I LOVE ideas and possibilities! They give me energy and create this internal atmosphere of optimism and an ongoing sense of ooh, what’s next? Along the way, I’ve learned an idea is really only of value if I follow through and actually do whatever I thought up. Making a shift from what if, to how to, and finally to the I’m all in phase, can be a daunting process – but thankfully, it doesn’t have to be.
There are some simple ways to maintain momentum and enthusiasm when the hard work of making something happen starts to get in the way of actually getting it done.
Two coaching tools I have found to be immensely helpful in gaining the traction needed to follow through on goals are Future Pacing and Well-Designed Actions.
Here’s how Future Pacing works: (This is a high-energy creative exercise that should be fun and help you tap into intrinsic motivation.)
- Pick an idea you’ve been wanting to follow through on (get better grades, spend more time with friends and family, eat healthier, etc.).
- Imagine yourself at a future point having honored your desire/value/choice and having successfully accomplished what you set out to do.
- Picture what life is like as a result of your choice to follow through. Be as specific and detailed as you can – you are creating a tangible mental picture of success to motivate and encourage yourself when things are going well and when you hit those inevitable rough patches.
- Ask yourself the following questions: Who did you have to be to succeed? What did you learn about yourself along the way? What are you most proud of? What, if anything, caught you by surprise as you followed through?
- Now you can switch and “pace” yourself backwards . . . what was life like the week before you succeeded at your goal? A month before? What resources did you draw upon to keep going when it was hard? Think through the tangible steps you need to take to finish well.
The more specific and detailed you are, the more powerful your mental image of success will be!
Now you are ready to create a Well-Designed Action. You know what you want to accomplish. You have some ideas of what you need to get there and what it will be like to experience that sweet moment of success. Actions are easy to design from this point forward. The goal is to build momentum toward ultimate success with a series of small steps and wins. You want your actions to be specific, measurable, and something you can accomplish in no more than a week. Once you accomplish your first action, create another, and so on until you accomplish the bigger goal or idea you desire to follow through on.
Don’t forget to acknowledge and celebrate small wins along the way – they are the fuel that will keep you going!
Thanks for checking out my blog! Future Pacing and Well-Designed Actions are part of the Academic Life Coaching program. I am an ICF certified Academic Life Coach and train youth advocates in the Academic Life Coaching 1.0 coach training program. I’m also an adoptive mom, youth advocate, and a licensed therapeutic foster parent. For more information about this program for the student in your life or on how to train as a coach, please contact me here.