2019 is almost over. You’ve accomplished some (hopefully most!) of your goals. But maybe there are a few goals that got lost along the way…
What can you do with your “lost goals” of last year? The obvious answer seems to be to just start them or add them to your list for next year, right?
But is that really the right move for you? Below is an activity that we’ve created. The goal is to figure out how to take actionable steps to finish these “lost goals”.
So grab a pen and some paper and let’s start by getting curious. What happened to your lost goals of 2019?
Identify ALL your goals from this year.
First of all, list out all of your goals from earlier this year. Which of these have you stuck with and/or made progress on? These deserve to be celebrated (if you haven’t already)! Moving forward with your goals and dreams is no easy feat, so our sincerest compliments on pushing through.
Now about those “lost goals”… the ones that are still lingering on your list and in your mind. The purpose of this article isn’t to make you feel guilty about these goals. Instead, we want to help you explore what happened and ensure that if you add this goal again to your list that this time you’ll be successful.
Is the goal still relevant to your current purpose and values?
Before you start criticizing yourself for not completing this goal, take a step back. If you’ve done some work around your life purpose and your values (if not, our coaches can help!), revisit those items and see if your goal still aligns with them. If the answer is yes, then move on to the next question.
If not, then maybe this goal is no longer necessary. It’s okay to let go of goals that don’t serve you or move you closer to your dream life. Move on and focus your energy on the goals that really give you energy and are relevant to your purpose and values.
What are the obstacles that stood in your way of this goal?
So, this is a goal you still want to achieve? That’s terrific! To advance with this goal now, let’s examine what prevented you from accomplishing it in the first place.
Divide a new piece of paper in half. Across the top, write your “lost goal”. Title the left side of the paper “Obstacles” and the right side “Resources.”
Now under the “Obstacles” column, start listing all the things that got in your way around this “lost goal”. This can get tricky because we all have a ton of excuses for why we let these goals fall off our radar.
You want to get as specific as possible with these obstacles. For example, a major excuse we all use is “lack of time”. But be more precise! What contributes to your lack of time? It could be scrolling on Facebook, working at night, playing CandyCrush, binging on Netflix, and the list goes on and on. How are you spending your time currently and what’s preventing you from using that time to achieve your goal?
Some other questions you can ask yourself: What are the behaviors or actions that you’re doing or not doing that are keeping you from this “lost goal”? Is money an obstacle? Again, be specific and write the exact amount you need. Are there any other things in your way?
List them all out in the left column of your paper so you can see exactly what’s there because you’re about to conquer them all.
What resources could help you move forward?
In the right column, it’s time to get creative. Channel your inner problem solver. Think big, challenge your normal thought patterns, and push yourself to be as innovative as possible.
For each of the items on the left, consider what you need to conquer each obstacle. Treat this as a brainstorming session – that means writing down all your ideas without thinking if they’re wrong or right. A couple of other pointers:
- Be very clear: If scrolling social media on your phone is a problem, delete the apps or put limits in your phone settings for those apps. If it’s money, where can you start saving money? Or maybe this goal is worth the investment risk?
- Get creative: Inspire yourself! Brainstorm people you can talk to, events you can attend, books or courses you need, art to motivate you… we bet you can think of even more creative ideas than these!
Take your time and have fun with this part. You are a naturally resourceful person and if you really want this goal, those obstacles on the left don’t stand a chance. Brainstorm away!
Let’s make this goal S.M.A.R.T
Look at your original “lost goal” again. Now review the items in the two columns and circle the first three obstacle/resource combos that stick out to you immediately. (Go with your gut on this one.)
The three obstacles/resources that you circled are your new action steps. Take each one of these and create SMART goals for each. What does that mean?
Let’s see how this looks in an example. One of my goals for this year was to exercise more. An obstacle I faced was not scheduling time for it. A resource I have is an app that allows me to schedule classes and track my progress. So how do I create a S.M.A.R.T goal from these insights? Here’s a breakdown:
- Specific: Every Sunday evening, I will schedule two classes in my app and add them to my calendar.
- Measurable: Set progress goals in the app and I’ll see the two classes in my calendar.
- Achievable: Committing to two classes per week is doable for me.
- Relevant: This goal matters to my health and well-being.
- Timely: I schedule it every week on a Sunday evening.
This part will take the most time, but it’s the most crucial because you’re making your goals actionable. That’s what all this is about! You can do it!
A coach can help.
If this exercise felt challenging, then you might benefit from someone facilitating this process with you. A coach can help. If you’re currently employed, then we have a list of international coaches who work with us. You can see a list of them here and view their services.
If you’re unemployed, we offer free coaching to unemployed individuals with a valid working visa in the Netherlands. Our volunteer coaches provide three to five sessions and can do it virtually or in person. You can sign up here.