I offer free one-hour complimentary sessions before people enroll in my one-on-one coaching. About six months ago I was talking with a young mortgage officer. He was hungry, working hard, and had a desire to succeed. He was working extreme hours and his girlfriend made him take a few hours a week off of work because he wouldn’t take the time off himself. Towards the end of our session I told him, “Be careful not to attach your identity to your work.” And he responded, “What do you mean?” He already had and he was walking a fine line between goals and obsession.
With the new year coming and all the goals being publicly announced this time of year, it has me thinking about obsessions. There are quotes being shared about goals that actually talk about obsessions. “Set high goals and don’t do anything besides that until your goal is achieved.” “Anything that is outside of working towards your goal is a distraction.” The quotes go on and on.
Setting goals and feeling good about them is hard to do. Success is one of the only addictions that the more addicted you become, the more recognition you receive. I am completely for success, but when it’s done in a sustainable way. I’m for it when the person working towards it is present to the amount of work they are putting in and know why they are doing what they do. I’m for people sacrificing to reach new heights but do so willingly and consciously. Too many people just work for the sake of working. They become addicted, and set obsessions instead of goals. I feel so strongly about this because this is how I used to be.
There are times to push. And there are times to rest. If we wrap our identity into our title or profession, the times to rest become really challenging. You have an obsession when you’re completely fixated on something. I had become so obsessed with work that at one point, my mentor had to have a conversation with me. He said, “Becky, you’re going to have to find things to do that aren’t work. It isn’t healthy to work as hard as you are. You have to find something else you love.”
I remember being embarrassed as Peter said this to me. I really had nothing else going on in my life except my work at 24 years old. No boyfriend. No hobbies. Just work. I really wanted to “make it”, pay off my debt, and earn some validation in the world. It would be a few more years until I really heard Peter’s advice. And now that has become my focal point in coaching: help people achieve sustainable success without burning out. People burn out when they obsess. When they can’t do anything but what they are addicted to. This year when you set your 2020 goals, please make sure they are goals and not obsessions.
To achieve anything great, it’s the little things done on a consistent basis that make all the difference. It doesn’t need to be the only thing you do all day. It doesn’t need to be done 18 hours a day. It just needs to be thought about and acted on every day. (Give or take a few days off. You have to rest!)
Here is my advice as you set your goals for 2020 and beyond –
- Create 3-5 goals at most. 1-2 of them you can attack in the first 90 days. The others may take all year. One of them will probably be most important and create a ripple effect for the others.
- Set time frames for them. Realistic time frames. I’ve made this mistake so many times. I forget to anticipate the amount of work it will really take to achieve something and then feel the pressure to get it done. We need deadlines and they should motivate us, not scare us.
- Measure your progress. If you can’t see how far you’ve come, you will may give up more easily. Create benchmarks and when you should expect to reach them. You can then compare with where you are to where you anticipated you should have been. We need to see a scoreboard to stay in the game and be engaged. Where will you keep your scoreboard? It has to be in a place you see daily. Write down your top 3 goals for each day, daily. One of these goals can be the big goal you’re working towards (without becoming an obsession.)
I root for you and you deserve all the success that’s coming your way in 2020. If you need help figuring out your game plan or making sure that how you’re going to work towards those goals is done in a fulfilling and sustainable way, reach out to me and schedule a free session here.