Given the continuing uncertainty and hardship caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by planning for the future. Goalsetting in uncertain times empowers you to build a vision of what you are working towards, to make and achieve decisions in life as you define and redefine your personal and professional success.
Most frequently, people spend a lot of time contemplating how they can improve themselves from within, and yet are not sure where to start. Whether your goals are large and life changing or simple changes to your daily life, there are a few key steps to help you make your goals a reality and achieve positive growth, even in uncertain times!
Build Your Roadmap
It helps you to look at different areas of your life, measure your satisfaction in areas that might give you a first focus, and set realistic goals from there. Now is the perfect time to review and renew your goals. If you don't have goals yet, The Life Wheel (or the Balance Wheel) is a powerful coaching system used by many life coaches to help their clients find a better balance in key areas of their life. Learn how to use this fantastic tool directly from Erickson founder, Marilyn Atkinson here.
Discover how Solution-Focused coaching skills enable you to create transformational change in yourself and others.
The trick is to shift your goal-planning approach from a fixed roadmap to a more flexible pursuit of top priorities. Once you have a clear idea of where you want to go, consider how you can make yourself responsible for real action and progress. The foundation of setting goals in uncertain times is to figure out what we have the most control over.
Make Your Goals SMART
Setting SMART goals is a fundamental tool in professional coaching. Many people have vague or abstract ideas of what they want to achieve; happiness is a common goal, but without setting SMART goals, reaching that vision becomes a long, arduous task.
Once you have identified the areas in your life that you would like to grow in, you can set specific goals based on long-standing or new interests, such as a new job, new hobbies, or even your personal goals. Review the goals, actions and steps you have written down and identify the other steps in your goals that will help you close this gap and get you closer to success. What habits or behaviours or habits do you need to eliminate to fill the gaps on the way to achieving your goals?
Focus on the things you can control and make sure you have a clear and well-defined strategy for how you are going to address them.
Focus on Daily Actions
Even in the best of times, it is not always easy to set your personal goals and work on them. You want your goals to be part of your daily life, not just a distraction from your everyday routine. Click here to learn how Erickson Alumni and professional coach, Kalyna Miletic applies this method for reaching personal and professional goals.
Chances are, the longterm goals you are interested in will require new skills and knowledge, and planning. They may seem impossible, especially if you do not know what the world will look like in five, ten, or even twenty years. A good strategy to use when things seem tumultuous and the future is unknown is to turn longterm goals into stepping stones for smaller goals. If you can create more security in uncertain times, you will feel more in control, making it harder for uncertainty to become so overwhelming that it upends your progress.
Maybe you want to be more productive, or start your own business. It may sound exciting to buy your first home, get that dream job or travel the world for a year. What separates people that reach their goals and those that continue to dream is the willingness to take small actions daily to get there. Sustained effort over the long run is what creates change.
In the face of uncertainty, it is helpful to create as much security as possible in your life so that you do not feel overwhelmed by the feeling of losing control. Goals can be something you think you have no control over, which can be frightening. It is true that we can never control all the factors that affect our lives and the goals that we have set ourselves, but there will always be many things that we can control, and these are the things worth focusing on.
There is no one method that works for everyone, and sometimes the only thing holding a person back from their goals is themselves! If you have something they want to accomplish but keep getting stuck, Erickson founder Marilyn Atkinson has a useful exercise you may want to try - The Four Gremlins.
Everything is constantly changing and evolving around us, and the more you grow comfortable in facing uncertain times, the better you can achieve your goals. By using methods that involve persistence and innovation, you can overcome these obstacles in the long run and achieve longterm success.