“I wish I was more mindful.”
“I wish I was more efficient with my time.”
“If I could only get more organized, that would be the solution.”
Do you find yourself wishing you could make a big change in your life?
Do you wish you could live a healthier lifestyle, use your time better, or be more focused?
You’re not alone.
Almost every time I talk with a new client, I learn that they’re interested in coaching because they want to make a big change in their life.
They want to have better work life balance.
They want to finally stick to their calendar.
Or they want to get more done in less time.
And with each of these situations, I find a common pattern that seems to hold them back.
So on this podcast, I decided to share exactly what that pattern is.
Plus, I share what you can do to start making that change today.
Listen to the episode below, or stream it on your favorite podcasting app here:
Prefer to read? Keep scrolling for the entire podcast transcript.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE!
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL DISCOVER…
- Why we struggle to set big goals and make them happen
- Powerful questions you need to create the change you want in your life
- How to implement these strategies in your own life today
LINKS FROM THE PODCAST
- Sign up for your free strategy session with me here
- Take the Mastering Your Motivation training here
- Learn more about habits in episode 6 here
- Learn how to stick with your habits in episode 25 here
- Learn about batch working here
- Check out BJ Fogg’s book, Tiny Habits here (affiliate link)
SUBSCRIBE AND REVIEW
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Wondering How To Get Started On Your Big Goal? Read This. (Transcript)
Hey, friends! How’s it going today? Welcome to episode 45 where we are exploring the topic of change, and how to make lasting changes in your life.
And the inspiration for this topic came from a few different conversations I’ve had on consult calls recently. So here’s the deal. Almost every time that I get on a consult call – which is just a call I do with people who are interested in working 1:1 with me – almost every time I get on one of these calls, my client is looking to make some kind of big change in their life.
Now, most of the women I work with are business owners who are either balancing their day job and their side business, or they are looking to really scale their business without having to work 80 hours a week. And they are often looking to make big changes in how they use their time and how they approach their “work-life balance” generally.
So maybe they are looking to find more time in their day. Or maybe they want to start using their time more efficiently. Some of them just want to stop feeling so overwhelmed and distracted all the time. Etc.
That being said, there are countless areas where people want to make lasting changes in their life. Maybe they want to live a healthier lifestyle. Maybe they want to start exercising more or eating differently. Perhaps they want to get more organized or be more mindful in their lives. Maybe they want to save more money.
There are countless areas where we want to make these changes in our lives. And because I know so many of you busy awesome listeners are constantly looking for ways to stretch and grow and learn and challenge yourself to keep doing amazing things, I wanted to address this topic a little bit more specifically today.
Because I think it’s really important to have these kinds of aspirations. And I think it’s beautiful that so many of you have this desire to continue growing and that you aspire to step into these exciting changes.
What is Holding You Back From Making a Change
However, I also see a common stumbling block come up for so many people who have these bigger goals and who aspire to continue growing in different ways. And that stumbling block is a lack of direction.
In other words, we know we want to be less stressed. We know we want to be more organized. And we know we want to finally stay on top of our schedule. The challenge is that we don’t know exactly how to get there. It feels a little vague.
And as I’ve talked about in other episodes, when we don’t have a clear direction, it’s easy to let our brain start slipping into overwhelm because we’re thinking thoughts like, “I don’t know where to start.” “I don’t know how to get there.” and “I don’t know how to do this.” “I don’t know how to make these changes that I want so badly in my life.”
And since we don’t know the exact how. Since we don’t know the exact way to get from point A to point B, we just let this goal remain a vague aspiration.
And what’s more, we’ll even start using it against us. We use it as a means to beat ourselves up. We say things like, “I wish I could stick to my schedule, but I’m just terrible at it.” Or “I think I’m just perpetually overwhelmed; apparently I just can’t stay on top of things.” Or “I know I want to have a successful business, but I doubt I have what it takes.”
It’s Too Vague
I mean seriously, just think about one of your broader aspirations.
Do you have something that you constantly repeat to yourself? Are you constantly telling yourself you wish you were more organized? Or you wish you were more efficient with your time? Or you wish you had more patience or were more mindful? How long have you been thinking about making this happen? How long have you been telling yourself that things would be better if XYZ? Things would be better if I was just more productive, or more successful, or had more money.
If you’re anything like me, the answer is way too much. And for me, the broad goals that I used to use to beat myself up with concerned using my time efficiently, being more mindful, and staying more focused. I’d constantly say, I just want to use my time well. I just want to stop wasting time and getting distracted. Or I just wish I was more focused and mindful of what I was doing. I just can’t seem to get that right. And because I didn’t get any more specific than that. And I didn’t question what these changes would actually look like, everything stayed exactly the same. It was just like the quote says, “nothing changes if nothing changes.”
And since I know from both my own experience and working with my clients how unuseful it is to get stuck in that space, I wanted to explore this topic in-depth on the podcast today. And I want to help you get a little bit more clarity on your broader goals in order to help you start taking those first steps.
Getting More Specific
In other words, we’re going to step out of the mindset of “someday I’ll get there” and into the mindset of “I’m on my way today, and this is how I’m going to do it.”
So as we explore this topic today, I want you to think about that area in your life where you’re looking to make some changes. It can be a big or small change. And it can be in your personal life or your work life or your relationships. It doesn’t matter. But just think about that area of your life where you’re often telling yourself — I wish that I could just do this. Or I wish I was more that. Keep that front of mind as we go through the podcast today.
Why Do You Want This Change
So as you think about that area that you want to change, the first question I want you to ask yourself is: why do you want to make this change? Why do you want to be more efficient with your time? Or why do you want to be more organized? Why do you want to feel less overwhelmed? Why do you want to be more mindful throughout the day?
And I invite you to take some time to really explore this question. In fact, I encourage you to even spend a bit of time writing about it. You all know how much value I place in taking that big jumble of thoughts in your brain and pouring them out onto paper. Just that sheer act alone helps provide so much clarity. So again, ask yourself that question: why do I want to make this change in my life?
I want to mention that I got this simple – yet brilliant — question from BJ Fogg’s book called “tiny habits: the small changes that change everything.” and I highly recommend his book. He offers a lot of value when it comes to the power of small habits in your daily life. I will link to his book in the show notes so you can check it out If you’re interested.
Now the reason why we are starting with this question is that it helps you get a lot more concrete in your goal – or what BJ Fogg calls your aspiration. And when you can get more specific in that objective, and you understand why you want to adopt this change in your life, then often the “how” or the concrete steps that will get you there start presenting themselves more clearly.
So if you find yourself thinking: I wish I could stop feeling so overwhelmed all the time. Then ask yourself, why? Why do you want to be less overwhelmed?
And this might seem like a pretty obvious question, but the answer is going to be unique to each person. Do you want to feel less overwhelmed so that you have more time to play with your kids rather than stressing out over your to-do list? Or do you want to feel less overwhelmed so that you stop spinning out and start making quick, confident decisions at work? Everybody has their individual reasons.
Or if you find yourself thinking, I wish I was more efficient with my time or that I would stop getting distracted, why do you want to do that? Is it so you don’t have to work on the weekends and have time to go hiking? Or is it because you want to double your business revenue this year?
So again, spend some time digging into why you want to make this change in your life and get as specific as possible.
So now that you have that more specific objective – whether that’s learning how to make confident decisions, or making time to hike on the weekend, or doubling your business revenue or whatever your reason — the next step in the process is to start brainstorming different things you can do that will help you get to this more concrete goal.
Because now that we have moved away from the vague aspiration, it’s easier for a brain to grasp onto actual things we can do to get us there. It’s much easier for us to create a plan where we don’t work on the weekends than it is to simply create a step-by-step plan to be more efficient or live a healthier lifestyle.
Now here’s the deal. Depending on your goal, the exact steps may be more or less clear. And often the bigger the goal, the fewer specifics you will know right away. For example, if your goal is to double your business revenue for the year, you may not know the exact plan of attack yet, and that’s perfectly fine. Don’t stress. Because here’s what you’re going to do next.
You are going to start brainstorming a list of ways that could help you get to your end goal.
And as a word of warning, don’t get caught up in trying to create the exact plan of sequential actions that will 100% get you there. You don’t need to know the exact step by step. Right now, you are just taking time to generate lots of ideas about how you can reach that specific goal.
And in fact, I encourage you to think of at least 25 goals. Think about all of the different options and approaches you could take that would help you move toward your end objective. And once you think you’ve reached the end of your list and you’re out of ideas, ask yourself, what else? What else could I do? How else can I get there? And keep filling up that list.
And to help you stretch the possibilities even further, Fogg offers a few great clarifying questions that I want to mention, too. They include: what are things that you can start doing? What are the things you will stop doing? And what are the potential habits you want to adopt? So as you make your list, keep those questions in mind. What will you start doing? What will you stop doing? And what habits will you adopt to help you get to your end goal as efficiency is possible?
And if sticking with habits have been challenging for you in the past, don’t worry, I’ve got you. In both episode 6 and episode 25 I share some of my favorite approaches to sticking with your habits no matter what. I will link to them in the show notes, and you can also just scroll back in your app to episode 6 and 25.
Sort Through And Eliminate Options
Alright, so now that you have that list of things you could start doing, stop doing, and habits you could adopt, it’s now time to move forward on this list. And the first step in this process is weeding out the ideas that either don’t seem plausible or perhaps take more effort than you are willing to put in right now. Because again, in the previous step, we were just brainstorming ideas. We were downloading all of our thoughts onto paper without editing the ideas first.
So now we are in the editing phase, and you want to consider what things on the list just don’t seem plausible or realistic or something you’re willing to do. Scratch those out. Then, look at what’s leftover.
What Will Have The Greatest Impact
And as you look at that list, I invite you to ask yourself two questions: what would have the greatest impact on my goal? What am I most willing to do? And the things that lie within these criteria – they’re your sweet spot. These are the activities that will move you forward quickly without a lot of resistance.
Now again, when you’re trying something new, you might not know what will have the biggest impact. You might not know what will make the biggest difference in moving you forward on your goal. That’s totally okay. Give it a try. You are in the process of figuring it out. You’re throwing things at the wall and finding what sticks.
And once you figure out one thing works, and you’ve consistently implemented that thing into your system, then you can start the next idea on your list.
As you follow this process, you’ll keep building on these ideas and these actions and it will have a snowball effect. And you’ll start seeing results faster than you thought possible.
Put The Plan In Action
So let’s play this out. What would this look like? Let’s say that you are a person who wants to increase their efficiency so that they have time for hiking on the weekend. If that’s the case, what are some of the ways that you can make this happen? What are some things that you could start doing?
Start – Stop – Adopt
Well, in terms of starting things, you could block off a certain period of time on your calendar on Saturday or Sunday that is reserved for hiking. You could schedule out your week ahead of time and really get clear on the most important things you need to accomplish over the workweek. You could start delegating tasks to other people on your team. Or you could focus on batch working tasks that tend to eat up a lot of your time so that you can move through your projects efficiently. (And if you’re unfamiliar with batch working, just scroll back two podcast episodes to number 43 where I walk you step-by-step through this process.)
Thinking about what you could stop doing, your list might include: stop browsing social media during the workweek by signing out of social media on your computer, leaving your phone in the other room, or deleting the apps from your phone, etc. You could stop taking calls from people that aren’t already scheduled in your calendar.
And perhaps you could adopt the habit of only checking your email twice per day – once in the morning at 10 and once in the evening at 4.
Sort Through Your List
Once you have your list of at least 25 ideas, then you will look at those ideas and cross out the ones that just don’t seem feasible right now. So maybe while you love the idea of delegating several tasks, at the moment, it is not low-hanging fruit. You might come back to it later, but not quite yet.
Or maybe you love the idea of not taking calls that aren’t scheduled ahead of time, but due to the nature of your current position, you need to have that flexibility in your schedule.
So go through the list, and cross out the items it seemed like they may take more time on your end to implement than it will actually save. And again, you can always come back to these suggestions later as you build momentum. At the moment, we are simply narrowing down your choices to help you choose your first steps.
What Are You Willing To Do
And then finally, it’s time to identify the items in the list that seem like they’ll be the most effective and you are most willing to do. So perhaps you know you could get on board with reserving a period of time on your weekend for hiking – that doesn’t take much work, and it is necessary to make sure you fit it in your schedule.
Maybe you know there are a few projects in your regular work week that fit well with the batch working approach, so you’re going to start that. And maybe you also know that only checking emails twice a day would free up an incredible amount of time, and you’re pretty sure you can adopt that habit with ease as well.
So choose a few items on your list that you will start implementing right away, put them in your schedule, and start practicing them. And once they’re locked in, then you can add the next thing.
How Do You Need To Think And Feel?
And remember, as always, in order to make these things happen – in order to stay consistent in these behaviors – you need to get your head in the right place, too.
So as you think about each habit you want to adopt or action you plan to take, always check in with yourself. How do you need to feel in order to follow through on that behavior? What feeling do you need to generate in order to stick to that habit? And to generate that feeling, what do you need to think to yourself?
So if you need to feel dedicated to keeping your batch work plan, for example, what do you need to think to feel dedicated? Maybe it’s something as simple as, “this plan will help me hike on the weekends.” It doesn’t have to be complicated. And when you think that thought, you feel dedicated, so you stick to your batch work schedule all week. Because you do that, you finish the work on time, and your weekend is free for hiking.
And it all comes full circle.
Creating Lasting Change
So I’m telling you, this simple exercise of getting specific on your goal and identifying small actions to get you there will not only help you take action right away, but it will also move you closer toward your larger objective or your affirmation that you wanted in the first place.
Because here’s the deal, if we stick with our last example, the big, lasting change we wanted to make was to increase our efficiency overall, right? Well, I can guarantee you that by implementing batch working, limiting your time in your inbox, and creating space in your schedule for downtime on the weekend, you will not only make room to hike on the weekends but you’ll also effectively increase your efficiency. And the more things you try and implement, the greater changes you’ll see. And 99.9% of the time, you will see that efficiency carrying over into other areas of your life, too.
A Quick Anecdote
And for those of you who find yourself getting frustrated because you think you should be making faster changes. Or for those of you who get discouraged, because you think your goal isn’t happening fast enough, I want to offer you a quick anecdote that I found quite powerful earlier this week.
I was reading a book on the film composer Henry Mancini, and Mancini was a well-known film composer for several decades, and one of his most celebrated film scores is for the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And in that movie, Mancini wrote a song called Moon River, which turned out to be a very popular hit song in the 1960s. In the book, the author wrote about Mancini’s scoring process for the song. And apparently, Mancini claimed it took him 30 days and 30 minutes to compose Moon River as a melody. It took him 30 days to understand what the tune should be and how it would work, and then 30 minutes to actually write it down on paper.
And I tend to think of some of our long-term goals the same way – especially the goals that we’re not certain of the step by step process. We tend to forget the long period involved in acquiring the skills and figuring out how to do it. We overlook the time and effort that goes into setting the groundwork. And oftentimes, we give up while we’re still in that “growth period” of figuring it out. But the truth is, you’re going to reach your goal no matter what. The only thing that could possibly stop you, is if you quit. Otherwise, you just keep working until you get it.
So if you find yourself getting frustrated or it feels like you’re in a hurry to reach the end goal, remind yourself that you’re still figuring out the tune. You’re still deciding how the melody should sound. You’re still finding the process. Pretty soon you’ll be at the point where you can write that tune on paper and make your goal a reality.
And if you want some help moving forward on that goal of yours, I want to encourage you to check out my 6 weeks to success program. You can get started by checking out my free motivation training. Just go to imbusybeingawesome.com/motivation to learn my top strategies for generating motivation and commitment to your goals no matter what, learn more about my 6 weeks to success course and program, and start making those goals happen.