I still haven’t built that bike shed we bought last year. Or re-grouted the bath. But I have finished the decking in the garden and cancelled that magazine subscription. Why do we get some things done yet procrastinate and put others off?
Areas where I’m getting things done and areas where I’m not roughly correlate with whether I have a clear and articulated goal to work backwards from. Try it yourself: write a list on the left of a page of jobs you’ve ‘ticked off’ recently – things you’ve achieved. Then on the right, list all the things you are putting off and not really making progress with. What is the difference? What stops those on the right being on the left?
Setting good goals should be a regular and intrinsic part of life. It’s key to mentoring. Goals allow you to see into the future you desire, break it down into manageable, less intimidating steps and help you gain momentum. Goals give you a target to measure against and therefore chart progress, which leads to improved confidence and mental health. Feeling uncertain and not having a plan for moving forward is hugely demotivating, so don’t underestimate how a bit of mentoring can be the difference in your mentee finally feeling able to take steps in areas in which they might feel powerless at the moment.
Try it out: plan a ‘life adventure’ with your mentee. Ensure ideas come from them not you so they feel their own owner-ship, motivation and commitment, not yours.
•Choose your destination: be as specific as possible. (You could spend a session just talking through this bit but for today limit it to 15 minutes.) Choose something that’s a stretch but still realistic. Maybe start easy if you want to repeat this process several times over the year. Word it in a way that you will definitely know when you’ve got there! For example, not ‘lose weight’ but ‘lose 5lbs by 1st June’.
•Departures and arrivals: set deadlines and checkpoints along the way.
•What will you need? Create a ‘kit list’ that is both emotional and practical, has steps to follow and ‘quick wins’ to get you going.
•Create a ‘to-do-list’: do this for the coming week and diarise items.
•Review the difficulties: what might slow you down or make it harder? How will you deal with obstacles, delays and distractions?
•Accountability: who do you need to send a ‘postcard’ to, to update them with your progress to ensure you keep to the timetable?
•‘Wish you were here’: who do you need to share emotional or prayer needs with, in order that they can support you?
•Celebrate! Could you create some kind of ‘souvenir’ to mark your journey and serve as a reminder?
•Review: what would you do differently next time? What have you learned about yourself from the process? What is the next adventure?
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