Today was my first day back running in a while…I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in the daily routine with the start of the year. I was ready to come into the New Year with excitement and resolve and instead it was more like a roller coaster of colds, back to school, and looking for some balance while trying to accomplish a lot in the first few weeks of the year. And, if you’ve been around a while, you know I don’t do resolutions! No, this was more about feeling really ready to hit the ground running.
But, I got back on the horse. I got back out on the trail. I picked up where I left off. I chose to show up. I’m not looking back at the days I missed, but looking forward to the days ahead.
I was recently in a meeting where the presenter talked about three words to prepare for goal-setting: 1) forget 2) focus and 3) forward thinking, and the timing was apropos to my return to 100 Days of Something. As I was on this run, these words rolled around in my brain. (See aren’t you glad I got back to running? More ideas to share with you.) They are simple really, but have such great meaning and offer a straightforward framework to prepare for setting goals.
First, forget. We’re not talking leaving your keys or sunglasses somewhere (and that’s a good thing because if that is the measuring stick, I’m already set up to fail), but it means don’t dwell on the past. It means don’t let your failures define you. It doesn’t mean don’t learn from those mistakes, just don’t let them become you. It’s the only place where you have the freedom for vision. And for some, I think this can be the hardest part.
Second, focus. Focus is the doing. It is the showing up everyday and taking action. It is the guideposts each day and week to get you to that goal. I’ve started writing these things down daily and weekly. I write my goals for the week down above my to-do list. Some things just have to get done whether they serve my goals or not. Other things can move to a different day or week. I also make sure I’m doing things every day to achieve those goals. A goal is only as successful as the work you put in – black or white – no grey area here.
Third, forward thinking. Here is where we reflect. What can you do differently and better to redefine your plans for the month and year ahead? This can mean changing how you approach your day or to reevaluate what you are saying yes to. We look back with openness not to dwell, but to calculate and cultivate the potential of our vision.
In their entirety, these words embody what I call “focusing forward.” And, look, if you’re thinking to yourself “I don’t have a business and don’t plan to start one so this isn’t relevant for me” I’m going to stop you right there because it SO is!! This is your leadership at home, out in your community and at your kids’ schools. It is your desire to change how you eat, to move your body daily, to run that 5k or sign up for the triathlon. It is your desire to work on a relationship or parenting. It is trying something new like skiing, tennis, yoga, golf, an art class, sewing. Anything simmering in the back of your mind that you’ve been wanting to do and haven’t!
I’ve been reading Atomic Habits and just really think highly of James Clear’s approach to making small changes to accomplish big things. Changing habits is hard and we do it by taking action everyday and that action builds momentum and we keep coming back. These small accomplishments will build your confidence, further driving that motivation to leverage your goals to fulfill live your vision.
Bottom line…the good stuff is hard. Be kind to yourself and show up for yourself everyday. What will you commit to for 100 days?
You won’t regret the things you did do, only the things you didn’t