7 ways to stick to your goals when life throws you a curveball

Many people, particularly neurodiverse folks, avoid “goals” because they have had a history of “failure.” Try as they may, their life is littered with good intentions that do not result in the intended product. As a result, they find themselves not trying, or, when they do try, they expect to fail…and so, guess what? Yes, they do — they “fail.”

What happens? Most often, “life gets in the way.”

You know, the inconvenient flat tire that makes you late. The unexpected trip to the doctor’s office which derails your week. A trusted supplier letting you down at short notice…The list goes on (and on… and ON!)

Now, these individual problems might not take long to resolve, and their impact is usually minor, but the thing about them is that they all add up to create one big Problem: distraction.

So, how do we combat this distraction like the true Wisdom Warriors we are and make sure we don’t forget our goal? How do we keep our focus when the busy, LOUD old world around us (and our own brains!) keep getting in the way?

These seven steps/tips I’m about to share with you tend to work for most people. Try one or two J

  1. Be Visual.

If, like me, you like to be able to literally SEE things in front of you, I invite you to start a ‘Goal (intention) (Future Accoomplishment) (Challenge) Board’. It’s easy — all you need is a corkboard, two pieces of string and some post-its! First, use the string to split your board into fourths. Then, write your goals on your post-its and divide them into two: those you want to achieve soonest will live in the top left quarter of the board, and those that are sort of on the backburner for now will go on the bottom left. And then, when you complete a goal, move it across to the right-hand side so you can see how far you’ve come and feel PROUD! I like to keep my board in my home office, as that’s where I go when I want to organize myself, but you might find your kitchen or someplace else works better for you.

2. Set Reminders.

Modern technology can be a real friend to us sometimes, and “goal” setting is no exception! Assuming you’re tied to your phone, use a reminder app to note down your goals and set yourself an alert to pop up during the day to keep those goals in the front of your mind.

**note** when you begin to ignore the reminders shut them off and try something else.

3. Keep it Fun.

Goals are not chores. How about a Goal of napping? The moment a goal stops being fun, your brain will find ways to avoid working towards that goal: it will seek out pretty much ANYTHING ELSE instead, like those distractions I spoke about earlier! So, find a way to make your goals fun and light, that way you’ll look forward to working towards them and feel more motivated instead of allowing them to become a burden. And, speaking of burdens…

4. Breathe.

If there is no way to make a goal fun and the thought of it alone is enough to make you break out in a cold sweat of dread…stop it. Is it a necessary evil you can’t avoid, or does it simply need refining? For example, have you put “run three times a week” down as a goal even though you hate running and your actual goal is to “move” three times a week instead? Don’t add something that does not come from your soul desire.

5. Buddy Up.

Teamwork makes the dreamwork, they say, so why not find yourself an ‘accountability partner’ when it comes to your goals? Having someone to remind you of your goal and keep you on track can be a real help when life gets busy. This is one of the main reasons participants have such raving results through my Streamline your Success Group coaching

6. Lighten the Load.

You may have the tendency to take the phrase ‘seize the day’ a bit too literally and go on a mad spree of goal setting (or doing laundry, or paperwork…) completely bombarding yourself with EVERYTHING TO DO all at once. If this sounds like you, take a moment to go through your goals list and get rid of the ones you either aren’t fully committed to or were added to the list as ‘easy wins’ you knew you would tick off right away. They are a distraction.

7. Break it Down.

That super important, MAJOR, ultimate, FINAL goal you’ve set yourself looks and sounds great, but it can easily become a mirage in the distance if we’re not careful. To keep it fresh and current in your mind, make sure you give yourself milestones to hit on the way to that final goal. That’ll keep your motivation high and stop you feeling like you’ve ‘achieved nothing’ because you’ve not checked off that big goal yet.

As always, here’s a final thought before you go…

“We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” ― Robert Brault

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