Setting money or work goals is the easy part. Keeping up your momentum so they stick for the long term? That's where the battle begins.
Maybe you create a plan of action so sweeping that it overwhelms you. Or you get sidetracked and bogged down by the daily grind. Perhaps you know you want to change but aren't sure what the first step should be, so you end up spinning your wheels. However you get there, when you sense that you're stuck, it's discouraging.
So how can you get unstuck and move forward? According to Jodi Womack, CEO of the Get Momentum Leadership Academy and author of "Get Momentum: How to Start When You’re Stuck," here's how to bust out and reach your goals.
How do you know when you’re stuck?
If things aren’t moving forward in your life, and you feel isolated, frustrated, as well as physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted, chances are you’re stuck. But if you can't feel it, listen to yourself. If you often repeat phrases like, “I don’t know what to do next … I tried that once and it didn’t work for me … I’m confused … I’m overwhelmed ... I don’t know where to start,” then you're in a rut.
Many people feel stalled at work. Why does this happen?
If you're not feeling momentum at work, everything feels stagnant. [The reason this happens is] the same as in any other area of life: You don’t create clear goals as to what you want to get out of your job and where you hope it will take you. Or you do have goals, but you don’t monitor them closely, and before you know it, you veer off track.
We suggest our clients take a strategic approach to goal setting — specifically, to let themselves dream and build a vision of how they'd love things to be. Then, constantly scan the landscape of opportunity and look for new chances to move toward their goals.
What's the most effective way to kick-start momentum?
Establish firm, clear goals and then set up milestones — intermediate mini-goals that make it easier to achieve the [larger goals]. We suggest something called the 30/30 Rule, whereby you devote 30 minutes a day to focusing on something that is 30 days away or more. For example, you spend a little time each day keeping track of a big work project coming down the road in a month rather than avoiding it and letting it sneak up on you.
Also, the 30/30 Rule can help you with larger career questions like, “Do I want to be in the same job a year from now or do I want to start doing everything I can to get that promotion?” If so, you would take that one-year goal and break it into 12 monthly goals. When it's time to check your progress on the next monthly goal, see if you can schedule two to four of those 30/30 Rule blocks each month to work on that.
When it comes to finances, especially paying off debt, people seem to get very stuck. Why?
With money, it all boils down to having an exact sense of what’s coming in and what’s going out. Too often, people get stuck because they don’t have a basic understanding of this equation. If that’s your situation, sit down and do the math. Ask hard questions like, “What one change can I make to keep me moving forward?” Or, “Where can I cut back?” Or, “Where do I have the opportunity to create income?”
In the book you place a strong emphasis on relying on a mentor. What makes a good mentor?
Jason and I have two different approaches to mentors. For me, a mentor is someone who cares about me deeply, a person who cares about my goals but also cares about me. For Jason, he views anyone he has learned from as a mentor. That includes authors he's never met but whose books he’s read or an expert who has given a Ted Talk he watched online.
Find someone who's willing to help you achieve a vision that's a little bigger and a little more outrageous than your current self.
Is there a right time to try to escape a rut?
Some people prefer starting on a set date, like New Year’s Day. If that works for you, by all means, do it. But I’m a bit of a rebel in this area because I feel it sets you up for failure: You vow to get in shape only to hit the gym for three weeks in January with the rest of the crowd and quit.
Instead, I strongly believe that the absolute best time to work on a goal is right now. Don’t wait! If you want to eat better or save more money or get your resume together, do it today. And if you find yourself making excuses, then dig deep and ask what’s the real reason you have such discomfort about starting now. That answer will help identify the problem and hopefully put you in a place of forward movement.
What if you get derailed and feel discouraged?
The fastest way we know to reboot is to ask yourself, "What do I want to be known for?" This will help you create your criteria for what you do and don't do [to get back on track].