goals Jan 29, 2020
It’s a new year, and time for some tough love if you’re honestly interested in transformation and being the best version of yourself as you move forward. This isn’t one of those “don’t feel guilty about last year” discussions where you get absolution for your bad choices. No. Let’s be real about why you should feel guilty about last year’s results.
I hear all the time, "Don't feel guilty about not hitting your goals." People say, "You shouldn't feel bad about this year." All this talk sounds too much like, "You failed this year, that's awesome. You're still great."
Screw that! That’s not real life and there are no celebrations for what you didn’t get done last year. There are some circumstances where you should feel guilty about your results last year. But it’s not all bad news because there are some reasons you should NOT feel guilty about last year.
First, let’s be clear on the problem: If you knew what you needed to do and you didn't do it, you should feel guilty.
Maybe you knew last year that you should probably hire a coach but didn’t want to commit to being accountable. If you knew what you needed that accountability to reach your goals, and didn’t do it, you should feel guilty.
Does any of this internal dialogue sound familiar to you as you reflect on last year?
We have too many reasons at the ready when asked why we aren’t doing the things we know we should be doing. But, justifying why you aren’t at the level you could be at, or why you aren’t moving forward is the perfect strategy for failure. If you put more energy and effort into your excuses than doing the work required to get the results you wanted, you should feel guilty.
Another bad habit that sabotages high achievers is beating the crap up out of yourself all year long. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when messages like, "Man, I suck at this. I need to work harder. I need to be more disciplined," play on a loop in your head.
Treating yourself like a victim because you didn’t take the actions you should of, didn’t hire a coach, didn’t get better training, or didn’t get the help you needed may feel like appropriate penance. But beating yourself up isn’t not the same as taking responsibility and it’s not what I mean when I say you should feel guilty.
If you’re punishing yourself but not changing the habits and behaviors that got you where you are now you aren’t feeling guilty, you’re just playing the fancy victim. All dressed up, but finding reasons not to succeed.
You need to ask yourself the tough questions. When alone with myself and nobody else is around, how do I feel about myself? Do I feel good because I know every time I had a new awareness, I took action?
Successful people act. When they know what they need to do, they take steps in that direction. You may not get as far as you wanted to go, but you keep taking the steps. Then there is no place for guilt because you can feel great about where you are.
When you don’t act and ignore that voice in your head saying, "Get accountability. Do that work. Get up earlier. Read that book," you should feel really guilty about where you are right now. We live in too great a country, with too many blessings (you’re probably reading this on one of a half dozen electronic devices you own, right?) to not have better results from our use of time and resources.
Some people don’t want to acknowledge that there are no good excuses for not doing what you know you should be doing. This small but impactful kernel of truth can be hard to handle. But the reality is we live and work in the land of opportunity, with freedoms people have died to protect. There are way too many ways for you to succeed for anyone to not live up to their full potential.
Here are some of the reasons you shouldn't feel guilty when you reflect on last year’s results:
You shouldn't feel guilty about the results you got this year if you took the time to discover what was working and what wasn't working.
You shouldn't feel guilty this year if you took the time to effectively practice your craft. You had a goal, you planned, you prepared, and then you effectively practiced and you got better and better.
You shouldn't feel guilty if you were righting every wrong. When something went wrong, or there was a failure or a problem with a transaction, you righted that wrong and fixed the problem. You wrote down how and why you are going to do things in the future so you don’t repeat broken processes.
I see so many people depressed, beating themselves up because they're trying to make these huge jumps. They're trying to go from point A to point P in one leap, but you've got to go A, B, C, D. You shouldn't feel guilty if you kept making little adjustments. You shouldn't feel guilty if you are clear on what's next.
There is the promise of “a new year, a new you” if you can get clear on these three things that are going to make all the difference as you go forward.
First, you've got to have clarity. What do I need? What are the musts? What are the most important things for you to do? Clarity is required on where you're going and what you need to get there.
Second, you must execute a detailed and intentional review of past results. You need to cover what’s working and what’s not working. This is one of the things I see so many people miss. They set up real clarity at the start of a new year, but they don't have intentional reviews throughout the year. You don’t want to get to October wondering how the year flew by and you didn’t get any of your “must-do” items done.
The last thing you must do is take massive action. You know what needs to be done because you have clarity. You know what works and what doesn’t work because you’ve run intentional reviews on past results. Now you just need to get it done. Plan, schedule, and take massive action - no excuses.
Clarity, intentional reviews, then massive action. Ask yourself, "Should I feel guilty? Should I not feel guilty?" and then act. You know what to do. Go do it!
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