When your alarm clock buzzed this morning, what did you do and how did you feel?
Did you press the snooze button and snake under the covers, thinking the next 10 minutes were probably going to be some of the most luxurious of your day?
Did you force yourself out of bed, shivering at the cold and cursing the winter months while grabbing for your robe?
Did you take a minute to think about the exciting things you get to do later that day, grateful for your life?
Whether or not you’re a morning person, the way you feel about your day when you first wake up can tell you a lot about the way you feel about your life.
Are you just going through the motions? Are you putting things on your to-do list because you want to do them or because someone else wants you to do them? Is there anything in your day that you’re over-the-moon excited about?
Now, consider how 2018 has gone so far.
Think about the goals you set for yourself.
We’re two and a half weeks into the year. How are you doing?
Do you already feel behind? Have you already let yourself down? Do you already feel like things are a struggle?
First, we’re only two and a half weeks into the year! You’ve got lots of time to turn things around.
With that said, you don’t want to wait and keep letting days and weeks pass you by without making changes.
If you’re already fighting to keep up with your goals or stick with your habits, I’m going to help you figure out why YOU are struggling and what YOU personally need to change with this blog post.
I’m not going to give you vague advice that only works for a subset of people. Instead, you’re going to answer five questions and through those questions, you’re going to determine what you need to do to get your year on track or to stay on track.
1. Are you an upholder, obliger, questioner, or rebel?
If you have no idea what that means, let me give you a quick overview. Gretchen Rubin created what she calls the four tendencies and they basically explain how you respond to expectations, how you’re most productive and how you deal with others’ expectations of you.
Once you know which group you fall into and you learn about your tendency, you can learn so much about how you work best, how to keep habits and how to be most productive.
If you don’t know which tendency you are, I recommend you take this quiz. I also hosted an entire live call in Sunday Society about the four tendencies after reading the book and studying them. If you join the membership program, you get instant access to that call and can learn a lot more about your individual tendency.
You should also read Gretchen’s book to get more information on your tendency and learn how to deal with others who have different tendencies than you.
(P.S. I’m a rebel…figuring that out helped me become more productive! I discuss how in the Sunday Society live call)
2. Do you need regular accountability? If yes, how have you built that into your day/week?
The biggest tendency is the obliger group and if you’re an obliger, the only way you’re going to be productive is through other people–other people relying on you, other people’s expectations, accountability, etc. Nothing else works.
You can try to just do it on your own, but you’re always going to come up short. So, why not figure out how to hold yourself accountable? If that’s the only thing you need to do, do it, my friend.
This is the reason that we now meet for FB Live calls on Mondays and Fridays inside of Sunday Society. On Mondays, members share their top five priorities for the week along with the one thing they’re going to do that week to be more productive. Then, we meet back up on Fridays and members share how many of their five to-dos they got done, they give themselves a productivity score (between 1-10), they tell the group what they’re going to do the next week to be more productive and share their biggest win of the week.
It’s an accountability group for anyone who needs that bit of accountability and a check in, almost mastermind, for anyone who wants to connect with other creative bosses.
If you need accountability, you need to have multiple ways of getting it such as an accountability partner, an accountability group (like Sunday Society or something like it that meets twice weekly), a FB group you check in with multiple times a week, and maybe a paid mentor.
It’s not one or the other. It’s all of the above, especially for obligers.
3. What’s tripped you up in the past?
You need to look at your personal situation and what has gotten in your way of success in the past.
Look at just the past two and a half weeks.
What has made it hard for you to stick to your goals/habits? List everything you can think of.
Now think about the past year and the main things that got in your way. Add those things to your list.
For everything you’ve listed, you need to come up with a contingency plan.
Life isn’t perfect. The things on your list will keep popping up.
Your kids will get sick. You will get another migraine. Another family emergency will occur. Another unexpected vet visit will happen. Your sister will go through another break up. You won’t feel like blogging again soon. Your babysitter will cancel on you.
What can you do now to plan for these things when they happen?
Do you need to give yourself a bit more time to accomplish your goals so that you have wiggle room when something doesn’t go as planned? Do you need to work ahead of schedule? Do you need to have blog posts written ahead of time?
Making sure that your expectations are in line with real life is crucial to sticking with habits and accomplishing your goals.
4. Are your goals really YOUR goals?
Sometimes we see someone we admire doing something that looks kinda cool such as speaking at a large event or learning how to hip hop dance or breaking through to seven figures.
Or, we see a beautiful picture of someone mountain climbing on Pinterest or on the beach of a tiny island on Instagram.
Then, all of a sudden that cool thing or pretty image gets added to our own goal list even though we haven’t really thought it through.
We even add certain goals to our lists because of society’s expectations like losing 15 pounds or because we think it’s the next step for our businesses such as getting 100,000 email subscribers.
For you to put in the time it takes to reach a goal, you’ve gotta want it. It can’t be on your list just because you once saw a pretty image. Now…it could all have started because of a pretty image and have grown from there.
If you’re struggling with a specific goal, check in with yourself. Do YOU really want it? Is this goal for you? Did you decide to reach for this goal because of you or someone else or just because?
5. Is the journey fun?
This question feels cheesy but it’s reallllllllly important.
Goals aren’t actually supposed to be these hairy beasts that we have to stare down and wrestle to the ground to accomplish. They’re supposed to be fun!
If you don’t make the “doing” fun, you’re going to have to work yourself up to do the work every single time you work towards that goal.
I’m not saying every moment is going to be fun, but you should make it as enjoyable as possible.
For instance, if you want to get into better shape and exercising five days a week is your goal, you should pick a form of exercise that you enjoy and maybe get a friend involved.
If you love yoga classes, don’t force yourself to go to a bootcamp. Go to yoga classes with friends.
This seems obvious but how many times have you given yourself the hardest route possible?
Let’s take another example. If your goal is to grow your email list from 250 subscribers to 5000 subscribers, make a list of the ways you enjoy promoting your business.
If you love Instagram but can’t stand Facebook, then spend your time posting pictures and videos to Instagram, posting Instagram stories and hopping onto Instagram Live. If you like video a lot more than writing, then post videos each week instead of written posts.
Create special videos just for your email list and promote them on Instagram, using short clips and links to a landing page where followers can sign up for free to get access to the entire videos.
You could also put together some webinars, if you also enjoy that kind of thing.
Do more of what you like and less of what you don’t.
It sounds simple, but again, the creatives I work with tend to make things as hard as possible for themselves. For some reason, they’ll force themselves to do the thing they hate instead of do the thing they enjoy to reach their goals.
The more you enjoy the doing, the more likely you’ll reach your goals.
Are you enjoying the process right now? If not, what’s one thing you can do to make it more enjoyable?
If you dig into these questions and answer them truthfully, you’ll figure out what’s standing in your way of keeping up with your habits and reaching your goals. You’ll also see what you can do right now to change things.
Now, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you’re going to make those changes.
Are you going to figure out your tendency and how that affects your productivity? Are you going to build in accountability to your day/week, even if that includes paying for accountability? Are you going to make a contingency plan for all the things that have tripped you up in the past? Are you going to make sure your goals are your own and make them more fun?
Doing this work now will mean a much more successful year.