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At one point, I wondered if I would have enough to say to talk about goals for five weeks. It turns out that, Yes, I do. I could go another few weeks, but next week, it will be time to move on to talk about February’s theme, Time.

Today, let’s close out January’s theme, Goal setting

  1. Week 1, we daydreamed.
  2. In week 2, we explored why.
  3. Week 3, we got S.M.A.R.T.
  4. Week 4, you decided who to tell about your goals.

And now, 

((( Drumroll )))

  1. This week, we will explore the final step that will make it much more likely that you will achieve your goals in 2024.

Step 5: Stop and reflect regularly

Look, It’s really easy to get off track with goals. It happens to everyone. I recently read that most people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions by January 19th. Unfortunately, when we get off track, a lot of us give up and never get back on track.

So, how do you keep going when you have gotten off track?

By regularly stopping and reflecting on how the goal is going.

Caution: You’re not reflecting if you are beating yourself up

I am incredibly mean to myself. 🤬

Most of the time, when I reflect on a goal, my first thoughts are me beating myself up.

What about you? 😢

Many of us are very good at negative thinking. I say things like this to myself all the time.

  • “You were supposed to walk seven days, but you only walked five. You’re a failure. You’ll never be able to do this.”
  • “Look at all the things you planned to complete on this project this week. You didn’t even touch half of those tasks. There is no way you will be successful.”
  • “Look, if you aren’t going to do this perfectly, you might as well give up.”
  • “This is getting hard. Why do you even want to do this anyway? It’s pointless.”
  • “What makes you think you are good enough for this? Someone else should do it instead. This isn’t for you.”
  • “You aren’t cut out for this.”

This is NOT reflection.

It does NOT help me, and it does NOT help you.

It is self-bullying.

Negative thoughts will happen, but when we let them be the only thoughts, we lose

It’s possible to counteract your negative thoughts.

This phrase has been very helpful to me in countering my negative thinking. Repeat after me and say to yourself.

“Thank you, brain 🧠, but stop being a bully! I’m so much better than that, and you know it!”. 🤯

I highly recommend that you try it! At first, it feels weird to talk to your own brain, but soon it becomes fun and very empowering to stand up to your inner bully.

When you’ve told your inner bully to take a back seat, you are ready to reflect.

With your inner bully in “timeout,” take 20 to 30 minutes of undistracted quiet time. Get out your goals, look at each one, and ask:

  1. What went well? Celebrate it! Even the little things.
  2. What didn’t work, and what will you adjust?
  3. What do you need some help with?
  4. What are one to three things you will do in the upcoming week to make progress?
  5. When you read why you want to achieve your goal, is it still a compelling reason? Why or why not? (If necessary, repeat the five whys exercise.)

If your inner bully doesn’t stay in timeout while you reflect, you may need to put it back in its place. Plus, just like with toddlers, you might need to do that more than once.

The more you do, the easier it gets.

Your homework this week

  • Decide when you are going to reflect, and do your first reflection while you practice putting your inner bully in its place. I highly recommend weekly.  

To Conclude our January theme of Goal-Setting

It’s the end of the month, and you have goals, and you know why they are important. You have made them S.M.A.R.T. and have decided who you will tell about your progress. 

Lastly, today, you committed to stopping and reflecting on your progress on a regular basis without letting your inner bully take over. 

You are going to crush your goals this year. I’m proud of you.

I’ll see you again next week, and we will start the month of February by talking about time.

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Here is how my goals are going.

Walking: How often did I walk 8K steps? – 5 out of the last 7 days. Darn, I have developed persistent knee pain! I’ll switch to a stationary bike this week and see a doctor about the knee.

One-on-One Fun: Did I have one-on-one fun with my family this week? Yes! So fun! I saw a VanMorrison tribute band Friday night with my husband, Matt. All had a good time.

Hustle or anti-hustle? This week, 7 of 7 days, did not feel frantic (a.k .a. like a hustle). I was very productive but also relaxed. Goal achieved this week—woot woot.

Reading? I’m still reading Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi. This week, I read from page 323 to page 416. I will finish the book this coming week with about 100 pages left.

p.p.s. A note about typos. 

As you may know, I restarted my newsletter in January after a brief pause.

Every week this year, I’ve noticed that there have been sentences with awkward copy-paste errors and typos. Of course, I catch them when the email goes out, and I feel a mild embarrassment over Every. Single. Typo.

I will probably always have typos.

I hope they don’t bother you and that you still enjoy reading. 

If they DO bother you, I won’t blame or shame you if you unsubscribe.

If you are curious if I’ve caught them, you can reread the articles on my website (they are linked in my article). The typos I’ve seen have been corrected.