As I’m thinking about 2020 and my anticipation of accomplishing goals, I paused and remembered an exercise/challenge.

It’s more negative than I typically like to let myself get, but every time I’ve done it, the results have been worth it.

Here’s how it goes.

I imagine myself at the goal date in the same situation I’m in right now, not having accomplished the goal.

How do I feel? What are the thoughts I’m thinking about my situation? The reason this exercise works so well for me is because I don’t like this feeling. I dislike it so much that I want to avoid it.

Most of us have experienced not meeting a goal. We said we wanted to lose weight, exercise more, save money, declutter, change jobs, etc, but we didn’t accomplish the goal.

Rather than doing a retrospective on past circumstances, imagine reaching the goal date and not having met this new goal. Visualize yourself at that date, looking back at the time between now and then and imagine what happened to prevent your achievement.

Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper.

Make a list of all of these reasons on the left side of the page.

Now, the right of each of these reasons, write what you will do to avoid this from happening.

We now have the list of actions we need to be sure to take to accomplish our goal.

I just completed this exercise.  Now I’m ready for the next step.  I need to find thoughts that will drive me to take these actions, but that’s for another post.

Year End Reviews

I’m having a lot of coaching conversations about 2020 goals. I love working on goals.

I’ve found that most of us do better with goal setting when we start with a reflection. Since we’re looking at a new year, I’ll ask them to tell me what they accomplished in the past year.  This typically starts with a list of big work projects.  That’s good, but far from enough.

What were the seemingly smaller efforts that stand out in  your mind.  Now ask yourself why you remember them.  Often, there’s something good there to explore.  It might hint at an area that you enjoy at work, but that you aren’t prioritizing.  It might be because it required a new habit to be formed that has proven to be super impactful in your life.  

What about behavioral changes you made this last year?  Do you delegate better?  Are you a better listener?  Why do you think it happened?  How did you make it happen?

How about at home?  Think back to one year ago.  What’s different now?  Did you help the teenager learn to drive?  Did you take a great vacation?  Did the kids soccer team have a fun season?  Do you have dinner together most evenings?  

Most of us don’t appreciate some of the big deals that we believe are life as usual:  kept our job, got the kids to school most days, walked the dogs, have a relatively presentable house/yard.  Think about it.  If you didn’t have these, you’d want them.  

As I talk to my clients about their full life review, they always start expressing gratitude for many things in their life.

Every year I relearn how much this helps all of us get to a better understanding of how we want our next year to look.


I had an Aha moment last week and I witnessed someone else having one.

The dictionary definition of Aha is  ” a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension”.

As I get older, I find that I seem to have a lot more of these moments for things I relearn.  It might be that I’m hearing someone with a new way of describing an old concept, or it’s a concept I already knew but now applied to something different, or a combination of ideas like I wrote about in Idea Babies.

It sometimes feels like we’ve always known it, but until that Aha Moment, we couldn’t have described it in exactly this way.

I think it was Oprah who added to the common definition that it’s something that we already knew but that it resonates with us differently.  I can’t think of a single instance where this isn’t true for me.

When someone shares that they had an Aha moment, I’ve started asking them if they already knew the information, but it only just now made sense, or if it’s all new information.  I’ve yet to encounter the latter.  The most often response is that “I hadn’t looked at it this way”.

What is exciting is that it’s often a spark that will accelerate growth.

It’s amazing to find this new awareness so consistently when we’re actively exploring what we are thinking.

No Judgement

“No Judgement” is something that most of us think we practice.

We say it laughingly to others.

We often do practice this much better for others than for ourselves.  This is a post about Re-Learning.

I went through a surprisingly stressful time this year.  The part that is surprising is that I think if I wasn’t a coach, I wouldn’t have had such negative self-judgement.  I wasn’t using my coaching skills on myself.  Rather, I was using them against myself.  

I was telling myself that since I have all the coaching tools, and know how to explore my thoughts and find ones that work for me, I shouldn’t have been feeling so betrayed, angry, annoyed, frustrated.

If I was coaching me, I would have seen the “should”.  I would have also seen that I wasn’t really exploring my thoughts.

Instead, I kept thinking that I was inauthentic. What kind of coach can’t manage their thoughts?

Well, this one.

Once I realized that I was staying in all this churn mostly because of negative self-judgement, I could also see interfering with my ability to progress in many other areas.

Self-awareness is the first step and has brought so much relief. 

Now I’m practicing curiosity.

More on that in another post.