Oops! I Forgot my goals!
by Coach Joelle
How many of you have ever set a goal, written it down, and then completely forgotten about it?
Months later you realize your error, but by this time you are feeling, guilty, frustrated, fearful and helpless, terrified to even open the file and face the looming failure from your unattended goals.
If this rings a bell, Claire's question below may seem all too familiar to you. Her struggle is common, a well-meaning achiever, caught up in the busyness of life, forgets their goals and by the time they remember them, the goals are less of a motivation and more of a terrorizing albatross hanging around their neck.
I liken this to my favorite recurring nightmare where it is exam time but somehow I have totally forgotten that I even took the class. Suddenly it is finals and not only have I not studied, I have never attended the class and do not even know where the class is!
I always wake up with this sense of panic and horror - how could I ever have let this happen!!!! Yech! (even worse I am in the play and have no idea what the play is about and I have never attended a rehearsal, and I find myself back stage, in costume, learning lines minutes before I go on. Gotta love the subconscious!)
So for all who are playing the goal avoidance game, this article is for you, and for anyone who has ever had a goal they were afraid they would not achieve.
Let Claire's experience serve as an example, and take comfort in the fact that you are not alone and that there is a way out.
Dear Coach Joelle
I have to set up goals every year at work and then, in December, write up a report of whether or not I met them.
Well…I can't quite recall what my goals for 2008 were!
Yes, I did write them down; I have had the folder of my goals on my desk for the past five weeks now but….
I haven't been able to bring myself to look at it.
I am afraid that I haven't even started working on them yet, and I only have about two and a half months left in this fiscal year.
I intended to do it-I really did.
All know is it didn't happen and I can't explain why right now.
Ok, so I am afraid to look because I know that I will feel like a failure.
What should I do??? It is a bright yellow folder and I am terrified to look in it!
Seeking your insight,
ANSWER:Hello Clair! Let's take care of that nasty yellow folder!!!!
First of all, there is no shame. Everything is fine and you will be ok, even if you don't accomplish the goals, even if you never open the folder. Really.
Also, you have done a great job just looking at what is going on for you and identifying where the resistance is. So BRAVO!
Here are a couple of questions for you to ponder to get you in action and on your way to peace:
1) If you do not accomplish your goals, what are the consequences? (In reality - Look past the guilt and check, what would really happen?)
2) If you do not accomplish the goals, what do you think that means about you. Inside, you have a belief about what it means if you do not do it - what is that belief? By answering this question, it will help you get clear on what we are really dealing with here (fear of disapproval, feeling not good enough, feeling not capable or competent etc.)
3) What is the worst possible thing that could happen if you did nothing about these goals?
Once you have all this down, take a look and see if you could accept that worst case scenario. If it happened, Would you survive?
If you can get your head around that, then you know that you will live through this no matter what happens. Knowing this will give you a solid foundation and a much calmer place from which to move forward.
The next step is to do everything you can to make sure that you get a better result than that worst case scenario.
Now, knowing that you will survive (because you will), resolve to take a great big breath, grab that yellow folder and look at what you wrote inside and vow to do your best.
Once you reconnect with your goals, you will likely be surprised that much of what you intended has already happened (I love how life works that way!)
Next take your unaccomplished goals and put them into three categories:
a) The stuff that must get done.
b) The stuff that you believe can get done, and want to get done in the time allotted.
c) The stuff that is not going to get done by the end of the year no matter what you do.
Next step, make yourself a plan.
The plan should include the specific action items needed to get what you need to get done, done. Don't just stop at the plan, be sure to get all the actions on the plan into your calendar so that nothing gets missed and so that these goals do not die another quiet death. Be honest with yourself about what you can do and be realistic in your planning. Where needed, be sure to delegate and ask for assistance.
Finally communicate what will not get done, ASAP.
Yep. It's time to suck it up and communicate to whoever you are accountable to about the items that will not get done. Telling your boss that you will not be finishing the payroll research project on time is never fun, but better to tell them now and renegotiate a new deadline that to show up at review time - saying "surprise! I didn't do it!"
With a new deadline and a workable plan you can add these unfinished goals as priority items for next year and take them right off of your plate until that time.
If you take these actions and have these conversations, there is no need for guilt and you will manage any possible fallout. More often than not, you will find that you have been far more concerned about your misplaced goals than anyone else who you think may be upset by the situation.
With your new plan and new deadlines you are back on schedule and in a powerful place to move forward for a peaceful and successful end of year.
Get busy sweet Claire, your goals are calling!
Get more Coach Joelle and get busy on your own goals by attending a complimentary Introduction to Passionate Powerful Living tele-seminar. Please visit www.coachjoelle.com for details and to register.
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