What’s Missing? The Overlooked First Step In Goal Success

Tired of setting goals and not achieving them? You might be overlooking this simple but critical first step!
Christi Hegstad February 7th, 2017

Do you set New Year’s resolutions? If so, how are they coming along?

For many, resolutions – and even goals themselves – have become somewhat of a joke. I’ll never forget a client years ago telling me how her friend got so tired of writing the same resolutions over and over, she started simply crossing out the year and writing in the new one!

While many factors can contribute to the non-achievement of a resolution or goal, one of the biggest is one that’s rarely addressed:

We tend to set goals from a place of lack.

Think about it: The top resolutions consistently include losing weight, making more money, getting better organized, or quitting a bad habit. I’m willing to bet those stem from people looking at their lives, asking themselves “Where am I not good enough? Where have I messed up?” and creating goals from there. This does not tend to produce energy, excitement, and a go-get-’em attitude.

While I commend the desire for improvement, in my years of coaching I’ve discovered that if we flip the process on its head, we are much more likely to achieve our desired outcome – and feel a lot better about it along the way. A simple way to do this? Begin by honoring your wins.

Celebration of Triumphs

In the past four days, I’ve facilitated three major training programs. In all of them, I asked participants to jot down 1-3 successes from the past year – moments or accomplishments that make them feel proud, fulfilled, happy, impactful, or whatever they associate with success. Sounds simple enough, right?

Only it isn’t.

Many of us gauge success by some external measure. Others are so focused on the next accomplishment that they don’t take time to acknowledge what they just achieved. Still others consider their success too small, too insignificant, or too “anyone can do that” to be considered a real success.

Fortunately, the remedy is simple. (Not necessarily easy, but simple.) Before you set any new resolutions or goals, first take time to honor your past wins. I call this a Celebration of Triumphs.

To conduct your own, set aside an hour in your planner, download this Celebration of Triumphs form, and take yourself to a coffee shop or local park. Fill the page (and add more!) with moments that stand out in your mind as victories.  Don’t be humble in this exercise!

And remember: YOU get to define success.  You earned a certification? Great! You completed a 5k? Fantastic! You kept your tomato plants alive? Outstanding!

Then What?

I once read that the best time to set goals is right when you’ve landed from skydiving. Your adrenaline soars and you have an “I can do anything!” mentality. If skydiving isn’t in your near future, however, recording and celebrating your wins can serve as a great option!

Take the time to truly honor those wins and what it required for you to accomplish them. Then, from that space of meaningful joy and purposeful achievement, create new goals. My free Big Dreams, Bold Goals! workbook can help you with that process – just look for the blue bar throughout my website, enter your email address, and it’s immediately ready for download.

Not only does this support your future successes, creating this list will provide powerful clues into your values, purpose, and what truly matters most to you. You’ll create meaningful goals that energize you, and the necessary actions will become much more clear as well.

Give this exercise a try and see what it does in terms of your focus, mindset, and sense of accomplishment. Encourage your team or family members to conduct their own as well. As Oprah Winfrey once said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

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