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How Coaching Can Help You Hop Toward Goals in 2024

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Christa Doty

Christa Doty

Blog  • Feature  •

An overarching goal can be daunting and lead to difficulty when deciding where to start. Butler Institute for Families' Christa Doty reflects on how breaking up your goal into "hops" can lead to triumph and the feeling of joy in your accomplishment - one hop at a time! 

How Coaching Can Help You Hop Toward Goals in 2024

This is the time of year when we set grand goals. We think about where we want to be in 12 months and declare that as our resolution. Despite our January aspirations, according to a recent Forbes Health/One Poll, the average New Year’s resolution lasts 3.74 months, with only 1% lasting to the end of the year.  

If annual resolutions aren’t working for us, should we throw them out all together?    

Not necessarily. 

In coaching, we encourage and celebrate lofty goals. My job as a coach is to support clients in their chosen transformation. Often, that transformation will require the client to make significant changes in their life. While coaches ask people to be bold, to get out of their comfort zones and push their edges, we also know that it will take many smaller, intentional steps to reach big goals. We help clients figure out those steps so they can chart the path that works best for them to arrive at their goal.    

In a recent coaching session, a client called these little steps in the process “hops.” She shared that being focused on the overarching goal immobilized her; she wanted to think of little hops she could make to get moving. 

As she talked, I thought of all the times I played hopscotch as a kid (and now still do when I see it chalked on a sidewalk in my neighborhood). My goal in hopscotch was to hop on one foot from the starting square to the farthest square without losing my balance, but I needed to hop through all the squares to reach the final box. Sometimes I hopped on one foot. Other times I had one foot in one square and the other in the opposite square. (I have even been known to twirl toward the next square.) However I chose to move, each hop took me closer to that final square where I would turn around, raise my arms in triumph and feel the joy of my accomplishment.    

That joy was not just being at the end but celebrating all the hops I took to get there. Maybe we haven’t been doing New Year’s resolutions wrong, but we haven’t spent as time as needed early on thinking through the smaller hops we can make to move from big idea to our intended final result.  

Recently, I worked with a leader who was retiring in 18 months. She wanted to create an effective succession plan and look more closely at what she wanted her legacy to be. She knew these were important goals for her organization and herself, but the prospect of achieving them overwhelmed her. Together, we developed a series of small “hops” she could make within her timeline. She started by reflecting on what she was most proud of during her time at the agency (hop 1). Next, she drew an image of what she wanted her legacy to be, since it was still difficult to put into words, and brought it to coaching sessions to explore the core elements that were important to her (hop 2). Then, she did a little twirl and asked others what they needed once she left (hop 3).  By hop 3, she could articulate the final goal with the many other hops she needed to take before retirement.   

In this new year, set that audacious goal. Be bold. Dream big, AND purposefully consider what hops you want to take to get there! If you want help along the way, reach out to us and explore our one-on-one coaching options through Butler’s Coaching Collaborative.   

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