You pick out a pageant, send in your entry fee, and start searching for the perfect evening gown. Then, you surf the web for hair and makeup ideas and research last year’s Top 5 contestants. You do everything you can think of to do well at the pageant, but don’t end up winning or even getting a placement. You pack up the car, totally depressed, feeling like you just can’t achieve your pageant goals.
So you pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and make a plan to improve for your next pageant. You create a pageant prep checklist, take walking lessons, and read a list of possible interview questions. And you still don’t place or win. You’re ready to pull your hair out.
So, what’s wrong? Why can’t you move forward and achieve your pageant goals? Well, you might need be making one of these common pageant prep mistakes:
1. You Didn’t Set Specific Goals. Okay, I realize this sounds simple, but setting specific goals is a key action step to actually achieving those goals. If you just have a general idea of what you want to do, with no specific outcomes or time frame, you’re just going to keep wandering around in circles without making progress. It’s okay to have a dream, but you need to transform that dream into a goal. Unlike a dream, a goal has a defined time frame, is specific and is measurable. I can guarantee that the first step to achieving your pageant dreams is to set specific goals!
2. You Have Too Many Goals. Goal setting can be exciting and it’s super easy to get carried away thinking about all the things you want to improve. However, setting too many goals can be a set up for failure. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to limit your goals to 3 to 5 at a time. And let’s differentiate between “goals” and your “to-do” list: goals are specific accomplishments that you want to achieve and “to-dos” are a list of actions that you’re going to take to achieve those goals. If you’re new to goal-setting, start with 1 or 2 specific goals and work up from there. Remember: everyone can accomplish something, but no one can accomplish everything!
3. You Weren’t Focused. If you’re anything like me your everyday life is probably filled with lots of activities, events, and well…distractions. Sticking with a goal often isn’t nearly as fun as the interesting things going on around you. Let’s be brutally honest: working towards a goal can be just plain boring. I’d much rather snuggle with my doggies or go shopping than workout or research current events. You too? The secret to focusing on your goals may surprise you. Here it is: start working toward your goal early and break your goal down into small action steps that can be accomplished in small chunks of time. By starting early and tackling one chunk at a time you’ll be able to focus on your goals but also have time for fun. Because you and I both know pageant girls like to have fun!
4. You Weren’t Consistent. Since goals are typically an achievement that is slightly outside of your reach at the time that you set them, reaching those goals takes consistent activity over time. Most goals worth achieving require repetition of the same activity again and again. My experience as a pageant coach working with elite contestants has convinced me of one thing: consistency is absolutely required to transform your goals into reality. Regular, consistent activity done over a period of time has a cumulative effect that will surprise you!
5. You Didn’t Celebrate Your Successes Along the Way. Even though you may not have achieved your end goal yet, it’s important to celebrate mini-successes along the way. Taking a moment to pat yourself on the back will give you a sense of progress toward your final goal. Breaking your goals into mini-goals or steps allows you to have multiple opportunities to feel good about the success you’re making towards your overall goals. And when you’re feeling good about your progress, you’re more likely to keep going. It’s amazing how a little “good-for-you” celebration at specific points along your path can help you achieve your pageant goals! Of course, your mini-celebrations should include confetti and sparkle!
So, take a deep breath, get up and brush yourself off. Make a decision to approach your pageant prep with specific goals, consistently work your plan, and celebrate along the way. Oh…and don’t forget to believe in yourself and your potential. Never stop working to achieve your pageant goals. And next thing you know, you’ll be waving to the audience and posing with the judges in your beautiful new crown!