goal setting

Spring cleaning your goals.

On this morning’s drive to the airport, I noticed the surest sign that spring has arrived – patches of green grass growing along the interstate. Always a list-maker, I was reminded that I need to get started on my long list of spring cleaning chores.

But have you ever considered that among the things in need of a spring cleaning –your goals might need a dusting?

Like chores, goals can fade in importance when not easily or quickly completed. For me, certain goal lists are as much an exercise in dreaming and brainstorming as in elevating my success and satisfaction. For example, I once made a list of home improvement goals that included sub-lists for various rooms in our home. My “exterior improvements” section included upgrades like a new front door, new paint, new deck furniture, new lighting and a circle drive. Two years later, the deck furniture is the only upgrade I accomplished. While a new front door and new paint remain desirable, I’ve completely let go of the idea of a circle drive. So, in this instance, I achieved one goal, abandoned one goal, and am still contemplating three.

Upgrades to our home are a lot like upgrades to our life. We dream big, in part by researching, sourcing and planning, but all not dreams are created equal and not all dreams come to fruition. Consider my house as an example. The reason I purchased deck furniture is because the payoff was so immediate – more comfortable seating for an affordable price in an entertaining space we use frequently. I abandoned the idea of a circle drive after I researched the cost compared to other home improvements on my list. And I’m still thinking about a new front door and new lighting, both of which are much more affordable but not necessary right now from either an aesthetics or functional point of view. New paint has moved up to the number one item on my list because our home’s current paint job has really started to fade, making the place seem a little shabby. (When your adult son notices, you know it’s time to pay attention!)

We are constantly learning new information and using this information to inform our dreams and priorities, financial and otherwise. In many cases, goals are nothing more than a snapshot of our aspirations at a given moment in time. Given more time, and more information, goals are subject to change – with some relegated to the trashcan of ideas and some elevated to the urgent.

In my 20s, I made a five-year plan that included goals such as “go to graduate school,” “buy a house,” and “plan my wedding.” I bought the house and planned the wedding, but graduate school was deferred until my 40s for a variety of reasons not known or understood by the eager and ambitious 24-year-old.

The key, I think, is neither getting too attached to your goals nor letting go at the first sign of difficulty. If you have a life goal that you’ve been committed to for more than a year that you can’t seem to make progress on, maybe it’s time to reconsider the goal. (It might be that you simply lack a clear plan with concrete sub-goals. If you think that’s the case, I can help you.) But it also might be that the goal, while attractive or desirable on some level, isn’t really aligned with your deepest values, which makes procrastination utterly predictable.

I’ve lived enough life to know that my ego sometimes starts goal setting without consulting my heart. That usually results in goals that aren’t aligned with my deepest values and – therefore – goals I end up discarding like old magazines.

Making the decision to found EmpowerMentor was the result of a deep dive into my heart AND my future goals. Following up the deep dive with a spontaneous planning session during an airport layover (I often have my best ideas in airports!) was the one-two punch I needed to get going. In less than a week, I was off the ground running.

If you’d like an experienced mentor and life coach to talk through your goals, considering which ones need a little spring cleaning and which ones are ready for the planning and execution stage, email me or call me. I’d love to help you find new inspiration and growth. Isn’t that what spring is all about?

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