Looking ahead can be good – great even – but always focusing on future goals can mean missing important achievements along the way, says Nathalie Marquez Courtney.
Thing is, there is no magic moment when it all clicks and you’ve made it. There is no “it” – it is happening right now. We’re so busy planning dreaming and aspiring that we risk forgetting how bloody brilliant things are right now.
As one year draws to a close and another begins, many of us will have started thinking about our 2023 goals. What we want to do, where we want to go on holidays, what we want to accomplish. Maybe squeeze in some time to reflect and appreciate all you’ve accomplished already.
Share your success
It’s not boastful or braggy to tell the world when you’ve done something you’re proud of. It allows you to take a beat to celebrate what you’ve done and also update others – you can be so busy keeping the head down, often many people don’t even know what you’ve been up to.
A little procrastination is okay
We are so driven to focus on the big end goals that we often forget to enjoy the process. Don’t be so focused on end goals that you miss out on enjoying the actual work that gets you there.
Learn and reflect
Have a look at your last few projects and make a few notes: What did you enjoy about them? Did you learn anything new? What frustrated or blocked you? What could you do better next time? Celebrating and analysing the small wins will not only keep you on track for the bigger ones but help you spot if your interests and ambitions are shifting.
Remember how far you’ve come (and how bad you were)
If you’re having an unproductive or frustrating day, when those big goals seem impossibly out of reach, give yourself a boost by celebrating how far you’ve come. Open up a project from a few years ago and observe where you’ve grown and improved. Knowing that you’re better now than you were yesterday will help you stay focused on doing the best you can today.
Embrace the lulls
Productivity and creativity are like battery packs – you need to give them time to recharge. “Don’t feel guilty about going a bit slow,” says Aoife McElwain, author of Slow at Work (€12.99, Easons). “Embrace the fact you don’t need to hop out of bed and get straight into everything.”
Dream big, but start small
25% of New Year’s resolutions are broken within the first week, and that’s partly because these Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG) are too big and daunting. Figuring out what small steps will get you to your big wins will give you a huge advantage. Write your BHAG’s down, and set specific short-term milestones alongside tangible rewards. Celebrating feels good, so you’re more likely to stay focused and motivated if you keep doing it.