At the beginning of the year I set myself some mini-goals for my own health and development. I had realised that 2015 had passed in a blink of an eye and whilst I had paid attention to my business, I hadn’t paid attention to me. So I sat down and had a think about what I could do to increase my health and happiness. I wrote these down and published them (above) for all to see – as I believe that setting out your intentions, creates accountability and makes people more likely to achieve their goals.
So why am I now here telling you that I haven’t followed the plan? After all I’m a Coach and I help others to achieve their goals – why haven’t I achieved mine? Well actually there’s a very good reason for this. I see it in my clients regularly – and my own example is prime!
Sometimes the plan we set for ourselves evolve; sometimes, what we first thought we wanted, doesn’t turn out to be at all; sometimes the timing is all wrong; and we’re human – and sometimes we change our mind. This doesn’t mean failure – and let me tell you why…
The plan I set at the beginning of the year, has actually let me understand a lot more about myself. Putting myself as a focus for a change has allowed me to really understand what I want and what I don’t want. When I decided to complete a triathlon it was because I wanted to get fit again and I had completed one before – so it was something I knew I could do. I started my training plan and realised that actually I really love cycling; I also enjoy running – but swimming is something I dread. So I changed the goal – to pick cycling and running events (and possibly a duathlon if I find one) that challenge me. I’m still fulfilling my overall objective to get fitter – but I’m not making myself stick to the original plan of completing a triathlon. As a result I am really enjoying my workouts and getting stronger and fitter – and a few weeks ago completed a 60 mile cycle which I never imagined was possible a few months ago (and by the way, that’s a lot further than what was needed on the triathlon!).
I also planned to go to the cinema for myself – really to get me out of the house and do something for me. Well again, lots of reflection and ‘me time’ has allowed me to understand that whilst I don’t mind going to the cinema, it’s not top of my list. I have instead been out to dinner with friends and just booked my first ever trip to the ballet – something I am sure I will love.
The rest of the plan I am pleased to say I have done and as a result I am feeling much more happy, healthy and fulfilled. But it’s important to understand that plans do not have to be fixed. In business especially, plans change all the time – we need to adapt to our customer needs; keep competitive with the rest of the market and keep ourselves happy so consequently, we need to adapt.
A good client of mine was recently debating this very thing: she was thinking of making quite a drastic change to her product line. Her new products would be more profitable, had received good feedback but had alienated a few of her loyal customers of old, and this worried her. She has since gone on to make this big change to her business and re-launched with her new products. She now has a client base who she feels is more aligned to her ideal client, she is increasing her sales and profit, but naturally lost a few customers along the way. Overall though, this has been great for business.
Another client was wondering why her plans for finding new premises weren’t producing anything. There seemed nothing wrong with the plan – indeed I knew that if she followed it, she would achieve it. So I knew there was something else: when we discussed it further it transpired that she was nervous about finding new premises as it meant making a huge commitment with her business partner; someone who she felt wasn’t pulling her weight in the business. It led us to re-evaluate the plan and ensured that the business partner issue was dealt with before a commitment was made to the original plan of finding premises.
As a Coach of course I advocate goal setting, SMART action planning and getting the plan done but if I focused on this alone there would be lots of people achieving things that they then realised they didn’t want. Paying attention to the plan, how it makes you feel and being adaptable along the way to get what you really want does mean that the plan is not always the end plan – and that’s completely ok.