One of the reasons people fail at achieving their goals or give up on their goals is because they aren’t seeing the results they want or expected. In last month’s blog post, we talked about how lack of results could be because people give up when it comes to completing the smaller daily tasks that contributes to our overall goals. I chose to call this the “smaller moments of giving up”. However, some of us could be in situations where we aren’t achieving our goals because we are consistently succeeding at these smaller tasks without learning from them, which brings us to the topic of today’s blog post. The importance of learning to adapt and pivot to help you achieve your goals and avoid giving up.
As I wrote last month’s blog post about how to achieve your goals by not giving up on the smaller tasks that feed into the overall goal, I realised that there are so many people that are amazing at getting the daily tasks done, but they still aren’t seeing the results they need. A popular example could be the person that goes for a jog every single day, but they still aren’t seeing the weight loss results they want. So what could be the issue there? Well, my initial answer to that question is not actually my words, but they're words that I keep in mind when reviewing my goals. They're the words of Albert Einstein when he said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.
And this is where a lot of people fall short. Not enough of us are stopping to review whether our daily tasks are getting us closer to our goal. Most of us set our sights on a particular goal or dream, then we think about what steps will help us achieve those goals. If you’re proactive, you might do some research about how other people have achieved that same goal and use that information to decide on the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. By the way, I would advise you to be proactive.
Either way, you now have the steps that you’ll be working towards. Let’s call it your action plan. Now let’s also say that you’re super disciplined, so you’re successfully implementing your action plan. Well once again, too many of us think that this is the end point, but technically it’s only just the beginning.
When you have an action plan for an overall goal, whether it’s something like gaining a qualification, losing weight, saving more money, learning to swim, eating healthier or generating extra income through a side hustle, it is never a good idea to blindly implement that action plan and hope it all works out. It’s important to stop and review whether that action plan is actually getting you closer to your goal. You need to ask yourself, are you further along in the course than you were last month? Have you lost any weight? How much more money have you saved? And the list goes on. Basically, you need to check whether all your hard work is taking you in the right direction. If it is, then congratulations. Your action plan is working for now, keep working it out and reviewing it as you go along.
If all your hard work isn’t getting you closer to your goals, then this is where the pivot is your best friend. Sticking to the example about weight loss, let’s say I’m jogging every single day, my fitness levels are up and I’m finding it easier to run 5km. In fact, I’m well on my way to 10km. The only issue is that I’m not losing weight as quickly as I expected to. And yes I should be proud of myself for getting my fitness levels up, but it would be “insane” to keep doing the exact same thing, thinking that I would get different weight loss results.
And this is where we need to review and ask questions such as what type of exercise am I doing? While cardio such as jogging is good for general fitness, an exercise that implements some form of weights is much better for weight loss. So, the pivot might be to add some resistance training into my daily workout and see if that gets me closer to my weight loss goals. Or maybe it’s a diet issue? Then I’d need to check if I’m eating less calories than I lose on my daily run. This time around, the pivot would be my meal plan. Or maybe I can see some changes in the mirror, but the issue is that scale says I’m gaining weight because I’m building more muscle. Well in this case, it might be time to pivot the goal itself and change it from wanting to “lose weight” to focusing on what I want to look like such as a waist measurement.
The truth is that it could be anything and it’s easy for me to come up with alternative pivot options when it’s a topic that I’m relatively comfortable with. However, most of us don’t know what we don’t know, so if you find yourself in the position where you’re successfully completing your action plan, I'd encourage you to:
- Review your action plan and your goal progress by asking yourself if the actions you’re taking are getting you closer to your goals?
- Re-educate yourself on the topic by finding out what experts say you should be doing and how you should be doing it.
- Create a new action plan based on the new information.
- Be ready to rinse & repeat by reviewing whether completing the new action plan is now getting you closer to your goal.
Learning to pivot and adapt is vital in helping you achieve your goals and avoid giving up. When we work towards our goals in a manner that will never help us achieve them, it doesn’t matter how disciplined we are and how much we follow through, because it won't get us to where we want to go to and the inevitable result is always going to be that final moment of giving up. I’d encourage you to choose sanity, check that the work you’re doing is getting you closer to your goal and if it isn’t, try something new until you find what works.
And this should have been my opening point, but I think it works well that I'm concluding my thoughts with this point, because it is the most important step of all. For us Christians, we know that the best advice we can ever get is from the Holy Spirit. It is advice that is tailored to us and our circumstances. So while it is important to do all the work of setting a goal, educating ourselves on the issue, creating an action plan, implementing the action plan and reviewing it as we go along, let us remember to involve God throughout the process, to seek His advice and His support. Time and time again in scripture, God reminds us that anything worth doing is worth doing through Him, whether it’s His words in Proverbs 3: 5 - 6 or Zechariah 4: 6 or one of the many other examples in the bible. In this moment, the one scripture that is front and centre is Psalm 127: 1a.