For those that have gone through my Goals That Matter system, you know I’m not keen on giving up on goals. At times, we may discover a goal is no longer serving us, so I recommend looking at your “Why”. Why did you set the goal? What were you ultimately trying to accomplish?
In my upcoming book, I share a story of David Osborne (Author of Wealth Can’t Wait) that wanted to run a 50-mile ultramarathon. His “Why” was better health and a friend of his had done it. After running a couple of half-marathons, David accepted that he really hated running and could not imagine continuing. It was no longer serving him. He looked at his why and decided there were other ways he could achieve his ultimate goal of better health.
You may have some goals you set for yourself that now seem impossible to achieve due to COVID-19 and sheltering in place. Your listed goal may not currently be possible—for example, going to the gym or a weekly date night with your partner—so I encourage you to look at your Why.
Why did you set the goal? Was it for better health? Losing Weight? Having a better relationship?
Though it’s true that your original goal may not be able to be accomplished, when you pinpoint the WHY of your goal, you may be able to identify ways you can modify the goal during this time so that you are still able to achieve the end result you were seeking by setting the goal in the first place.
For our earlier example, instead of going to the gym, you could do home workouts or decide to start going for walks or hikes (appropriately social distancing) to get you moving. If you wanted to improve your relationship with your partner, you could have a “date night” where you cook dinner (or COVID twist: You’re spending SO much time together, the date could be making sure you take care of everything so your partner can have some alone time). With a little ingenuity, I believe you can modify your goal to meet your original Why.
Unfortunately, there are some goals that will not be able to be met PERIOD.
Every day, I review my Accountability sheet that lists all my goals (10-year, 3-year, 1-year, quarterly, monthly, and weekly). During these trying times, I have been pretty good about meeting my weekly and monthly goals. I’ve also allowed myself some grace when I didn’t (see my last post about Allowing Yourself Some Grace).
However, I have some annual goals that I cannot meet due to COVID-19. It has been bothering me every time I see them. They are:
- See my brother 4 times (who lives out of state)
- Visit 4 new countries (part of my larger goal of visiting 100 countries in my lifetime)
- Do an international trip with my parents and my brother.
With travel restrictions and shelter in place, these goals are impossible to do this year as written. My parents will not be traveling for some time and to see my brother requires a plane trip, which I’m not going to do this year. Same with visiting 4 countries.
Every day for the past month, these goals on my Accountability sheet made me hear a little voice saying, “no you’re not”. My Accountability sheet, which gives me energy towards achieving my goals, was telling me every day that I wasn’t going to meet my goals. This may seem small but for the goal achieving guy, it was making me nuts.
I checked in with my accountability partner to walk through my thinking. I looked at my Why (love of travel for one and closer family connections for the other two). I decided I could still achieve my Why of closer familial connections by having regular communications with both my brother and my parents.
My travel goal of visiting four new countries? I’ve had to give it up this year. I still am keeping my long-term goal of visiting 100 countries and will get back to traveling in 2021.
I am keeping movement towards my Why of closer relationships with my family by changing how I would achieve them. I had to give up the travel goals.
At the same time, I did decide to move all three goals as originally planned to the following year. I still want to do them, and they are important to me. My accountability partner agreed with my logic and modified some of his as well.
The lesson for me was to go back to the basics and look at my Why. And to talk to my accountability partner to make sure I wasn’t just telling myself a story. I encourage you to do the same.
If you don’t have an accountability partner and want to check in with someone about modifying your long-term goals, feel free to email me at Michael@goalsthatmatter.com.