You’ve set good intentions for what you want to achieve this year, but then life happened. You’ve fallen completely behind and are beating yourself up about it. Can you recover when you’re so far off track? What can you do now, so you still end your year feeling confident about what you’ve achieved?
In this episode, Courtney and Blake talk with Deidra Romero, Client Success Specialist, about how to get back on track with a goal when you’ve fallen behind. They share 4 simple questions to ask yourself so you can reset, give yourself grace, and chart a new course.
In this episode, you’ll discover—
- How adjusting the method of a goal can lead to achieving your true aim
- Why deadlines are helpful tools but not helpful masters
- What it looks like to plan ahead realistically for obstacles
- Simple ways to keep your goals visible at all times
Blake: Welcome to another episode of Focus on This, the most productive podcast on the Internet, so you can banish distractions, get the right stuff done, and finally start loving Mondays. I’m Blake, here with Courtney Baker and Deidra Romero. Hello, everybody.
Blake: How was that? That was my Verbs. I was trying to do as well as Verbs. Obviously, people have already unsubscribed in the 30 seconds it took me to go through that because they’re like, “Wait a second. This isn’t the gentle timbre that I know, the soothing sultry tones of Verbs Boyer.”
Courtney: Well, you need to tell everybody ASAP where Verbs is because they’re all panicking right now.
Blake: Sure. Verbs quit the show. He flipped some tables, but we were on Zoom, so we didn’t really feel any of the physical fury. No, Verbs is on sabbatical. Doesn’t that sound nice?
Courtney: That does sound nice.
Blake: I actually think I will go on sabbatical now too. Are you guys cool to handle the rest of this?
Courtney: Oh, yeah, I’m sure we can. Deidra and I have…
Deidra: We’ve got this.
Courtney: We’ve got this. Speaking of…
Blake: I was trying to get you guys to say, “No, Blake. We need you.” I don’t really want to go on sabbatical.
Courtney: Deidra, tell the people all about yourself.
Deidra: Oh my. All about me.
Blake: Your legend precedes you though.
Courtney: That’s true.
Blake: Most people will know you as Miss Arkansas.
Deidra: Not true.
Blake: Anyway, go ahead.
Deidra: My title is client success specialist at Michael Hyatt & Company. What I do is talk to our clients all day, check in with them. I’m making sure they understand how Business Accelerator works, how they can be successful in the program. I’m literally just on Zoom three out of my five days of work, and I love it. It’s so fun. It’s a lot of relationship-building, a lot of digging into people’s problems and their pain and figuring out solutions for them.
I absolutely love it. I feel lucky that I get paid to do it. Somebody asked me yesterday… I said, “I think I’ve onboarded about a thousand clients, walked about a thousand clients through this program,” and one of the clients said, “Oh my gosh. Do you want to do something else?” I was like, “No! I love doing this. I feel really fortunate to do it.” So, yeah. That’s what I do here, and I did just get back from sabbatical. Can you hear the cheer in my voice?
Courtney: Yes! I can.
Deidra: The rest… Yeah. It was amazing.
Blake: That’s good because Verbs is gone. We’re really going to need you to carry the energy here.
Deidra: Okay, I’m bringing it.
Blake: I’m glad you’ve gotten sufficient rest.
Deidra: You know what, when I walked in, that was literally one of the first things somebody said to me. “Are you well-rested?” I was like, “Yes, I am, and I’m ready to go.”
Blake: This month, our theme has been, “How to reset when you’ve gotten off track.” It has been hard to relate to that since I’m never off track, except when I’m trying to do this podcast. When you get off track, you need to start with a confession. Today’s confession is this: Have you ever gotten off track on a goal? What was it? How did you feel? What did you do? It’s confession time. Courtney and Deidra, since I introduced this question, I remove myself from having to answer it, so one of you has to take it.
Courtney: Well, I think it’s really… As I was preparing for this podcast, I kind of thought about this memory because it has to do with Deidra, actually.
Courtney: Yeah! Do you remember? I had a goal last year that actually involved you. I talked to you very specifically about the goal.
Deidra: Courtney, that was 2019, sis. That was not 2020.
Courtney: It was in 2019 that we talked about it, but it was a 2020 goal for me.
Deidra: Oh, okay, okay.
Courtney: Yes. I talked to Deidra about how I wanted to go on this wellness retreat with some friends. Deidra is like… You know how you have certain friends who are like, “This thing aligns. We are in alignment with this kind of trip.” I was like, “Deidra is the kind of person I want to go on this kind of trip with.”
I talked to Deidra about it. I was really excited. I was like, “It’s going to happen in 2020.” I had done some initial research. I was like, “You’re in. We’ll figure out two more people.” It was a goal for me in 2020 to go on that trip. Then the pandemic happened, and it all killed my dreams and my goal. For that goal, I had to just kill it. Although, Deidra, you and I actually had a conversation the other day where we were like, “Hey, maybe there is something on the horizon.”
Deidra: Mm-hmm, totally.
Courtney: Maybe we can dream again. Maybe goals like that can actually happen.
Deidra: I think 2020 was the year that everyone had to go back to their goal list and say, “What is realistic now?” I don’t know anybody who hasn’t encountered this. I was just looking at my goal list actually, and I do have one that I, shamefully, underperformed on. Maybe you guys can coach me up on this. Maybe you can help me. I’m trying to decide if I should really revisit or if I should revise it or create something new.
Courtney: Oh, yes. I love that.
Deidra: All right. You want me to dive in? Do you want me to give it to you?
Blake: Tell us what happened, and then we’ll get into the solution.
Deidra: All right. I was supposed to write a thank-you note every Friday. That was my goal. After my Weekly Preview, I had a stack of thank-you notes. I already have my activation trigger right here, my thank-you notes. I was supposed to write a thank-you note at the end of my Weekly Preview, stamp, put it in the mail.
Blake: This is Jimmy Fallon style? Did you have the piano behind you?
Deidra: Yeah, that’s what it was. That’s exactly what it was. “Thank you, children, for interrupting all of my Zoom calls.”
Courtney: I have an idea for this. I think this is really fun. I’m glad you brought this up at the beginning of the episode because what I think what we could do is, as we go through, we have these questions that everybody listening can ask themselves when they have a goal that has fallen off track. You’ve gotten off track. Then we can talk about each one of those in relation to your goals. We can live coach through that as we go through these questions.
Deidra: Okay! Coach me. I love it.
Courtney: Are you cool with that, Blake?
Courtney: For the audio, Blake is shaking his head very strongly.
Before we jump into this, especially since you’re here live for us, I think it is helpful… You talked about “shamefully.” I think there is a lot of shame we carry when we have goals or aspirations that we don’t hit. It’s easier for me (I don’t know if it’s like this for you all) when it’s an external force that happens, like the pandemic. You literally can’t travel. I’m like, “Okay, fine. That goal… Goodbye.” It didn’t happen. It’s easier for me to reset.
I think it’s harder when the cause of the “failure” or getting off track is just me. I think out of the gate, we’re all going to have to give ourselves a lot of grace. In the business world, we don’t talk about grace very much, but I think it’s hugely important as we get into what we’re talking about today.
Deidra: It feels like we just…willpower. You know? I get into talking to myself like, “You didn’t do this because you didn’t ‘push through.’” I think you’re right. That’s too simplified of a response when we fail on a goal.
Blake: If you have been feeling that way, feeling down about yourself in your goals, that’s what we’re here to help you with. Y’all, this is a no shame campaign for getting back on track toward your goals. We have four questions to help you get back on track. What do you say, ladies? Should we dive in?
Deidra: Let’s do it. Let’s go.
Courtney: I’m ready.
Blake: Okay, here is the first question…Do I still want to achieve this goal? Deidra, look at those thank-you cards. Do you still want to have written thank-you notes every Friday after your Weekly Preview? Be honest.
Deidra: Can we just talk about this for a second? Let’s talk about demotivation.
Blake: You’re not that thankful.
Deidra: I’m not grateful.
Blake: I’m just kidding.
Deidra: Let’s dig into my motivation for this. Obviously, everybody has different motivators for why they’re doing a goal, and that’s on the goal detail pages. Obviously, we talk about key motivations. One was to cultivate gratitude. I still want to do that. I still want to cultivate gratitude.
You know, 2020 was a really hard year for a lot of people. I had so many people come alongside me and support me and care for me during that season, and I wanted to thank them. I wanted to cultivate gratitude, but it was also important for me to let these people know how much they meant to me. That was my other motivation for doing it. I still want both of those things. I still don’t want to write the thank-you notes.
Courtney: You know, I am geeking out over here because I’m just so excited because I think you’re giving everyone who is listening a really practical example of this. For those of you who are listening, we’re obviously in August now. You probably set a lot of these goals in January, and things change.
What you were doing in January… You may decide now that you need to focus on a totally different life domain or maybe (and I think maybe, Deidra, in your case) your goal is no longer the right way to achieve the result you’re looking for. Maybe in January, this felt like you should do this, but it wasn’t like you really wanted to. You didn’t really want to write note cards. What you really wanted to do was cultivate gratitude. Maybe you don’t want to achieve this goal in the way you have it right now.
Blake: Exactly. This is super important because if you’re setting a goal correctly, you should probably not know how you’re going to achieve it exactly every step of the way when you set it. Otherwise, it’s not a very risky goal.
Deidra: Oh, that’s a great point.
Blake: If it’s truly going to stretch you, you don’t know… Part of the goal journey is figuring out how we’re even going to do this. If that’s the type of goal you’ve set, then you need to understand that you’re going to discover things about the modality that may not be… You may be taking a guess. If it’s a habit goal, for instance, like Deidra has, you may be taking a guess at, “What is the activity or metric or thing I really need to be primarily focused on to achieve what I really want?”
This happened to me earlier this year. I won’t get into too much of the details, but I essentially realized that to achieve what I wanted to achieve, I had this goal for the first quarter that was around writing. Then I had a long conversation with a mentor of mine. We just processed through why I wanted it and where I was going with it and what my long-term vision was.
In that meeting, a week afterward, I was like, “This goal doesn’t really fit right now. This isn’t really the modality to get what I truly want.” You may have discovered that, and that doesn’t mean… You definitely shouldn’t just double down because you wrote it in your planner. You need to rethink, like Deidra said, what the root is, what the why is. “Does that still excite me?” The modality, the method, the specifics of what you’re pursuing can absolutely change when you’re setting risky goals.
Courtney: Absolutely. I think the key takeaway is if you’re not excited, it may be time for a new goal. Deidra, are you excited about writing the thank-you cards.
Deidra: No. I realized too when Blake said, “Is this risky?” I was like, “Well, writing thank-you notes is not…” It’s risky in the sense that it pushes me to do something that is not part of my workflow. It’s not part of my regular life, but you know what I think would be more fun for me? If I were baking stuff for people. If I were baking or making something that felt… Blake wants bread. That’s all he wants.
Blake: For me. So the first question was…Do I still want to achieve my goal? The second question is…What should my new timeline be?
Courtney: I think this is a really great one when people have gotten off track. Sometimes you get off track, and then you realize, “I have to get this back on track,” but you leave the same timeline, and you’re totally delusional at that point. The only way you’re going to achieve this risky goal was to start at the time you designated. If you’re off track, you really have to look at, “Am I being risky, or am I delusional?” Setting a new time frame is really important.
Blake: I think timelines and deadlines are best used as tools. They’re really helpful tools, but they’re not helpful masters, so a deadline is critical because it’s going to naturally force your brain to think, “What should I do? How can I be more intentional?” That’s ultimately what goal-setting is about, setting course for your life, not just drifting toward wherever life takes you.
If you’re able to use a timeline as a tool, that’s really healthy. Where I think it gets unhealthy is when we fall behind in the timeline, and we’re like, “No, no, no. Now, I can’t do it. Now I can’t do goals. This isn’t going to work.” Or you upend other aspects of your life. I see this a lot. Deidra, you’ve probably seen this before. People will upend other components of their lives for the sake of the timeline of a specific goal. The timeline is not a great master, but it is a great tool to leverage.
Courtney: I definitely think there are certain personality types (and mine may or may not be one of those personality types) for which deadlines really work well, but I think what you’re talking about is really important for the same personality types. You can’t just throw everything away in pursuit of being able to achieve that thing.
Even Michael… We’ve talked about this. He doesn’t always achieve all of his goals perfectly how he laid them out in January because, again, life. It happens. Things change. That’s where sometimes you get off track with a goal, and you just have to push it out further. That’s okay.
Blake: You know, the thing that comes to my mind with this… Maybe, Deidra, you can speak to this. You work with so many clients, and there are different personality types, as Courtney mentioned, some people who are super driven, super rigid, just want to know what the rule is. “Let me color in the box so I can check it.” Others are more, “Oh, I’m feeling this. No, I’m kind of feeling that.” They’re just sort of feeling their way through our program and taking things as they come, perhaps.
If you were listening to a client’s feedback about achieving their own goals, and they were falling behind, what would be an indicator that it was actually time to set a new date on that goal versus, “Hey, man, the pain you’re feeling is actually a good thing. Keep the date and just change this behavior or change that.” What kinds of questions would you ask or things would you look for?
Deidra: I really tune into their level of overwhelm. For example, I had a call with a client the other day, and she had an acquisition that was delayed by a couple of months. She was trying to acquire another company, and it got delayed by a couple of months. She had all of these… She was really frustrated because she hadn’t done all of her goals.
We put together a 90-day action plan at the end of every intensive. It’s really crucial that you execute this 90-day action plan before your next intensive. She was just so down on herself about not achieving this. Her level of overwhelm was through the roof. My coaching advice to her was, “Shut down today, and go do something for yourself.” You cannot drive yourself to goal-achievement when everything else has just blown up around you, when the timelines of things have really shifted.
My coaching to somebody would be, “What’s the level of overwhelm you’re experiencing right now, and is it at the threshold where you aren’t getting sleep, not taking care of yourself, your closest relationships are starting to feel the strain of that? You need to cut yourself some slack. That is beyond the point of pushing through. That means you really need to reevaluate.”
Blake: That’s super helpful.
Courtney: That’s really good. I want to know, Deidra, for your timeline, as you’re thinking through this, is this one applicable to yours? Is it a new timeline?
Deidra: So my previous timeline was just the first quarter. I just wanted to do it for Q1, so it was just 12 weeks that I had to do this, which makes me sound super lame.
Courtney: No, it doesn’t, not at all.
Deidra: Okay, but I did it for the first month, so I was successful 30 percent of the time. Now I need to shift it. Where are we? It’s July, so I would still like to do this for… What did I miss then? If I did it four times… Somebody do the math. I have eight gratitude bombs that I need to drop on people. I think I can do that in this quarter in Q3. And, realistically thinking about what’s on my plate in Q3, what my life is like, I feel like that’s realistic.
Courtney: Okay, I like that. There’s one disclaimer for everybody listening. Is it risky?
Deidra: Well, the way I’m going to rewrite it… Are you asking if the timeline is risky or if the goal itself is risky?
Courtney: Yes. You don’t even necessarily have to answer me yet, but I just want to put that note. You’re like, “Oh, yeah, I can totally do this.” Your confidence level almost wants to make me just put that in your mind like, “Is it still risky?” For me, especially when it comes to deadlines, I think personality type really plays into this.
You have some people who are like, “I just want to do the thing in the time that I know exactly that I can do it.” Then you have the other set who are like, “Let’s do it tomorrow!” I think somewhere in between there is the right place.
Blake: The third question is…How can I plan for the obstacles I’ve experienced? If you’re stuck, there has been some kind of obstacle of some kind, something keeping you from the success and progress that you want. Deidra, you can probably speak to this as well. It’s interesting. Sometimes we experience an obstacle, and we go, “Man, isn’t it such a bummer that that one thing happened that one time?” You’re on the other end of the call going, “Yeah, it’s probably going to happen again. You may want to think about…” It probably wasn’t just that one time or that one thing. How can you plan for that?
The first thing that comes to my mind is budgeting. The first time you put together your budget, you’re like, “Oh yeah, I’m thinking through all of this.” Then, of course, it’s like, “Oh, yeah. Sometimes my car breaks, and I have to fix it.” It wasn’t just that one time. It’s probably a great idea to budget for that, to sort of expect that obstacle to happen. This question is about how you can think through that, look back at past obstacles and plan for adjusting in the future for those?
Deidra: Some of these can be pretty simple things that I think we’re like, “Oh, I’ll just deal with that when it arrives.” It’s bad, but I think it’s really helpful. For example, if you’re having trouble meeting an exercise goal and can’t get out of bed… That’s legit. Sometimes that’s the hardest part of the day. Could you get out of bed earlier? Could you move your run to a different time of the day? Maybe stop fighting against getting out of bed. Could you somehow have coffee waiting for you when your alarm goes off? Could you buy an alarm clock that is difficult or impossible to turn off? What if it just goes off all day long?
Blake: You get to set the alarm one time in its lifecycle.
Deidra: I think they call those alarm clocks “children.”
Courtney: Oh my gosh! Yes, I think that is an appropriate name.
Blake: You nailed it.
Courtney: For me even, I know when I’m doing an exercise goal, I hit a slump in the middle getting up or getting it in. I always know when I hit that to go buy a new workout outfit because that one thing… All of a sudden, I’m like, “Yes! Working out!” It’s so simple, but I think we all have those. It just takes some time to figure out what those things are that can re-energize or reconfigure how you’re approaching the obstacles.
Deidra: Mm-hmm. You know, I have a lot of clients who come to me and say, “I’m trying to use my planner. I just can’t get my Big 3 done every day.” I’m like, “Well, what is holding you back? What is the obstacle that is holding you back?” And nine times out of ten, it’s “putting out fires.” This is a common conversation I have with clients about what to do when you get sidetracked by these fires.
I always ask them, “Is it your job to put out fires at the company?” Yes, that’s their job. Is it your job? Then you need to make room for it in your schedule. If half of your day is going and putting out fires, then you need to schedule firefighting time. That needs to be half your day. You need to get really realistic about these obstacles that are in your way. Like Blake said, they’re probably not going anywhere, so you either need to accommodate them or you need to resolve these obstacles.
Courtney: That’s so good. Deidra, what about for you and your goal? Do you anticipate any obstacles with your gratitude goal?
Deidra: Yeah, a few obstacles. One is going to be remembering to do it. I can do that, right? I can resolve that with… I can put a reminder on my phone. I can set my thank-you notes out. They were right by my desk, but they were in a little cubby thing, so I can pull them out so they’re visible. The third obstacle really is the time factor. The way I’m reconfiguring this goal is actually going to take a little bit more time than it did, but I feel like I have a plan. I have a scheme.
Courtney: Okay, okay. I like this.
Blake: The fourth question is…How can I keep my goal visible?
Courtney: It’s so funny, Deidra. You just talked about this.
Blake: You walked right into it.
Courtney: Yeah, you walked right into it. One of the most common reasons people miss a goal is because they’ve forgotten about it or it’s not top of mind. Obviously, with the Full Focus Planner, we make it part of the system of your Weekly Preview and checking in on your goals. There is an important reason for that. It’s to give this visibility.
If you’re never thinking about your goals, you’re also most likely not making progress toward them. Even just doing some really simple things… Deidra, you gave some really great examples of having the cards out, maybe even blocking time on your calendar with your Weekly Preview. I actually, as I was preparing for this podcast… I have these really great windows right beside my desk. I was like, “I’m going to take all my goals and just write them up on these windows each quarter.” We talk about this all the time. I think there are some really simple things you can do to help you really make progress on your goals that are so incredibly simple.
Deidra: You know, once I kind of… Obviously, in my Weekly Preview, I saw that I had missed this goal, and I had gotten off track with it. I think I kind of went into denial mode about it. I just stopped reading it and thought, “Oh, well, I failed on that one.” It hadn’t honestly occurred to me to go back and revisit it until recently, until I got on this podcast.
Courtney: I’m so glad you did because this has been a really fun way to go through these questions for everybody listening.
Blake: One thing I did that I picked up from someone else was writing down the goal. We talk about making your goals visible, and we automatically assume it’s something that is written on a piece of paper somewhere or on a window. What I did is I started carrying around a card. Technically, I had written it, but I didn’t usually read it. I had the card in my pocket by my wallet.
Now, any time I reached for my wallet or my keys or my phone or whatever, I would feel physically the card, and I would remember the one goal that was written on there. I think those types of things are also helpful. Those visual cues or even physical cues if you have them or if you assign the goal to an actual physical thing that sits on your desk or that you put in your wallet or something, that can be super helpful too.
Courtney: I think we have given you all a lot of great strategies to increase your goal visibility, but we also have a free printable sheet designed just for that, and you can get that at fullfocusplanner.com/printables. It’s just a great way to take the things that are in your Full Focus Planner (or even if you don’t use the Full Focus Planner) and get your goals written and hang it up in your office and look at those every day.
Just to recap, you can read over your goals during your Weekly Preview. You can do it during your workday startup. Obviously, the whole goal is to incorporate your goals into your Weekly Big 3 and then down even into your Daily Big 3. Those are some places that you should be continually looking back at what your goals are.
Blake: Absolutely. That’s why it’s so helpful. I was thinking about goals. Whenever someone is thinking about, “I don’t know where to start. There are so many things I want,” I always recommend having at least one habit goal of creating one of those rituals, be it a Weekly Preview or a workday startup because if you can set a habit in motion for working on yourself and covering your bases of your life and your goals, everything else becomes easier. That’s a freebie.
Deidra, it’s back to you now. It’s back to you and your gratitude goal and your goal of really figuring out when and how often you can be sending me directly baked goods as a way of saying, “Thank you.” You could say, “Thank you,” to other people and still send me the baked goods. That is also an option. You could say, “Man, Courtney, I’m so grateful for you, so much in fact that I baked Blake this wonderful loaf of sourdough bread.”
Deidra: Okay, last time I tried to bring you sourdough, you were out of town, so no do-overs for you.
Blake: That’s sad.
Deidra: Do y’all want me to read my new goal?
Deidra: Okay. Now, I’m taking into account the risky part. The first part, my action part of this, is, “Bake or make eight gifts of gratitude to people who helped me in 2020.” That is risky because I have to invest, and I have to plan. I love baking and making things, so that’s exciting. That’s fun. I have that exciting thing on lock. I’m going to make myself do eight gifts of gratitude in Q3. It has to be accomplished in Q3, so let me add that in there. “…by the end of Q3.”
Blake: Do you know what I love about that, Deidra? You shifted from a habit goal to an achievement goal, which I think is probably going to accomplish the same thing, but there is less of this ritualistic thing. I think boredom may have been a contributing factor to you hating the goal previously.
By making it an achievement goal, you may be like, “Hey, I have a free Saturday. The kids are doing something or whatever. I’m going to bake three things for Blake today instead of just one.” You could batch that, potentially, rather than feeling like, “I have to do this every single week,” and that sort of thing.
Courtney: I love this goal so much. I’m excited. I’m like, “Can I copy this goal?” I think this is so good. I think you’ve hit on a lot of these questions. I do want to ask just out of curiosity how you think you’ll make it visible?
Deidra: Courtney, that’s a great question. I think the first thing I need to do is make my list of eight people, decide who I want to give this gift to. I’m going to write it down on a note card, and I’m going to put it right on my desk.
Courtney: I love that.
Deidra: The next thing I’m going to do is find time on my calendar and block it off, times when I’m going to make or bake these gifts. I have some really fun ideas. I’m thinking pickles. I’m thinking jam, fun summer stuff, so I’m getting excited about this now.
Courtney: I love this. Yes. That’s awesome. I think that’s a great hack and a great tip for everybody listening. Wow! Deidra, thanks for being here. What a fun episode.
Deidra: It was so fun. Thanks for coaching me up, y’all.
Blake: Excellent work, Deidra. Thank you for being here. To you listening, you do not have to give up on that goal that you’ve fallen behind on. It’s all right. You’ve got this. You can get back on track by asking yourself some simple questions.
- Do you still want to achieve the goal?
- What should your new timeline be?
- How can you plan for obstacles?
- How can you keep your goals visible?
With that, I think we’ve done it. Deidra, you crushed it. Courtney, obviously, you slayed. Haven’t I just done a wonderful job filling in for Verbs?
Courtney: Such a wonderful job.
Blake: I’m fishing for compliments.
Deidra: You were awesome. Please don’t go on sabbatical, Blake. We won’t survive.
Blake: Oh, thank you. Oh, wow. What gratitude. What would really make me feel special though is if that came with something that I could eat. I’ll let you work on that this quarter.
Thank you all for joining us on Focus on This. As you know… I mean, you’ve heard your friends talking about it. It’s all over the news. This is the most productive podcast on the Internet, so share it with your friends if you like it, and be sure to join the Full Focus Planner Community on Facebook. It’s an awesome place to be. You can benefit from the creativity and encouragement of people just like you chasing big goals. We’ll be here next week with another great episode, but until then, y’all…
All: Stay focused!