What To Do When You’re Losing Steam on Your Goals

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We’ve somehow all ended up in March already, inching right up on a quarter of the year over and gone. For me, I like to revisit my new year’s resolutions every few months or so to make sure I’m still on track, and to re-evaluate if necessary.

This year, I kept my resolutions much more simple than I did last year. For starters, I “only” set five, rather than the twenty I did in 2016. I also made one of my resolutions a built-in future goal setter: in other words, I made the goal to set goals (in this case, every month).

While I will catch you up on my other resolutions in another post, I wanted to visit this idea of setting monthly goals. For starters, this is not a new resolution for me—in fact, I set this exact same resolution back in 2014 (and a similar one in 2015), but then ended up giving up on it both years.

In theory, I like the idea of a monthly goal list—it’s not as hard as setting a more broad yearly goal/resolution, but it’s also got a little more heft than just something I’d write down on my weekly to-do list (that I’m still filling out every Sunday night, more or less faithfully).

But again, for the third time running, I’m struggling with it.

And I think I know why.

The first year I tried it, I gave up mid-year because I wasn’t seeing too many measurable results from the process and thought I’d be better off devoting that focus to developing certain habits I wanted in my life. Later that same year, I realized that I perhaps had been a little too hasty in giving up ALL my goal-setting endeavors in favor of habits, and I vowed to be better the next go-around.

The next year, I was pregnant with Raven and totally wiped from still teaching full time. So the month that she was born, I basically gave up on the idea of monthly goals, as I was just trying to keep my head above water in the whole new-mom thing.

This year, I was doing great in January (which is typical, really), but hardly completed any of my goals for last month. A couple had some good reasons attached, but most just sat there incomplete for no good reason at all.

So I started looking at my list a little more closely.

 

And I realized a few things…

1. I need to look at the monthly goal list regularly (like, almost every day) in order to keep it top of mind. You can’t complete what you don’t remember.

2. I tend to not want to check a monthly list that I’m not excited about. Many of my monthly goals so far have been nagging tasks that I know I need to get around to, not things I’m excited about. So, when I know that my list will show me only things I “should” be doing (and not stuff I’m eager to do), I’m less likely to want to even look at it all.

So the solution became simple, really—

Create two separate lists.

Create one list for all the “nagging tasks” I need to do, and don’t put a deadline on it (just keep adding things as they come up and crossing them off as they’re completed).

AND

Create a monthly goal list as I’d resolved, but fill it with things that excite me or that will help to propel me out of this winter-sized rut I’ve got going on over here. Even silly things—like challenging myself to try two new hairstyles (something I haven’t tried in I can’t tell you how long) or checking out a new restaurant—will make me much more excited about pursuing the items on the list and living a more full life, as my intention has been all along.

So that’s one way that I go forward when I’m losing steam—I rethink the original plan, and see how I can catch back some of the initial motivation again. It’s often not that I need to throw away my goals altogether, but that I need to continuously keep tweaking so that they’re constantly not just fresh on my mind, but also fresh with enthusiasm.

That’s how I handled it this time around, anyway.

How do you motivate yourself again when you’ve lost steam on your goals?