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What Are the Ripple Effects of Your Goals?

It’s February 2022, and I was wondering how your New Year’s Resolutions are going.

You might have read in my last blog post that I decided to forgo resolutions for a month, so I’m just getting started. As I think about resolutions and goals my friends and I have made in the past, it’s not exactly an extensive list of success stories.

All these BIG changes people say they are going to make in the New Year more often than not fizzle out by February. It’s not just because these declarations are usually made in the aftermath of a Christmas cookie sugar high or between your third and fourth holiday cocktail.

It happens for lot of reasons, but one reason that isn’t given enough airtime is that ambitious goals and big life changes don’t happen in a vacuum. While it’s easy to imagine ourselves in a new job, new relationship, new body, or new home, it’s hard to accurately calculate what effect this will have on other parts of our life and the lives of those around us.

Case in point: My husband Andrew decided he would start waking up at 4 am to workout before he goes to work at 6:30am. (Insane, I know.) The plan seemed great in theory, but he didn’t account for the fact that when he gets up the dogs get up, and it creates enough of a racket that his wife (that’s me) also gets woken up and often can’t fall back to sleep. Now that the rubber has met the road, we need to reassess, so that this works for both of us.

When you create an image in your mind of the “new you,” it can seem like there is everything to gain, and nothing to lose. But if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. On your journey to the “new you,” there may be habits you need to let go of, comforts that need to be abandoned, and impacts on your relationships that need to be navigated. When you reach these challenges, how prepared are you to deal with them?

It’s well known that people who have a clear vision and purpose are more likely to achieve their goals. It’s not breaking news that writing your goals down and coming up with action steps will make your goals more likely to come to fruition.

Yet, I don’t see or hear a lot about the costs that must be paid in the interest of achieving goals. Plugging away at a dream can seem challenging enough, so it is simpler to focus on the pay off and not worry about the hidden fees that pop up unexpectedly.

Maybe ignoring the costs isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps ignorance is bliss. Knowing that there will be negative consequences to pursuing a major life change might be enough to discourage someone from trying at all.

When I’m honest with myself, had I known all sacrifices I was signing up for when I started my pet sitting business 10 years ago, I probably wouldn’t have done it. On the other hand, if I had given it more thought, I might have planned better and avoided burning out and walking away four years later.

Goals vs. Life Change:

I realize I’ve been using “life changes” and “goals” interchangeably, but they are quite different, and the ripple effects and costs are different too. A goal has a clear measurable end, so if there are sacrifices to be paid along the way, they are likely to be temporary. For instance, if you decide to get a master's degree, you may have to give up hobbies or activities to make time. The costs are paid for a limited time.

If you are planning to make a life change, you are likely to incur more permanent costs. There will be activities you may need to quit completely, traditions and celebrations that will need to be “reimagined” and relationships that will need to change or dissolve. This last one can be particularly hard.

It would be nice to just say, “If this life change is truly important to you, you’ll pay any cost.” But it’s not that cut and dry. There might be something that you think you are willing to sacrifice or give up, but when push comes to shove, it’s much harder than you thought.

None of this is intended to discourage you from setting goals or making life changes. (I am a motivational life coach after all!) I just hope to give you a few things to consider so you can set yourself up for success.

Only you can decide what you really want and what you are willing to do/pay/give up to achieve it. Being honest about what the real cost/benefit analysis looks like will likely help you feel better about your decision or build up resiliency.

If you need some help running a “cost/benefit analysis” for your next goal or life change, let’s talk! Schedule a free 30-minute session to run the numbers and see if you are ready to take action.


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