the front-end task of setting it all up, but once you have it going, it’s so freeing and makes life a no-brainer! All that to say, once you have your goals set, you MUST put the action plan into place! Set appointments in your planner (or preferred method) for these things. For example, if you’re going to hit the gym 3 days a week and shop for your meal plan and meal prep for the week, put it in your calendar. Time block those things and commit to keeping to your schedule. Same if your goal is to grow your social media presence or build a marketing campaign – you have to set aside specific times (I call them appointments with myself) to get this work done. If it’s not in your calendar, you will not get to it and then a year goes by and you’re still thinking about it! Don’t fall into this trap! Remember – a goal without a plan is just a dream!
Finally, and this is the part that people forget about when goal setting, make a coping plan for the obstacles that get in your way of achieving this goal. Things will go wrong, it happens, and if 2020 was any indication, we can expect more changes and surprises to come our way. However, having a coping plan to deal with the potential obstacles is going to soften the blow when it comes because we’re anticipating them and have a plan. Immediately our stress reflex is calmer because we’ve built a plan for it. Not that we can anticipate every little thing, or have a perfectly laid out plan – we don’t know the exact situation until it hits, but at least we’ve considered the potential damage and have considered potential solutions in advance – proactive versus reactive wins every time. And if they don’t arise – then you’ll know that you’ve set your goals and implemented your plan of achievement so effectively that there was no room for error – for that you deserve a reward!
Speaking of rewards, that’s the real last step. Don’t forget to celebrate your wins! Celebration and rewards are going to give you that sense of accomplishment, that boost of endorphins, and that push to pull off your next feat. Do NOT skip this step! Recognition and awareness of your accomplishments is so important! Why work so hard if there’s no reward after? This is where my Fierce Mom Fundamental #6 comes in – The Good Life – indulging in those guilty pleasures that we have to stop feeling guilty for. As they say in much cooler circles than mine: “Treat Yo Self!”
Are you overwhelmed? Don’t be! Goal setting is 4 easy steps:
1. Set your Goal
2. Build an action plan towards achievement (time blocking)
3. Consider your obstacles and create a coping plan
4. Reward yourself
Ok there’s one last thing…
Move on to the next goal (always be working towards something that keeps your fire burning).
If you’d like to talk about your goals, how to build your action plan, want to use the planner that I built to make this work (I use it every day and it’s everything!), or just want me to help you unpack this a bit further to your personal challenges, please reach out. I’m here and happy to help.
Jennifer Hadley is a natural born leader who thrives on building community, empowering, and being a cheerleader to others.
Her career in event planning has pivoted through Covid-19 and the downturn of that industry. Her work in coaching however, has truly been her calling. She is certified by the Certified Coaches Federation and is grateful to have made the change she’s always dreamt of.
Jennifer’s experiences have ignited her passions and pushed her to getting the most out of life. She lives confidently, authentically, and unapologetically. And through her coaching practice, she motivates and inspires her clients to do the same.
Jennifer’s greatest accomplishment and source of pride are her kids. They motivate her to be a good role model for them every day. Whether it’s volunteering in their activities, coaching their teams, or hosting events to keep their loved ones close, her kids are the heart of her inspiration.