What do you do when you’re moving along, successfully reaching your measurable milestones, and suddenly life throws you a curveball?
It’s easy to talk about setting goals and taking the steps to reach those goals, however, if I didn't take a minute to acknowledge that sometimes life forces us to pivot, I wouldn’t be giving you the full picture of goal-planning.
These three simple rules will help you keep moving forward when life hits a speed bump:
Watch your priorities.
Everything in life can’t be a priority at the same time. Everyone has limits. If you’re in the middle of a crisis, those limits get even more precise. The most important thing to do if you’re battling chaos is to recalibrate your focus. Whether it’s sickness, hardship, or loss, allow yourself to lay aside any higher-level expectations so you can meet your direct needs.
Our local YMCA gives members the ability to put their memberships on hold for up to 3 months. I had a friend who was doing an amazing job showing up and meeting her workout goals. Then, life hit hard. She put her membership on hold for two months. I remember her telling me that she was afraid to pause the membership because she had been so consistent, but there was no way that she would be able to keep up that practice while dealing with her current situation.
Though it’s hard to make the decision to pause progress, I think it’s important to be realistic in these circumstances. My friend took the time she needed to address her crisis moment and she was successful in overcoming the urgent obstacles in that 2-month window.
Once she was able, she renewed her membership and jumped right back in. Yes, she was discouraged because she had lost some of what she had built before the pause. Ultimately, she was able to give herself permission to focus on the immediate priority, get to the other side of it, and get back after it when the time was right for her.
You have that ability too.
If you need to pause, that doesn’t mean you have to throw all of your progress away. Focus on your immediate priorities but realize you will be able to return to your path when the time is right.
Keep it simple.
During a crisis moment, everything feels overwhelming. That’s the nature of the human experience. Sometimes, just getting to the end of the day is a legitimate success. It’s important to focus on what you did accomplish and not try to make things more difficult because of a sense of guilt.
Lay your more complex planning aside and allow yourself to put that on pause, just like my friend’s YMCA membership. Put a date on the calendar when you’ll pick that back up and see if you can re-start the process when that day comes. Otherwise, let those things go as you focus on moving past the difficulty.
Then, set simple and crisis-friendly goals so that you don’t lose everything. Instead of going to the gym 3 times a week, do five minutes of squats before you eat breakfast. Make super simple goals that can be done in short bursts. Success during difficult times is going to look different, and that’s okay.
Focus on your routine.
One thing that we tend to utilize, even during the tough moments, is our daily routine. Our days generally take on a regular flow, despite what we're up against. Find ways to use that routine to stay encouraged. Feeling normal while struggling through hardship is very important. It can be tempting to give in to emotion and avoid even the most basic level of care, don't let it go that far. You don't have to attempt to reach your goals in this season, but don't lose yourself.
Remember, a crisis is only a small section of your life. Though it does require a great deal of attention, there are ways you can keep moving toward health and wholeness in the midst of the struggle.
At Merit Advisors, we know that life doesn’t always move from point A to point B without some difficult times. We can’t plan for every single eventuality, but this is why our focus is on finding ways to get your future income secure, so that you have space to navigate life's other curveballs.
There are times that life hits hard, but you should be in a place where you can pause in those moments and focus on making it through the valley. There will always be a path forward. Don’t give up. And once you’re free from the struggle, pick back up those SMART goals and keep building the life you desire. Remember, winter comes once a year, but so does the spring. Wishing you the best as you continue to build your path for 2022!