Do you ever feel anxious about your plans, obsess over achieving goals or doubt whether you can achieve something?
When it comes to planning, sometimes you can set rigid goals and expect they’ll happen. Or at least deeply wish they’ll happen.
You might day dream about them, but unfortunately for us this isn’t a Disney film. [Which is sad because I’d love to be friends with Olaf!]
Although dreams & goals DO come true, they rarely happen WHEN or HOW you expect them to. But this doesn’t mean they WON’T happen.
I know this is a pretty simple, but it’s a powerful realisation.
If you feel anxious about whether you’ll achieve your goals it may be a sign you’re being overly rigid. Many people do this without even realising, and they set themselves up for disappointment.
I want to share a tool with you that’s transformed my anxious, obsessive energy into a feeling of empowerment. It took me from “GAAAAH” to “ooo I’m excited!”.
The Easy Planning Tool
This tool is all about re-framing your goals by building in LOTS of flexibility and providing a buffer from your anxious mind. Essentially, you’re mitigating risk and gaining some control within the sea of uncertainty.
Let’s say you have the following goal:
My goal is to find a new job by the end of this year.
Now how would you feel if you didn’t reach this goal? Pretty rubbish I’m sure. The way this goal is phrased doesn’t account for external factors that might prevent you from achieving it through no fault of your own.
Instead you could re-frame the goal to:
My goal is to get a new job by the end of the year and my soul focus will be to work towards this. However, if this doesn’t happen due to circumstances outside of my control, then I’ll take some time off work to focus on volunteering AND continue to apply for jobs. To prepare for this I’ll save money for the next 6 months.
Can you see how this goal has become more realistic and provides a buffer for you?
There’s less of an extreme point of failure if you don’t manage to get a job due to external factors such as coronavirus.
This is done by adding in:
1- A short statement about external factors
2- An action you can take if your goal doesn’t happen
3- An action you can take NOW to prepare
The important thing is building in flexibility. You’re still saying you want to achieve the goal, yet you’re also saying “I know I can’t 100% control WHEN and HOW this goal comes about”.
This approach allows you to have an open mind. Of course there are some goals that have to remain rigid, such as meeting deadlines for job applications. However the overall goal is flexible and accounts for elements outside of your control.
One word of caution – be careful not to use the “external factors” as an excuse not to do the work!
There’s a general assumption with this tool that you’re dedicated to making your goals happen!
Action – Do this now
Re-frame each of your key goals by adding in:
1 – A flexibility clause e.g
“If this doesn’t happen due to circumstances outside of my control”
2 – An action to take if your goal doesn’t happen e.g
” I’ll take some time off work to focus on volunteering AND continue to apply for jobs“
3 – An action you can take NOW to prepare e.g
“To prepare for this I’ll save money for the next 6 months.”
Original Goal: Going travelling this year
Goal Re-framed: My goal is to go travelling around the world this year but due to coronavirus there’s a high chance this might not happen and borders may even be closed next year. If this is the case I’ll see if I can travel to one or two countries where borders are open and spend longer at each of them. Right now there’s nothing I can do to prepare and I accept that this is out of my control.
Original Goal: Being recognised as a good employee within 3 weeks of starting a new job
Goal Re-framed: My goal is to do well and be noticed as a good employee within three weeks of starting my new job. I understand this is an unknown situation though and there’s a chance that I might find it tough. If this is the case I’ll seek help where I can. To prepare for this now I’ll see if I can speak to current employees or people in the industry to find out if there’s any pre-reading I can do.
And if you’re in need of a positivity boost here’s 13 reasons why to feel proud of yourself during the lockdown!