Evolution Happens – How You Can Work With It

How is your life different from last year?

How is your life different from 5 years ago? 10 years ago? 20 years ago? Since you left college (or high school)?

How has your life evolved over time?

Is it an orderly progression of steps towards mastery?

Is it a series of plateaus punctuated by periods of change and confusion?

Are you where you thought you would be?

Did everything go according to plan?

Did you find challenges you didn’t expect?

We continue growing and developing as we age.

We’re not stuck with our initial decisions around “what we’re going to be when we grow up.”

We learn new things through experience – especially if we allow ourselves time to reflect on that experience.

If we manage to get some clarity around what we want our life to look like in the future, we’re able to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.

We don’t have to wait for a wrenching event outside of our control to move towards our desired future.

We may be able to evolve more gently.

How can you ease into your future?

Can you combine what you are doing now and leverage your existing skills and experience with what you want in your future?

Can you set aside some time to make future-building a priority? Are there particular skills you will need that requires more concentration than combination will allow?

As you ease into your future, what will you ultimately need to let go of?

What will you need to prepare to say “no” to?

What obligations and contracts will you need to break?

What relationships need to change? What relationships may need to be abandoned?

In an ideal world, we are all doing this evolution mindfully.

We are taking responsibility for our experience of life and for what our life looks like.

Often, we’re reacting to what life throws at us. That’s OK. We can’t predict all-the-things and we control very little.

The best we can do is take one more step towards our desired future.

Look around and see whether an opportunity has surfaced that helps us along the way.

Occasionally discard things from the pack that weigh us down.

And continually check to make sure we are still going in the direction of our dreams.

Approaching Major Change

I was chatting with a friend a few weeks back. We started talking about how to handle conflicting major goals.

As I reflected on the conversation, I realized that in my life, I’ve handled major (somewhat planned) change using these three approaches:

  1. Combination.  Can I combine goals or activitie?
    • Example: If one goal is “Live in New Zealand for a few years” and another goal is “Become an herbalist” – maybe I can combine the goals “Study Maori traditional medicine in New Zealand.”
  2. Periodization.  This is the approach cited by those (like myself) who are big fans of focus and prioritization.  I find it works best for goals I can chunk into small steps and can tackle separately. 
    • Example: If a goal is to change careers to be able to spend more time with family: I can focus one period on getting clear on the transition, the next period on any necessary schooling (maybe further breaking that process down into the various skills required), the next period on working with a mentor to practice these new skills, the period after that practicing something specific, etc.
  3. Evolution. This is the process of combining old and new and is often done accidentally. 
    • Example: When I transitioned from History to IT, this was done via evolution (albeit not very planned). I had teaching skills I picked up when I served as a History Graduate Assistant and moved those to a new context (IT and corporate work). I let go of the old History context.  As my career evolved and opportunities arose, I would pick things up (e.g. project management) and let things go (e.g. eLearning development). 

I’m going to talk about each of these approaches and how they might combine over the next few posts.

Tracking Achievement Goals and Habit Goals

Transcript (edited from Temi.com)

Whenever I’m making a change, I want to keep track of both the lag metric or achievement metric towards my goals and the lead metric or habit metric and whether or not I’m practicing those habits towards my goals.

When we work together, we’re going to define an achievement metric. In my case I’m working to reduce my coffee consumption and the lag metric or achievement metric I’m using is just to make sure that my weight stays stable since my goal is actually a habit goal. I want to see whether the habit is going to support my weight staying stable.

I like to think of those habits as being more additive or replacement versus negating. When we define a habit, I’m looking for a replacement habit to drinking coffee.

In my case, my target is six eight-ounce glasses of water. Now that’s probably a little low. It doesn’t mean that’s the only beverages I’m drinking, but that’s what I’m targeting – six eight-ounce glasses of water.

If I get all six, I put a V in. If I’ve made at least a go of it, I’ll put in a P. When I’m feeling really motivated I can put in a comment.

Let’s say that on the 11th day I managed to get three glasses of water. I put in the p and then I can insert a comment so I can see how many I actually got that day from this information.

I created some dashboards. Here, we are looking at how many days I’ve managed to practice that habit and whether I’ve been more successful doing it partially or managing to get the entirety of the habit done.  I still want to give credit for the attempt. I think that’s really important.

If I refresh this, I can see that in month one I’ve done it six times all the way and then four times partially. I can also see the number of days practicing the habit.

I can look at trends. If I refresh this, I can see whether or not I’m being more or less successful.

If I’m having a harder time sometimes doing the habit in its entirety, we can then discuss where the struggle is or where the challenges and what we can do to mitigate that.

Then we can look at achievement habits or the achievement metric that we’ve set for ourselves and look at trend lines for that. I think really being able to see how you’re doing with your habits and how you’re doing towards your goals is really motivating. I hope this helps.


Change for All Quadrants: Personal Change Planning – is now available for pre-order on Publishizer.

Campaign runs October 1-30, 2018.

Order Now

I’m Writing a Book!

(Two actually….but this one will appear first.)

I’m writing Personal Change Planning – Deciding What to Pursue and Shrinking the Gap Between Desired State and Future State (working title).

Over the next month – I will be sharing case studies and facilitation techniques using the Change Planning Model I am developing.

The book promotion is from October 1 — October 30. My goal is 500 pre-orders.

More details on the book, an outline, progress, and a sample chapter will be available at starting 8am ET October 1, 2018. Check the link below.


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