Lauren Jonik: The new year is typically a time when people are inspired to set new intentions and think about their goals for the coming months. Often, it seems the challenge for many people is not thinking of areas in need of improvement, but adopting new practices to make intentions reality. What are some steps people can take to create change that lasts?
Jenna Armato: The first step toward being intentional is focusing on the journey and not just the goal. It’s a shift from being goal conscious to growth conscious.
One key is to understand WHY you’re looking to make changes in the first place. Look at each of the goals you’ve set and ask why you want to grow in this area and how it’s going to make you feel once you accomplish it. Knowing why you’re looking to grow creates an emotional connection that can really power discipline and consistency in your growth journey.
Next, I suggest writing down your goals and putting them in a small box, or tin. Set a date with yourself one year from now to open the tin and see how far you’ve come. Have you ever heard someone say, “A year ago, I never thought I would be sitting here today…”. It’s so true! Giving yourself that one year time frame really helps with motivation, discipline, and perspective.
One helpful tool is a growth journal, this is a great place to keep your WHY statements, and identify your growth goals. It is also the place you can track your progress. Sometimes, we tend to lose sight of just how much we’ve accomplished. If you find yourself doubting your progress, review your growth journal and I bet you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come!
Now you’ve got a place to write your growth goals, but it also helps to say them out loud. When you share your goals with friends or colleagues, it reaffirms to yourself that you are committed to making them happen and builds in some accountability. If you need an extra boost in the discipline department, you can ask a friend or colleague to check in with you from time to time to see how you are progressing – and to make sure you’re doing so.
Once a week, do two things, 1) Reflect on the week you just had. What lessons did you learn that you can apply moving forward? 2) List 3 things you want to do in the week ahead that get you closer to your end goals. This can be a great way to keep things manageable and keep you focused.
Remember the 2 P’s patience and persistence. Change is not going to come overnight, but when you look over your shoulder a year from now, or even 6 months from now, you will be AMAZED at how much you were able to accomplish!
LJ: You’ve written about the power of reflection on your blog. For those who haven’t read it yet, how can reflecting help to get the day off to a good start? What does the process look like?
JA: Daily reflection is something that really changed my life. It only takes a few minutes each morning, and it’s an amazing way to connect more closely with yourself and if you so choose – a higher power. There are faith-based daily devotional books, or motivational books featuring a quote for every day of the year, or you can even grab an inspirational story and read a few pages of each morning. Whichever you choose, taking 5 minutes each day before you dive into your email or the hectic pace of the day, is an amazing way to keep yourself centered and grounded. It might also be the only 5 minutes you have for yourself during the day – take the time to invest in yourself
There’s also weekly reflection. This is the time you build in at the end of each week or after a particularly challenging experience to review highs and lows, what you did well that you can proactively leverage moving forward, what areas you feel you can improve upon – and how you plan to do so.
LJ: Sometimes, it is easy to see the big picture and know where you want to go, but getting there can be a process. How can big goals be made more manageable?
JA: I would suggest using a journal where you house all notes and working “to-do’s” related to your big picture goal. Set a date or time frame that you’re working toward, 3 months, 3 years, whatever it is, put a time frame on it to give yourself some perspective and pace yourself accordingly. Make sure you’re doing at least one thing every day that’s getting you closer to achieving your desired result. At the beginning of each week, list out 2 or 3 things that you want to get accomplished in that week. That’s an activity that can keep you focused, keep you moving, and keep your giant goal on a manageable scale.
LJ: What suggestions would you offer for handling obstacles or challenges? How can difficult situations be used to fuel growth?
JA: Stay strong and take deep breaths. There may be challenges that arrive on your doorstep that you saw coming from a mile away, and there may be unforeseen obstacles that come at you and completely rock your world. The most important thing is Just Keep Going – get up and attack each day as a new day.
Check back next month when Jenna will share how to reignite your passion and build a solid support system.
After almost 20 years in advertising and marketing, Jenna Armato became a speaker, coach and trainer to help individuals, companies and schools. Connect with Jenna on www.AttractEngageInspire.com and on Facebook. Jenna works with clients both virtually and in person. She may be contacted at: Jenna (at) AttractEngageInspire.com. To find out about upcoming events, visit: https://attractengageinspire.com/upcoming-events/