Uncertainty seems inevitable, and goal setting even more important
We all need to set goals to feel like we’re succeeding in our lives. But this has been a time of great uncertainty and goal setting has been tough. Previously simple goals like booking a holiday feel unachievable.
Soon it will be a year into the pandemic but many uncertainties will surely continue when it comes to our lives, businesses, work, careers and education. Here are just some of the questions my clients and team are asking:
- How certain will my work be in 2021?
- Where can I find new work?
- Should we try another round of IVF and, can we still afford it?
- Is this a good time to be at Uni or return for another degree?
- How long can I keep resilient in these difficult times?
- Is this a good time to start a business or should I wait?
- When will I/we be finally able to have a holiday?
- Should I still socially distance?
- How will I ever get back into a normal routine of office work?
- Will the economy finally pick up?
- What should I do with myself?
- What happens if…?
While much has been written about how these difficult times make goal-setting and planning impossible, I believe the very opposite. When so much seems to be uncertain, having goals around things we can control, provides vital structure and grounding to keep us safe mentally, emotionally, maintaining physical and spiritual well-being. Hence, I think it’s a good time to invite you to set goals using my Grid method. Why Grid? Because Grid is designed for balance, which is key to a calm nervous system, mind-body health, as well as how we live and work with others.
Start with a general positive direction in 4 key areas
Grid invites you to work and set goals within 4 key areas:
- personal life
- work/business or studies
Each of these is vital for keeping us feeling and doing well. In fact, even if three out of four are good, we will tend to feel weighed down by the one that needs work. This is largely because our bodies and our minds are wired to detect imbalance. It’s how problems and illness start.
Not a natural goal setter, no problem
If you’re not naturally someone who likes to set goals, I suggest you take a moment to work on setting a general intention for each of these four areas. This can be in the form of a general wish or direction you want to adopt for yourself or a picture of what you want to happen.
An intention is a very powerful force. Behind its power is our will or spirit. Did you know manifesting was apparently a trendy word of 2020? I guess we all wanted to wish Covid away a lot. But the power of intention is only one-half of any success formula. When we set a genuine intention, we put our unconscious and conscious energy behind it, and whether we know it or not, we also align our actions with it. This is why positive thinking alone does not grow successful businesses or earn ‘A’s in exams, effort does. If you want to avoid writing out goals that will stress you out, simply consider an ideal scenario or a vignette of the sort of life that would serve your highest good in each Grid quadrant.
Like to set goals? Here’s a practical way to move forward
For those who like to set goals, I recommend picking 2-3 goals for each area and keeping them to things you can do in these trying times. Here are a few questions to aid you.
- What already works that I can strengthen here?
- What would be good for me to start doing or stop?
- What needs me the most that I tend to neglect or overlook, and how can I ensure I don’t let myself down any longer?
- What 1-2 things would I simply love to realize over the next 12 months or advance?
- What would help make the largest positive difference to how I feel on a daily basis?
3 key lessons for the year from my personal Grid practice
One of the things I love about gridding is how much it helps me improve the way I set goals. Doing Grids over the years has helped me to re-balance more, attend to my health and fitness, pinpoint areas where I needed and still need external help, and feel proud from all that I managed to do during times filled with adversity. In a nutshell, Grids have kept me safe and grounded. As I reviewed the Grids from this year, here are my three key lessons for goal setting.
Lesson 1: Grid on paper so you can face the good, the bad and make informed decisions about it
There’s a very good reason why I did not adopt technology for the Grid. The right technology simply has not been invented just yet or I need to find time to attend more tech expos for the latest gadgets. Don’t get me wrong, I do love technology but only where it really is indispensable. What I don’t want technology to do is to help us stop thinking, reflecting and analyzing information using our own minds and in essence dumbing us down. There’s enough of this going on as it is.
Because Grid happens on paper, you can literally take your Grid pages and create a flipbook to quickly show you a few things. Here’s what I discovered.
- I am incredibly prolific and productive, but I do take on way too much!
- I have too many ideas and I like coming up with new things. In other words, I’m a creative person but I need help executing ideas. As my science mentor said many years ago, ideas are cheap because they take seconds. It’s the effort we put into developing them that matters because this takes grit and determination.
- I am also not so good at showing up to things that bore me. For example, I put off things that could ultimately help things go easier, like automation. It’s never fun to tackle it because it seems boring to start with but the eventual pay-off from it is massive.
Because Grid shows me month after month of boxes I never managed to highlight, I can see that these are patterns of behaviour that define me. Some, like productivity and creativity, I am happy to keep. Some, however, I want to and need to change. We are all a work in progress and that’s what makes life exciting.
Lesson 2. Yearly Grid goals help you check in on your character.
When I look back at what I wanted to achieve at the start of 2020, there are many things that I was not able to realize. Many of these goals where impacted by Covid. I could not travel or develop our in-person work. I had to pause specific projects I really wanted to realize because of financial uncertainty. We did not reach stardom with our online training but those who took the plunge to join us in our virtual retreats were super pleased. We hope to deliver more in 2021 so get on our mailing list to be the first to know about upcoming dates. The old work-life balance challenge returned as I was forced to cope with the challenges of keeping a small business afloat.
In their place, however, came other goals like learning new skills and professionalizing old ones, strengthening connections with colleagues I enjoy working with, developing new products, and getting outside my introverted comfort zone to use social media. I launched my company’s LinkedIn page and my YouTube channel.
I learned that I’ve not got it all perfect and that I’m okay with that. I also learned that I am a hard worker and that my sincerity is deeply appreciated by others. Most of all I learned that I’m a really good coach, teacher, and collaborator. This makes me feel good as I enjoy working collaboratively.
Most of all I learned how to be the sort of person I want to be as a friend, lover, parent, boss, and student of life. So while there were horrible wobbles along the way, I feel my intention to make each moment count during the pandemic grew my personal leadership.
Lesson 3. Grid practice opens a spiritual path
Many people today seek meaning and a sense of purpose. I have always felt spiritually grounded but it is great to see how gridding has helped to deepen my spirituality. To a degree this is inevitable when one constructs Grids.
Questions naturally arise, and force you to consider them when you grid. Such as:
- What is it all for?
- Why am I here?
- What good is my life?
- What purpose do I serve?
- What do I want out of life, and what does life want to do with me?
They can humble the ego. They show me the never-ending mystery of life with all its hidden forces wielding influence: some from my family of origin, some from my ancestry, many from other influences I can’t easily explain yet clearly see at play. This has created a lovely tapestry of ways of being and seeing the world that has given me solid grounding and the ability to support others in their spiritual journeys. Most of all it has deepened my gratitude for all the things already present in my life.
Set goals for the new year
I am an optimist. While I expect not to travel much until the end of next year – perhaps summer if we’re lucky – I do plan to take two if not three weeks off during the summer to read, ride my bike and simply be creative.
I do plan to make more opportunities for young people to gain employability skills with us, and this mission alone motivates me to start conversations with our business partners to see how the value we add to their lives and businesses can help us continue to fund this. You may not know this, but for the last 3 years, Make Time Count has been able to fund a generous summer internship for 1 student. In 2021, I’d like to make it 2.
I also know for sure that investing in great feeling fitness gear is worth it if it gets me out to run. I need to keep healthy. What my 14-Day Habit Builder has taught me is that combining morning meditation with exercise is a winner! What goals will you set for next year?
Hey. I’m Magdalena. I have realized a form of success that many people covet: I like who I am, and I am deeply happy. I have done this being a woman which is nowhere near as easy as the world would make you believe. I sincerely wish the same for you. I can’t say I have a magic formula or a prescribed path for how to get there but I do have a number of neuroscience-informed, practical tools that I have used to help me link vision with action. They will help you too. And being a teacher at heart, I believe in sharing those insights to help equip others with the necessary inspiration, tools, and know-how to do the same.
Still need help to set goals?
- Please get in touch with me to explore how we can work together to help you best set goals.
- You may want to attend one of our retreats in the coming year to work on your personal development in a like-minded small group.
- Try my 14-Day Habit Builder which I continue to use myself to improve.
Here’s my promise to you. Whatever you do with me and Make Time Count, you will find yourself inspired, supported and equipped to make the positive changes you want to make. We all deserve a good life.