Since 2020 all of us have been affected in one way or another by the global pandemic. I believe when the pandemic first hit it started to erode the illusion of control, but that has created anxiety for some people, but it really doesn’t need to be that way.
I see unplanned change as a chance to release ourselves from the demons of thinking that life should be a particular way.
It’s true that bad stuff happens to all of us, none of us get through life unscathed, and trying to control the uncontrollable is a surefire way of setting ourselves up to fail.
So, how do we stay on track? When life throws a curveball (like a global pandemic), what should we do?
I take the following approach when faced with unplanned change:
- I focus on what I can control
- I work out what it is about this thing that is important to me
- I use positive language to focus on what I want to achieve when dealing with the issue
- I implement my plans and then I constantly review and monitor progress and my actions to ensure I am working for my best interests
Here’s how you can use this approach to set and achieve your goals for 2022
1. If you want to set a goal for 2022 that you can achieve, it must be something within your control, so setting the goal ‘I want my boss to recognise my talents in 2022 and offer me a promotion’ is deeply flawed.
Let’s unpick this to identify what is inside and outside of your control.
We need to start by agreeing you cannot control what your boss thinks about you.
You can create the conditions to shine in your role eg turning up for meetings prepared, being focused on achieving specific objectives and delivering to deadlines.
You can identify opportunities to add more value, eg by identifying stretch goals for yourself, by developing the skills to meet those goals and by creating a plan of action to achieve those goals.
You cannot control how this is perceived by your boss. Will they feel threatened and that you are after their job or will they feel pleased to know they can rely on you to go the extra mile?
You cannot control whether there will be a role to be promoted into. Maybe the budget doesn’t exist to create a promotion, maybe your boss just doesn’t feel you are ready for promotion, maybe your boss has their eye on someone they worked well with previously who they want to bring into the business.
2. Your goal must be meaningful to you. Ask yourself why do you want this goal, and then ask why again, up to five times until you get to the kernel of your why on this goal, then review what comes up and make sure it aligns with your values and not someone else’s.
Example scenario using the promotion goal.
Why do you want the promotion? Because I want to move out of my family home, why do you want to move out of your family home? Because I want my independence. Why do you want your independence? Because I am getting on for 30 and I feel I should be independent. Why do you feel you should be independent at 30? Because my friends are starting to get married and settle down and I should be too.
So you want the promotion because you want to keep up with your friends. At this point I would ask if you even like your job.
Why do you want the promotion? Because I have worked hard to get to this level. Why did you work hard to get to this level? Because I enjoy what I do. Why do you enjoy what you do? I like helping people and this job helps me to do that.
So you want the promotion because you want to help people, and this job gives you the opportunity to do that. You are on the right path.
3. Use positive language to focus on what you want to achieve, notice I didn’t say ‘I don’t want to do this job anymore, I don’t want to be at the bottom of the ladder, I don’t want my boss to keep giving me all the low-level jobs’
Lots of times when we set ourselves goals we focus on what we don’t want, instead of what we do want. So when writing your goals you really need to pay attention to using positive language. Otherwise you will spend so much time focusing on what you don’t want, you will get more of that.
4. Review and monitor progress. Work out your strategy for achieving your goals and staying on track, and then implement it.
As a business owner I know it is easy to focus on what is easy and let big goals slide as you focus on what you enjoy. I have an accountability buddy, who is also a business owner (thank you Sarah Stones), and we meet online weekly, and in-person quarterly. Each year we set our goals for the year, each month we set our goals for the month, each week we set our goals for the week.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Because of my accountability meetings with Sarah I am on target to achieve something that has been a wish of mine for a few years now!
Our review process needs a bit of work, but hey, that’s one of my goals for 2022!
If one of your goals for 2022 is to set a wellbeing strategy for the year ahead, or to develop your management skills or management team, get in touch today to find out how I can help.