Most of us have big goals when we set intentions at the beginning of the year, when we start a new coaching group, hire a coach, decide to make a health change, start a new meditation practice or exercise program, or even enter into a new relationship.
Big goals feel exciting and invigorating at first. There is excitement and possibility. We are open and ready. We might even forge ahead for the first few weeks. But then, the excitement around goals fades. How do I know this? From 10 years of coaching clients and observing myself. This is why I find coaching so valuable and why the estimated market value for personal coaching was $955 million in 2015 and $1.02 billion in 2016 and its been hinted to have risen to $2 billion in 2018.
But I digress. We were talking about how to keep your momentum going towards achieving a goal when you notice the excitement fading.
Pop culture tells us that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. This is actually NOT true. According to a 2009 study researchers from University College London examined the new habits of 96 people over the space of 12 weeks, and found that the average time it takes for a new habit to stick is actually 66 days; however there was inconsistent data because there were many individual times which varied up to 254 days.
The take-away message is that if you want to keep your momentum going for a goal or a new behavior, it will take time. As the study shows, if a change doesn't happen in the the first 6-12 weeks, don't despair. This is exactly why my coaching groups at six months.
"Six months? That is so long." This is what a lot of potential clients will say to me. But I intentionally do this for a reason. Trust me, I could easily shorten the amount of time that I work with 1:1 clients and my group coaching clients. But I don't because I deeply believe that true change happens over a sustained amount of time. Just when the habit becomes a practice we often times want to stop and celebrate. But this is the exact time when you want to keep going.
Our lunar cycles move in six months. For instance, what you started in January will come to completion energetically in July. Our seasons shift dramatically every every six months, from summer to winter and winter to summer. There is a gradual increase or decrease in temperatures but the completion of a season cycle happens every six month. It is part of the natural rhythms of nature and we as humans are nature.
How you keep your momentum going when it starts to fade?
1) Find a resource that keeps you accountable
What I have discovered over the past 10 years of coaching is that we have evolved from our primal communities of animals into tribal beings. Even though our industrial revolution and American history and current culture tells us that we need to be independent, we are tribal. Humans relish when they have accountability to stay sober, to stick to a new way of eating, to follow through on exercise goals, to be consistent with meditation, to follow through on financial saving. I find as a coach that when someone invests in themselves financially, it up levels their ability to keep the momentum when they would normal fade.
2) Be proactive.
Review your past goals. How did you feel when you initiated? When did you start to fade? What was happening mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually when the momentum was lost? Learn your unique technology of how you start and stop. Once you have that awareness then you can start to intervene.
Once you know your standard time frame for when you start to hit your own inner glass ceiling, be proactive and block off that week in your calendar. Next, be honest with yourself. What gets you inspired? What keeps you accountable? Set up those structures and systems to support yourself through those inner glass ceilings.
3) Write down your WHY.
I cannot emphasize this point enough. When I look back on my life, the only way that I made it through challenging moments was by reminding myself over and over again of my why. Most of the time my why boils down to this... I am open to the deepest level of healing available to me at this time, I am willing and ready to take my experience, strength and growth and use it to help another person. This has allowed me to access as much grace and positivity while healing disease, getting sober, healing childhood wounds, becoming a single mother, moving through child custody challenges, struggles in marriage, being a parent, becoming an entrepreneur.
Remember, true change takes time. So be gentle and kind with your unique humanness, but also be accountable, be proactive and set yourself up for success.