Stop derailing yourself – how to be accountable

Hello hello!

We are halfway through the first month of 2021…how you doing?

(Yes, of course I said that Joey Tribbiani style)

But seriously, how are those SMART goals coming along? What’s getting in the way? What road blocks do you need to kick out of the way so you can feel super motivated and successful?

Sometimes we start our goals and realize we didn’t make them quite realistic or tangible enough and so we abandon them.

That’s like taking a road trip, realizing you forgot the right snacks an wish you had packed a sweater, and so you turn around and head home.

Instead of abandoning the pathway towards where you want to end up, instead we need to take time to reassess and renegotiate! It’s good to do this frequently, and especially after the first couple weeks when motivation starts to wane.
That’s why I’m being your unofficial accountability coach right now! Your goals are admirable, they just need a little massaging, so hang in there. How can you get back on track? Were they realistic?  

For example, my goal was to still hold down two jobs even though I have a newborn. It’s going swimmingly….

Yup, definitely nothing unrealistic about that at all….

There’s no shame in admiring your ambitions, and then creating a foundation that will actually enable you to thrive.

So, today let’s talk about setting our selves up for success.

One of my favourite experts is James Clear, author of Atomic Habits. While I haven’t met him personally (and to my horror, recently found out he was much younger than me and immensely more successful than I), his advice is so useful. Also…I guess because he is an immense success at such a young age it’s obvious that I should start taking some of his advice…

Isn’t that always the case? We take in a ton of information, our brain goes “Ohh that’s very useful! That could change everything!” and then we immediately keep doing what we were doing and hope that somehow the mere knowledge of what would work better is going to turn our life around…

Insight is great! A huge first step. But it is nothing without practice.

(Isn’t it a huge letdown when our habits don’t change by mere osmosis? We have to take action. UGH!)

Let’s talk about that:

The Theory of Planned Behaviour (sorry to bring theory up this early in the morning) states that people’s attitudes or intent towards engaging in a certain behaviour has a strong effect on whether someone will engage in that behaviour.

This is why you hear a lot of gurus give the (supremely un-helpful) advice of “if you just want it bad enough, it will happen”.

They believe that if you truly, deeply, intend and believe you can achieve something, that’s all you need to make it a success.

Clearly there is a bit missing. In actuality this theory of planned behaviour says that intentions are great, as is knowledge, but it’s not enough: You also need to examine social norms, your living environment, how much power you truly have over making the change…in other words, you need to understand your specific roadblocks.

Do you really really really want to go for that 10K jog every moring, or do you actually want to sleep in? Chances are your intentions are to wake up and run, but your deeper, unconscious desires are to get some rest.

This is why relying on intentions and desire are inadequate to get us where we want to go.

Back to James Clear: We need to set ourselves up for success by creating a success mindset. No, he doesn’t mean just saying affirmations out loud that you believe you can do it (but I suppose that won’t hurt). He wants you to create an actionable process for your goals based on what will help you achieve them, not based on the dream outcome at the end.

What this looks like is making your goal about the process, not about the end result. Rather than “I want to run a 5k”, it becomes, I want to run for 20 minutes every day, for 3 weeks, then up that to 30 minutes for 4 weeks” and so on.

This way your goal is literally built into your day and not something that you candy “I’ll get to it tomorrow”…because let me tell you, we can all say “Oh I’ll start tomorrow” if our goal is as intangible as “I want to learn to run a 5k”.

James asks you to ask yourself “When? How?” What is the deadline and what are the specific steps to get you there.

So do you need to go back to your goal and reassess? I know I do.