How to Get Your Goals Back on Track

How are you feeling about your goals for the year? Are you on track? In reviewing my goals for 2015, I have gotten completely off track on a few of them. My guess is, I’m not alone. Why do we get off track with our goals? Join me as I attempt to evaluate my goals and get back on track. 

Ambitious But Sidetracked

If you’re like most of my readers, you are ambitious. In your enthusiasm and desire to achieve, you may have set some BIG, scary goals for yourself or your team. That’s a good thing. I did too.

However, I also know that it can be easy to lose track of those ambitious goals. This may have happened for a variety of reasons:

  • Sidetracked by other projects
  • Someone else’s priorities took precedent
  • Simply forgot about your goals
  • Less than effective time management
  • Bit off more than you could chew
  • Change in life circumstances
  • Overwhelmed
  • Lost motivation

We’ll tackle a few of these head on.

Start by Assessing Your Goals

Before you start to problem solve, you first need to reassess the goals you set. As you review your goals, you have a decision to make. You can do one of three things:

  1. Recommit – If the goal is still something you are serious about achieving and you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to see it through, then you need to recommit.
  2. Tweak – If the goal is a little too far fetched to be realistic (but challenging), yet you still want to see progress in this area, then you may need to tweak the goal to make it more manageable.
  3. Defer – If the goal is no longer a priority, or doesn’t deserve immediate attention, you can defer it to focus on (or evaluate again) at later time.

This will help you focus your time, energy, and effort on the goals that matter most to you right now.

For the goals you’ve decided to tweak and recommit to, let’s tackle some common challenges that may have derailed your progress.

6 Villains of Goal Achievement & How to Defeat Them

In my experience, we face 6 common villains when it comes to achieving our goals. Let’s identify each one and strategize about how to defeat them.

Villain #1: Ambiguous Goals

If my goal isn’t crystal clear, it is hard to focus on.

This week, I was helping a woman set goals. Initially her goal was “to get back in shape.” That’s pretty vague. So, I asked her some questions to help her figure out what successful achievement of her goal would look like. Eventually she set a clearer goal centered on body mass index.

To defeat the villain of Ambiguous Goals, we need to ensure that our goals are as specific as possible.

Villain #2: Out of Sight, Out of Mind

This is simple: we focus more on the things we encounter everyday. If we never encounter our goals, then we shouldn’t be surprised when a week or a month go by without much progress.

I had intended to keep my goals visible this year. But, intentions are not actions. I got busy working on goal-related projects but didn’t create my visuals.  Some goals stuck in my mind and some didn’t. This is why I’ve made more progress on some goals and not on others.

To defeat the villain of Out of Sight, Out of Mind, we need to create visual reminders. You can use goal sheets, sticky notes, digital tools and more. I’ve outlined 5 killer strategies.

Villain #3: Motivation Drain

You may have heard the saying, “When you lose your why, you lose your way.” When we forget why we set out to achieve our goals in the first place, it’s no surprise that our motivations wain. This comes down to a matter of willpower.

To defeat the villain of Motivation Drain, we need to review our whys. We need to ask ourselves, “Why is this important to me?” “What benefits will I gain from achieving it?” This will help us connect our personal values (what matters most to us) with the goals we’ve committed to achieve.

Villain #4: Over-Planning

Sometimes I get bogged down in making plans. Like choosing a route on your GPS, there are often multiple ways to get where we want to go. But, how do we choose if we’ve never been to the destination before? This feeling can cause us to become stuck in our tracks when it comes to pursuing our goals.

Rather than trying to plan out the entire process from start to finish, you simply need to take the next logical step. This is how you can defeat the villain of Over-Planning. Besides, it is easier to see the road ahead once you are standing on the next hilltop.

Villain #5: Isolation

Like the hobbit Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, you can’t complete your journey on your own. Your counterproductive thinking squashes your determination. Your willpower muscle gets fatigued. You may find yourself battered and beaten with no one to dust you off and encourage you to keep going.

To defeat the villain of Isolation, you need to recruit an accountability partner, a confidant. You may need more than one. Perhaps you’ll recruit a different partner for different goals. One caution: don’t tell the world your goals. We have enough doubters in our lives already.

Villain #6: Lost Your Bearings

This is the villain that snuck up on me this year. I’ve got no one to blame but myself.

Like ships sailing across the sea, we quickly get lost when we don’t check our bearings. Ships had navigators responsible for consistently checking their bearings, day and night. A small deviation could divert the ship off course and they would not arrive at their intended destination.

Conducting a regular goal progress review is the strategy to defeat the Lost Your Bearings villain. I have not adhered to my review schedule this year and it shows. I encourage you to download my free Evernote template, customize it, and find what will work best for you.

Free Download

For a quick reference and reminder, I created this free infographic: “Slay the 6 Villains of Goal Achievement: How to Get Your Goals Back on Track.”

Let the Battle Begin

In pursuing our goals, even the most dedicated of us gets off track. Once you’ve decided to recommit to your goals, use the strategies above to fight the 6 Villains of Goal Achievement.

With planning, intentionality, and the right battle plan, you can defeat the common challenges we all face when pursuing goals. Get yourself back on track and achieve what you set out to do.

Question: Which of these 6 villains causes you the most problems in achieving your goals? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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Please note: I encourage reader discussion, however, I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.