Bridging the Gap: How to Get from Here...to Where You Want to Be
The space between where you are now and where you want to be is known as the gap. The gap can be an expanse that beckons you to take risks and reach further than you’ve ever reached before or it can be an abyss fraught with oh-nos! and what ifs? The following strategies will help you bridge the gap and turn those pesky fears into I've got this!
Set laser-like goals: I once worked with a client whose goal was to feel good about herself. My first question was, can you be more specific? Further discussion revealed that if she lost ten pounds, kept her home tidier and spent more time with family and friends, she would feel good about herself. Once she realized that each of these were interim goals, her next step was to design a plan of action.
Losing ten pounds was achieved by going to the gym for 30 minutes 4-5 x per week in addition to strength training at home for 20-30 minutes 2 x per week and following a healthy eating plan prescribed by her doctor. Keeping her home tidier was accomplished by creating a checklist of chores and following a weekly house-keeping schedule. Spending time with family and friends occurred more regularly, once she began setting reminders in her calendar to arrange get-togethers. Specific, laser-like goals translated into achievable goals and as a result, she felt good about herself.
Focus on your feelings: Rather than focusing solely on what you want to achieve, ask yourself how do I want to feel? For example, if you want to feel less stressed, the first step is to identify the root cause of your stress. If your job is the culprit, decide what needs to be changed, set goals around that and then design a plan of action. Your plan might include stress management techniques, speaking with your boss, a coworker or looking for a new job. Once you relieve the stressors at work or find a more satisfying job, you will feel less stressed.
Go the distance: Achieving your goals may require you to engage in novel, sometimes challenging behavior for an extended period of time. For example, if your goal is to purge and reorganize your file cabinet within one week, you will need to work on it consistently, even if you don't feel like it. Goal-setting requires a commitment not only to the goal, but to the process of achieving it...no matter how difficult or unpleasant.
Schedule your ETA: Setting laser-like goals and implementing a strategic plan of action are necessary to achieve any goal, but without a deadline, your goal will just remain a dream. Choose a target date for achieving your goal and enter it in your calendar. You might choose a specific date or a range of dates i.e. between the 1st and the 15th of the month. Setting a deadline helps you pace yourself and keeps your eyes on the prize.
Don’t overthink it: I get it, you want to think things through. You want to get it right. What you don’t want is to get caught up in an endless loop of analysis-paralysis that serves no purpose other than to keep you stuck. Taking the plunge is often easier than standing poised and agonizing at the edge of the cliff. While I don’t recommend flying by the seat of your pants, there is something to be said for spontaneity. Just do it!
Bottom line: Let your vision and your feelings guide you in setting clear and specific goals and then formulate a plan of action that is detailed, but not overly complicated. Implement your plan and tweak it as you go along. Control what you can and let go of the rest. Pay attention to the consequences of your actions, because "There is no such thing as failure, only feedback." Learning from your mistakes will consistently move you in the direction of your goals.