We’ve all seen the goal setting worksheets before. They are decorated with ladders, or roads with pit stops, or steps, or some other combination of supposedly encouraging and affirming imagery.

While these are great, and I’ve used them a thousand times to break down seemingly insurmountable tasks, did you know that they are incomplete?

The reality is that, when you reach the top of the ladder, steps, or the end of the road, the party is just another step. We get our positive reinforcement: gold stars, a fancy dinner, a chance to play a video game, etc.

But the gold star gets washed and peels off. The fancy dinner is digested. The video game time ends or we win.

Do you know what those worksheets left off?

I present to you, the What is Next step.

If we just met our goals, threw a party, and moved on, where would we find ourselves? We’d keep seeing the bottom of that ladder!

The What is Next step involves reassessing how you met your goal, what you did well, could do better, and, most importantly: Where do I go from here?

In therapy, this is simple. We meet a goal, and in human functioning, there is usually a next step. If consistent eye contact with an object is being made, we begin to work on consistent eye contact with the therapist. If feelings are beginning to be expressed musically, we find a way to give them shape, form, depth, and meaning, and eventually words.

In life, things can get a bit more complicated.

Key Changes is approaching its first birthday (Thursday! Wee!) and you can bet that Greg and I are going out to dinner Thursday to celebrate. But on my to-do list is the What is Next step. I am going to pull out my business plan and re-evaluate it. I’m going to check my goals and see how I did, see if the goals I had written for year two are still appropriate, and have a long heart to heart with my description of the business, future plans, and services.

I’m going to look at where I am, how I got there, and what the next logical step is.

The possibilities are endless! Will I restructure my schedule? Will I see more contracts? Will I more aggressively market myself to individuals? Will I hire a subcontractor? Will I say “Okay good job” and quit?

Last one isn’t likely, by the way. I’m loving it way too much to do that.

What goals have you met or are you working towards? Did you do a What is Next step?

If you haven’t, go for it! Let me know the results in the comments!