January is a popular time to set big goals. “This year I want to… This year will finally be the year I… This is my year…
The year you what?
Write a book?
Start your business?
No matter what your personal goal is, and no matter how much enthusiasm you have for it on January 1st, fatigue ultimately sets in. Only a short time into the new year, I’ll bet your goal that had you jumping out of bed a few weeks ago, now feels like a lot of work. Combined with slow progress, it’s tempting to give up or adjust your trajectory. Do not give up just because it feels too hard before you read on.
Why Many Goals Fail and What You Can Do to Avoid It
For most people, the issue isn’t that the goal is too big, it’s that the path forward is cloudy. They set the goal, often verbally or sometimes in a journal and then go for it. The problem is that the “going for it” isn’t a plan and ends up looking a lot like sitting on the stationary bike at the gym. You clock up miles but don’t move and inch.
A Map is Key to Beat Goals Fatigue and Create Success
A Goals Map is essentially your stairway from street level to the top of the building. It puts on paper not only your BIG goal but also creates a tangible path forward. Moreover, it gives you interim milestones and successes to celebrate along the way. The celebration is essential to keep up your momentum and motivation – after all, the top of that building is a long climb.
What is a Goals Map?
A Goals Map is a lot like any other map. It takes you from point A to point Z and helps you to plot your stops along the way. On a long road trip, there are often detours that open up new pathways and sustain the adventure. With a Goals Map, you can incorporate those turn offs and visualize how they will help you get to your final destination too.
At the simplest level, when building your Goals Map, you start with a goal in mind and fill in the boxes from your starting point to the end goal. Think of it not as a stone tablet or work plan but more like a treasure map. Once you reach each spot on the map, it makes the step to the very next box clear.
The Y-Axis, (Vertical) is your path to your primary goal.
The X-Axis (Horizontal) is where you can further flesh out steps from your primary goal (Y) and set additional goals that are related your original path.
Here’s a sample for someone who wants to turn their side hustle into a full-time business. You’ll notice that not every single step is represented at a granular level, but the map outlines a clear path forward.
5 Hot Tips for Using Your Goals Map to Kick Goals Fatigue to the Curb
1. Write It Down
Do not create the goals map in your head. Grab a notebook or your favorite online app and sketch it out. When you write down your goals, studies have shown that you increase your chance of reaching them.
2. Focus on Your Next Step
It can be tough to know all the steps between where you are now and your goal. When you are building your goals map, in each box ask yourself, “What’s my next logical step?” and don’t worry about four steps from here.
3. Build It From the Top Down or the Bottom Up
A trick you may want to use is to build your map from the top down. Ask yourself, “What needs to happen right before this is possible?” Decide what works for you – top down or bottom up and don’t worry about the way most people do it.
4. Post It
Now that you have your Goals Map put it somewhere you can see it and refer to it. There’s no point in writing it out if you never look at it again. Post it somewhere that you can refer to it and be reminded of where you are in the process.
5. Color It in and Check It Off
It’s powerful to see your progress and easy to feel like you aren’t making any. Use your map to help visualize progress. When you’ve completed a step, color it, check it off or put a pin in it. Equally important, don’t forget to celebrate.
Goals fatigue can stop you from creating the life and work that you most want. Instead of giving up and getting in bed or waiting for December for talk of “next year,” try a Goals Map. It works.
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