This Magic Monday, we share three ways we can plan to be human, addressing common pitfalls that keep up from meeting our goals.
Many of us have plans and goals we want to achieve throughout the year, whether professional, personal or both. But we’re not perfect. As humans, we know we’ll make mistakes along the way to these goals – and that’s okay! As the adage goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
So, how do we plan for those small setbacks along the way and prevent them from taking over completely? Put another way, how do we plan for ourselves to be human?
An article in Time magazine addresses three of the most common pitfalls on the road to achieving our goals and includes strategies for how to anticipate them. Summarized, they are:
Temptations to sleep in for “just five more minutes” before having to get up and face the day each morning or stay home to watch Netflix rather than going out running or to the gym are present daily.
Inherently, these are not bad things (and really, who wouldn’t rather be sleeping right now?). If we give in to them too often, though, they can become detrimental to our goals. One of the strategies we can use to combat this is to harness those temptations and use them as rewards instead. We can do this by permitting a preferred indulgence only when we complete a specific task or goal.
2. Foiling Flake Out
Psychologist Peter Gollwitzer shows that it’s not so much an issue of the goals we set but in how we set them. A general goal, such as “I want to read more,” can quickly fall off, often because we simply forget. We haven’t yet built the habit. Gollwitzer suggests creating trigger scenarios, “when X happens, I will X.” In our reading example, that could be “when I’m waiting [for my flight, for my child at school, in a long line], I will read.”
3. Managing Missteps
Even small setbacks toward our goals can be hugely discouraging, sometimes to the point where we’d rather quit altogether than work to get back to where we fell off. One way to anticipate setbacks is to build them in from the beginning, which means we don’t beat ourselves up about it when they occur! One example is padding deadlines with extra days to plan for the unexpected. Mistakes happen. Allowing for them allows us to be human.
What will you plan for this week?