As 2022 comes to a close, many of us take stock of the year that is passing and create goals and resolutions for the coming year.  I always do this.  In fact, at the end of 2020, I wrote a blog post detailing my process which hasn’t changed.

Personally, and professionally, I believe that it is very important to create goals and work towards achieving them.  In fact, this is how I make my living.  As a Coach, I collaborate with people to clarify their goals and strategize ways to achieve them.  Achieving a big goal is one step at a time.  I also like to build in flexibility.  More on that later.

However, what happens when you create a big signature goal, and you don’t achieve it within the time frame?

The Unachieved Goal

I decided on this topic for the final blog post of 2022 because this is what I am dealing with right now. 

This is what I did:

  1. I created a signature, laser focused goal for 2022.
  2. I put my strategy together. 
  3. I completed all of the steps, but the final one, that I could do on my end to achieve this goal.

However, my Signature Goal, as goals often do, has external factors over which I have no control. 

I found out last week, that I will not be able to achieve this goal in my time frame.  And therein lies the key phrase, “my time frame.”

So yes, I’m discouraged that this goal will go “unachieved for 2022” but I won’t let that stop me from achieving this goal and I’m confident I will.  I just need to adjust my time frame.  Enter flexibility

Am I disappointed?  Yes.  Will I let it stop me?  No.  Disappointed but not discouraged.

In times such as these when I’m disappointed, I, like any good native Floridian and graduate of the University of Florida, turn to the lyrics of Mr. Tom Petty. 

About ten minutes before I got the news that my goal would not be achieved this year, I heard the song “I Won’t Back Down” on the radio while driving home.  When I got home and checked the email relaying the news, my initial response was utter disappointment and failure that I wouldn’t achieve my goal by the end of the year. 

A little while later, after some processing, I remembered the song and got motivated again.

Image Showing Goal Setting and SMART goals

Reframing the Unachieved Goal

Many people out there will tell you that when setting goals, they must be SMART goals.

SMART means:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Realistic
  5. Timely

I subscribe to the SMART formula, but I like to add two more elements: Importance and Flexibility.  I call it the SMART IF formula.

To drill down on Importance, I like to ask, “Why is this goal important for you?”  “What will change for you when you achieve this goal?”  “How badly do you want it?”

I add Flexibility because as we all know, life gets in the way and things happen.  Someone may get sick.  Responsibilities at work may change.  A new opportunity that is “too good to be true” appears and you need to jump on it. 

Things happen, so goals may change.  Goals may have external factors that don’t work in your time frame. 

I decided to reframe my disappointment about not achieving my 2022 Signature Goal, by asking myself the “Important” questions.  My conclusion was that this goal is still super important to me.  For where I am in my life, it will define me.  I want to achieve it, and “I Won’t Back Down.”

Goals 2023

Looking Forward to 2023

As 2022 comes to an end, and we look forward to 2023, I worked with my Coach to determine and clarify three Signature Goals for the New Year.  These three Signature Goals were filtered through my SMART IF formula.  I also decided to continue working on my 2022 Signature Goal in 2023 because of its importance to me and keeping in mind flexibility.

I no longer feel that this goal was unachieved.  It just needed a bit more time, and it is worth it to me to give it that time.

A final word on Flexibility.  So often we get so hung up on the goal being time bound.  I’m guilty of this. We may feel like a failure when we don’t achieve the goal. 

When you feel like a failure, the motivation to achieve the goal (and even create future goals) goes away.  This is why you turn to the Importance of the goal.  The Importance continues the motivation.

If you find yourself having difficulties achieving goals, or being motivated to set goals, check in with the SMART IF formula.  This will set you up for success. 

Or you can set up a consultation with me to determine if some goal setting coaching sessions would be the right fit for you.

You have the power to make 2023 pure magic when you create goals using the SMART IF formula.