5:03 a.m. came fast but there it was… my husband’s Fitbit alarm vibrating away on his wrist. Parsley, our youngest dog, army crawled out from his cave under our bed. Sleep time was over. As I stretched my arms and legs, inching my way out of bed, I reminded my husband of the plan.

See, we really enjoy camping activities of any kind and we were invited to a local campsite for dinner and, my weakness, s’mores. However, the chores that come with homeownership were hanging over our heads. We had work to do and “eating the frog” meant we had a horse-sized frog. I needed a plan.

Before I knew it, my Saturday game plan transformed into a combination of ConvergenceCoaching’s Work To Do (WTD) process and goal setting strategies wrapped up into an organizational, colorful dreamboat.

It had many elements of a well thought out plan:forgotten-goal-setting-step

  • The “end game”
  • Our goals or chores of the day before we could go play at the campsite
  • The steps we needed to take
  • Listed dependencies
  • Applicable by-when times

Overall, the plan succeeded. We crossed off nearly all of the tasks on the list. We sat fireside that evening and I boasted about the numerous chores we had accomplished in a short amount of time, how we added more tasks to our list, and about waking up at 5:03 a.m. on a Saturday (yes, that is a thing) all while “we are the champions” played in my head.

Now that the buzz of Saturday’s accomplishments has worn off, I realize that I missed an important step of the goal setting process: reflection. I always enjoy the celebratory stage of reflection (see bragging comments above), but I miss reflecting on why I didn’t reach a goal or stretch goal.

In Saturday’s case, I headed off to bed and gave my husband a verbal pat on the back and brushed off the disappointment of not meeting our stretch goal, morel mushroom hunting, by saying, “We just didn’t have time to squeeze it in.” In reality, we had the time. We just haven’t been learning from our mistakes and those mistakes are becoming our norm.

Mistakes and achievements of varying levels occur in our pursuit of our “end game” or overarching goals and they are an important aspect of growth. However, if we do not take the time to reflect on our goals, accomplishments, and the mistakes, we will never learn, or “get better”. It is the wise reminder from your 6th grade history teacher, who loosely quoted philosopher George Santayana and was teaching more about life than you realized when she said, “Those who don’t learn from their past are doomed to repeat it.” And that is the truth.

Reflection, the forgotten goal setting step, has provided us the opportunity to learn so in the future my husband and I are unstoppable in reaching our stretch goals. For example, through my reflection period granted to me by writing this blog, I realize my husband and I are serial forget-the-list-at-home or don’t-check-the-list-before-jumping-in-line kind of people. We often miss the mark of sticking to the list or our plan when we’re trying to knock out chores or “have-to-do” priorities is costing us valuable time doing something we enjoy. Moving forward, we plan to ensure we have the list before getting into the car and to triple check it before paying.

Overall, we must remember that while we set, pursue, and accomplish goals, we can always learn. It is during reflection that we stop and take the valuable time to refine, become more efficient, improve our processes, or simply just get better. Sure, be proud of what you have accomplished, sing “we are the champions” in your head (or out loud) but never forget to learn and grow from your experiences.

Now that things are slowing down for you with the passing of deadlines, stay diligent in your goal setting by revisiting the goals you have accomplished. Sit down and identify where you can improve. What steps went well? Were you grateful for the work you did complete? What tasks went wrong? Where were your hiccups and could you have delegated something to someone else or shifted outcomes with different action? Remember to undertake this “forgotten” step and reflect on how you can improve.  That way, you can take your goals – and your performance – to the next level.

Until next time,