How many of your goals did you accomplish in 2019? If you fell short or felt stuck, don’t get discouraged. Instead, get to the root of the issue by tapping into your intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, says Jason Womack, leadership coach and author of Get Momentum: How to Start When You’re Stuck.
Your goals need intrinsic motivation. While you may not be able to accomplish everything on your list, identify what you feel you could fully step into with time and energy. “It’s the thing you can’t shake,” says Womack. “That thing you can’t stop thinking about being, having, or doing. Give yourself the gift of your attention, open a blank page in a journal, and start to write what you want to be, do, and have.”
Finding the extrinsic motivation
Your goals need to be tied to extrinsic motivation. What keeps many of us stuck is being unsure of how to start. If you knew how to prioritize or accomplish your goal, you would likely do it, says Womack.
Uncovering your extrinsic motivation answers questions like “What wasn’t I able to take advantage of this year? What invite did I get that I couldn’t take because I was too busy? Or what opportunity did I find out about and later wish could have done something about?”
If you have a friend, colleague, or someone in your network who has accomplished the goal you want to set for yourself, ask them for advice. If you don’t know anybody personally, look for people outside of your circle, and follow them on social media and sign up for their email list. You can learn by observing.
“Find the person who is willing to take [you] under their wing or who is leaving breadcrumbs along the way,” says Womack. “Figure out a way to surround yourself with influencers who can help you think differently. Find the information you do not already have.”
Extrinsic motivation will take transparency and vulnerability, as it means sharing your goals with others. “Too often someone we know finds out about our goals after the fact and says, ‘I didn’t know you were trying to become a better X. I wish you would have told me; I could have helped you,’” says Womack. “If you let your community know what your priorities are, you give your network an opportunity to help out.”
In addition to spreading the word, change your bio on your social media feeds and add your intention to the back of your business card or to your email signature block, suggests Womack. “Market the fact that you are working on better things,” he says. “Let the world know your priority. You never know who can help.”
Pushing through roadblocks
When roadblocks happen—and they most likely will—you may feel out of control, and this is when goals can get derailed. “Those moments indicate that you’re stepping up to new level,” says Womack. “Feeling stuck means you are going into area that’s uncomfortable and a set of circumstances you’ve never experienced before.”
When you’re feeling like you don’t know the path forward, you need to release pressure. Womack recommends getting out a journal. “Every day I put pen to paper,” he says.
Most people are in a negative loop and tell themselves same phrases, he says, such as “This is hard,” “I don’t know if I can do this,” or “I’m nervous about sharing because people might judge me.” But you don’t need to fall into this trap. “When you step back and look at your self-talk, you can let it go and change it,” says Womack. “Give yourself the option that it isn’t how you want to present yourself.”
Another way to get momentum is to reverse-engineer how you’ve handled being stuck before. “Think back on 2018 or 2019 when you got yourself unstuck,” says Womack. “What were the circumstances? More times than not, you probably got unstuck because of something you saw, read, or talked about with someone.”
Finally, make 2020 your year for sustaining momentum by finding someone who will talk with you at a level above where you’re used to talking, such as a counselor, therapist, coach, or mentor. “The longer someone stays stuck, the more of an indicator it is that they are trying to do something by themselves,” he says. “Extrinsic motivation requires finding someone who can take you to a new level.”