The biggest mistake made with achieving goals is not breaking them down into small steps. The size of the goal is not a problem, it's how you strategize to reach that goal. For example, losing weight, running a half-marathon, becoming a more patient parent, or driving cross-country, are all great goals. However, they require to be broken down into small, manageable steps in order to see any success.
Let's break down the process for taking action on our goals:
1. By focusing on 3 small steps each week to work towards your goal, you will begin to see massive momentum. Be sure to keep the 3 small steps manageable with your schedule and season of life. You want to set yourself up for success instead of having an all or nothing mindset.
2. Once you have determined your weekly small steps, write them down. Keeping a record will help hold you accountable for getting those small steps done. Our monthly goal sheet attached below, will certainly help you keep track. Be sure to record your progress each week.
3. Another important factor for achieving goals is to plan and implement rewards for each step achieved. Let's face it - we all need some external motivating reward to help us overcome obstacles and challenges. With weekly steps accomplished, give yourself a small reward. If you achieve all your weekly steps for the entire month, then definitely give yourself a bigger reward.
4. At the end of every month, look at your monthly goal sheet and do a recap and reset. Recap by reviewing your progress on the small steps and reflect on what worked and what didn't work. Then, reset by making any necessary adjustments for next month. Remember small steps add up quickly!
1. Print out the monthly goal sheet (click on image below)
2. Determine your goal and then break down that goal into 3 small steps for each week.
3. Record your weekly action steps and your results on the monthly goal sheet.
4. Set your weekly and monthly rewards for achieving your small steps.
5. Recap and Reset for the next Month
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As we continue discussing accountability this month, receiving tough love is a critical aspect to help us grow and change.
Challenge: Receiving Tough Love
REALity: Let’s be honest – receiving tough love can be hard. We don’t want to hear about our flaws and weaknesses from others, but it can be very helpful in making positive changes in our life. With receiving tough love, we have to be willing to hear the truth about ourselves and not become bitter against the person speaking the truth.
Inspiration: Last week, I received some tough love that I was not expecting. It came from my workout trainer about my attitude with training sessions. In February, I officially began training for the summer triathlon season. I’ll be participating in 5 sprint triathlons from May to September then a half-marathon in November. In order to be race-ready and build endurance, a consistent training routine is a must. However, physical training is just as important as mental training. What the mind says, the body will follow.
Since starting workouts, my trainer had been noticing that my mental focus was ‘off’. I was taking my training too serious and not enjoying the journey like I had in the past. Also, my expectations were too high and I was super critical of myself and my performance. I had become hyper focused on quick results and not the journey itself.
Even other people at the gym had noticed the changes in me and inquired if everything was alright. Normally at the gym, I like to speak with people, laugh with them, encourage them and spread joy. I had stopped doing that and people noticed. I was still friendly with people but my focus was only on me and not others.
When we become too self-involved, it can lead to much negativity and isolation. Thankfully, I received much needed tough love from my trainer who told me that I needed to reevaluate why I’m training in the first place. He asked me where my joy was. He reminded me that if I don’t enjoy the process of training then I’ll never appreciate the results. He helped me remember that I enjoy spreading joy at the gym and encouraging others. He firmly told me that I had become way too serious and needed to adjust my expectations.
God will certainly give us tough love when needed. He may speak directly to us or use other people to speak His truth. The important thing is how we receive it. Do we accept the tough love with grace and humility or bitterness and denial? Tough love / Tough truth is not meant to hurt us but help us.
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
Is there an area of your life that you have ignored receiving tough love? We all need tough love at certain times in our life. By embracing it, we are open to make great improvements in our life. The goal is always to be better not bitter.
For help on finding the right accountability partner, download the free resource:
Accountability Partnership Checklist
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As we discuss accountability this month, it is important to know how much we need accountability in our lives to overcome unforeseen challenges and obstacles. Especially with spring fever approaching, we have to be diligent to still keep moving forward with our goals.
In today's newsletter, I'm sharing with you an excerpt from the book, The Accountability Manifesto: How Accountability Helps You Stick to Goals by Steve “S.J.” Scott. Please reply to this email and let me know how you are doing with achieving your goals!!
7 Benefits of Accountability
You might think it seems like a lot of extra work to worry about accountability and interacting with others as you work on goals. Perhaps you think it’s busywork that doesn’t have value in the real world. In other words, the primary accountability benefit is that you will achieve (or stick with) a goal when you receive constant feedback from others. Beyond that, there are many other reasons why accountability has such a positive impact on personal development. In this section, I’ll go over seven primary benefits.
Accountability Benefit #1: You perform better under observation. People make better choices and perform at a higher level when they know they are being watched by others. The reasoning is simple—when you are held accountable for your actions, you will work harder.
Just think about your own life…
Odds are, you’ve probably had an exercise routine at some point. When you worked out in front of others, didn’t you push just a little harder? You knew people were watching, so you tried to look your best in front of them. You might have lifted heavier weights or ran a little faster on the treadmill.
When you worked out at home, on the other hand, it was easier to take a break or not do an extra set because no one was there to push you.
This phenomenon has been proven by hundreds of psychological tests over the course of the last sixty years.
Remember, accountability requires two parts: internal control and external support.
Being personally responsible for your results is important, but it’s not enough to achieve peak performance. You need that external accountability to keep you on track.
Accountability Benefit #2: You get honest feedback from others. Asking questions is one of the best ways to get feedback on a specific goal. Everyone views the world differently because our “lens” is tinted by our own experiences, knowledge, and education.
The things we believe are common sense are often not fully understood by others. With external accountability, you consistently have people in your life who ask: “Why is this important?” or “How does this action relate to your goal?” Being challenged like this is a good thing because it forces you to closely examine each goal and make sure it’s your best course of action.
Accountability Benefit #3: It forces you to follow through on commitments.
We are all human, and, as such, it’s easy to make mistakes. You might start working toward a new goal and have every intention of following through with it, but rarely does that good feeling last more than a few days. You usually get sidetracked by “life” and quickly forget about continuing with your goal.
Stop to consider your own life for a moment. How many times have you set a goal, started to work on it and then quit a few days later? From half-completed housing projects to that “extreme” exercise program advertised on television, we’ve all experienced high levels of motivation that are quickly followed by a change in attitude.
There are many reasons it’s hard to stick to a new routine; however, one of the main reasons you don’t follow through is because you lack accountability.
Accountability Benefit #4: It creates firm deadlines for important tasks.
Planning is an essential part of the goal-setting process, whether you’re talking about a new project at work, losing 10 pounds, or building an addition to your home. Without prior planning, any task is significantly more difficult to achieve.
One essential component of planning is setting firm (and public) deadlines. Sure, keeping a private timeline in your head can work, but there is a better chance you’ll follow through if you tell others about your timeline. Not only does sharing your goals keep your feet to the fire, but it also forces you to finish projects by specific deadlines.
Accountability Benefit #5: It keeps you grounded in reality.
Being optimistic can have a positive impact on your goals. It’s important to believe in yourself—even when nobody else does. However, there is a danger to having too much optimism. If all you do is focus on your dream, then it’s easy to forget about taking action.
Your goals are constantly reinforced with accountability. A good network of people will keep you focused on what’s important—the day-to-day tasks that often don’t seem as sexy as the end goal. Sure, you might dream about what life will be like five years from now, but it’s far better to get feedback like this: “Stop thinking about your five-year plan. What are doing tomorrow to work on your goal?”
When looking for accountability partners, choose people who not only are encouraging but also challenging. This will keep you grounded. Their job is to help you achieve short-term goals and big goals you won’t be able to reach for several months or years.
Accountability Benefit #6: Learn from the successes and failures of others. It’s been said that failure is often our best teacher. It’s not fun to make mistakes, but when you learn hard lessons, these experiences help you make better decisions down the road. That said, a major benefit of accountability is the opportunity to learn important lessons without going through the painful process of making your own mistakes.
Just talking to someone, whether it be a mentor, coach, peer, or member of a mastermind group, gives you opinions and real-life experiences to help you avoid pitfalls that would cost you time, money or a combination of both.
Accountability also makes it easier to identify challenges that you might not have initially considered. Perhaps you’re too emotionally involved to predict a potential setback. It doesn’t matter what your goal is; there will always be challenges that seem to come from nowhere.
Whether it’s a snacking habit that wrecks a diet or wasting too much time on low-value business tasks, an accountability partner will often talk about what they’ve done wrong in the past and prevent you from making the same mistakes.
Accountability Benefit #7: It prevents little problems from turning into big ones. Little problems almost always grow into big ones unless they’re immediately addressed. Sometimes you’re blind to these little issues, and other times you might be willfully ignoring them.
Accountability partners often act as a second (even third or fourth) pair of eyes on your challenges. They are there to give you a kick in the butt to take care of any problem before it completely derails your progress toward a goal.
Conversely, an accountability group can encourage you to not “sweat the small stuff.” It’s easy to get anxious whenever you encounter an obstacle, but when you talk about an issue, a good group can help you figure out what’s important to address and what can be ignored.
We all experience challenges, but participating in an accountability group gives you a chance to review your challenges and use member feedback to figure out where to focus your efforts.
Keep Moving Forward With Your Goals - Small Steps Add Up Quickly!
NEED HELP WITH FINDING AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER? DOWNLOAD OUR FREE RESOURCE.
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In December, I saw a book titled, The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation, by Wendy Speake.
I knew that I wanted to make some dietary changes in January, so I got the book and signed up for the challenge. The author was very clear for each person to decide what kind of sugar fast she would do.
At the same time, my gym also started a wellness challenge where participants focused on nutrition, hydration, exercise, rest, and reflection.
So on January 4, I committed to 6 weeks of no desserts as well as drinking a green smoothie every day. I knew that a full-out sugar fast would be too difficult for me since sugar is in almost everything. With a dessert fast, I chose to abstain from dessert items like cake, brownies, ice cream, cookies, candy, etc.
Here’s what I learned:
1. Desserts should not be a daily habit. Once I deleted all desserts from my diet, I had the startling realization just how much I had been eating them. Dark chocolate had been one of my closest friends for a long time. It was difficult to break-up and say good-bye. I loved having chocolate after lunch, as an afternoon snack and then some more after dinner. Even if it was just a small piece of chocolate candy, I was having it way too much.
2. Avoid conflict during the first 7 days of any fast. Thankfully, my husband and kids gave me grace during my first fasting week because I was a train wreck. A chocolate detox isn’t for the weak. I didn’t realize it at the time but eliminating desserts from your diet will cause a very short fuse. Unfortunately, I had to ask forgiveness more than once for my actions during the first week of detox.
3. Justification is a slippery slope. During my weaker moments, I was trying to justify all kinds of reasons to have chocolate. “Chocolate covered almonds aren’t really a dessert; they are healthy.” “If I normally wouldn’t have this food for dessert, then it doesn’t qualify for the dessert fast.” Honestly, we can justify anything. It’s easy to twist the truth in our minds to help ease the struggle, however staying strong to our commitment will greatly improve our mindset for overall success.
4. Find a dessert substitute. After the first week of fasting, the days got much better and I no longer struggled with weak moments. However, it was greatly beneficial to my journey to have some options for ‘treats’. I discovered ‘dessert’ smoothies that were delicious and healthy as well as almond/oat bars and pumpkin muffins. It certainly helped to have something special when the rest of the family was enjoying ice cream!
5. Be ready for challenges and changes. This fast really taught me that I CAN handle no desserts and my body agreed. I had more energy (a green smoothie everyday helped with this too), less cravings, and a huge sense of accomplishment. Doing hard things will bring positive changes.
6. Build in accountability. I’ve worked hard to build in strong layers of accountability in my life and was very thankful for support during the dessert fast. My main accountability was the wellness challenge at my gym. All participants had to submit their weekly points and then our points were posted on the leaderboard. It was very motivating to have a score posted each week.
So what were my final results, you ask? Well, I only cheated one time on my dessert fast. My husband took me out for a date night and I told the waiter that I didn’t want dessert but he still brought a plate of small chocolate truffles to the table. Really??!!! My husband said it was a special night and to enjoy them – which I did. However, that was the only time I gave in to weakness.
For the wellness challenge at the gym, I finished in 2nd place. I lost some points on the chocolate truffles and there were some days that I didn’t exercise and lost points for that. Overall I’m really proud of my journey.
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