It was a crucial moment in Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Julius Caesar, when a soothsayer alerted Caesar, the Roman Leader, that his life was in imminent danger. “Beware the Ides of March!!!” he shouted in warning to Caesar as he passed him on a busy street. But Caesar not heeding the warning, continued on his path and was eventually killed by his colleagues in a heinous act of conspiracy. His death was a turning point in Roman history and today, the date of March 15th remains a significant date on the Roman calendar and the Ides of March serves as an annual symbol of caution.
As the first quarter of 2018 comes to an end, allow me to share with the you same words of advice that Julius Caesar received that day – “Beware the Ides of March”.
Many of us raced into the new year with a list of new goals we planned to achieve this year. We took our time. Thought them out. And even mapped out our #GoalDiggerAlerts! Although our plans to execute were sincere, many people (self-included) find ourselves already off schedule.
I realized this a few weeks ago as I was leading one of my goal setting workshops. While helping a young lady refine her goals for 2018, I realized I wasn’t even on track to reach my own. Later that evening, I looked at my vision map and discovered that of the five goals I established for myself for 2018, I’ve only made progress on a few. Of course, I have “good reasons” why I’m off-track, but the bottom line is that I’m off track. No need to sugar coat it. I have to hold myself accountable.
At that moment, I realized that like Caesar’s life, my 2018 goals were in imminent danger. But, since I know about Caesar’s tragic ending, I’m going to take proactive action to make sure my goals stay alive.
So, here’s what I did. Anytime I find myself off schedule or missing milestones, I use this process to help me figure out how to get back on track:
- Pause – Slow down. Life happens fast. Most of the time we are moving so fast and are inundated with so much data that we don’t take time to process. Take a moment. Catch your breath. Relax. Clear your mind. Give yourself an opportunity to think. To breath. Let your mind be still. This is one of the many reasons I enjoy exercise, meditation, prayer, and yoga because if I don’t intentionally take time to slow down. I probably won’t. My mind is always moving.
- Reflect – After you’ve slowed yourself down, go back and revisit your goals. Think about your why. Why you set them. Were they important? Why are they worth your time? Do you really own the goals or did they just sound good in the moment when you created them? When you created your goals, did you factor in resources? Do you need to adjust your timelines? What options do you have to get back on track? Be honest with yourself.
- Choose – Once you have paused to slow down. Reflected on your options. Now, it’s time to TAKE ACTION. Make a choice. Do something. Be thoughtful about what you do, but be intentional about doing it. Dive in. You will never learn to swim by sitting at the edge of the pool.
Time is moving fast. March 15th is here. Some of our goals are in danger. Now is the time for a progress check. The days are getting longer and the seasons are changing. Soon it will be summer. Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. Don’t go into 2019 without making any progress on your 2018 goals. The time is now. Be proactive.
What you do for the next 30 days is critical. If you are off track on your goals it’s not too late to change course. Not too late to refocus. Not late to make a change. Now is the time for an honest conversation. Take the time you need. Get the clarity you need. Take the action you need. Pause, reflect, and choose. Beware… the Ides of March. The warning has been given, the next move is yours.