Don’t Set a Goal…Without Reading This!

Posted by Holly Stokes on February 13th, 2010

Don’t Set Another Goal Without Reading This. If you are like most of us, you might think of improving your life, but balk at setting a goal. We know goals are important, but something gets in the way. Sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot even before we get a goal off the ground.
Let’s explore the Goal Setting Cycle. The thought to create a change may happen, and if we are feeling inspired, we might even set a goal. If we are really detailed, we might set a SMART goal: making it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and put it on a Timeline.
Then, a few days roll by, and maybe we do pretty well, but then after a few more days we procrastinate, don’t have time, and other things take priority – until we’ve totally fallen off the wagon. But that’s not it – that is not the end of the Goal Setting Cycle! We then berate ourselves for not staying on track, maybe even call ourselves names and feel bad about not following through. Finally, we tuck it into the graveyard along with all the other goals that have fallen by the wayside.
The next time we go to set a goal, we get visitations from all the Ghosts of Goals past. “Remember what happened last time” echoes in your head, or “You’re just lazy, undisciplined, it won’t work.” Because of our history, we might even give up before we start. When you think of goals, what comes up for you? Quite possibly, it’s all the goals sleeping in the graveyard rather than the cheerleading squad.
The problem with setting goals is that we have rigid ideas of success and failure attached. If we do not fill the goal 100% – it’s a failure (even though we might have made progress). Here are my top tips to Transforming Goals into Action!
Tip #1: Call it a Plan! Plans change, they have flexibility and wiggle room, and we don’t have the same ideas of success and failure attached. It’s easier to set a plan rather than a goal.
Tip #2: Get specific – How will you achieve the plan? Can you break it into small action steps
Tip #3: Put it in your Planner – If it’s not written down- it’s probably not going to happen. I even need to schedule my playdates!
Tip #4: Focus on What you REALLY want! The real secret behind the goal is – it’s not really about the goal. It’s really about what the goal will get for us. If we aren’t looking for this piece, we are missing the battle, and we might find ourselves struggling over and over without ever really feeling satisfied or accomplished. How discouraging is that? It’s like having a carrot out in front of us, and then never being able to eat the carrot.
• Ask The Magic Question: What is this going to get for me? And thinking of that, what will that get for me, ask the question a few times to find the higher sense of something.
• if your plan is to make more money, what will that get for you? Pay the bills without worry, relax more, stress less, and what will that bring? more peace of mind. If I start to make more money and then decide to buy a car, it may not serve the higher purpose of the goal if I make more financial commitments and increase my bills.
• For example, my weight loss clients, the goal may be to lose 20 lbs. But its really about what we think that will get for us, When I ask, what will losing 20 lbs get for you, the answer: I will fit my clothes better, and what will that get for you? I will feel more comfortable in my body, I will be able to move more and feel better about myself.
The REAL secret is – we don’t have to wait until we’ve done x, y, or z to connect with this sense of something, we can do it now. Think of the things that bring the sense of something. Relaxing can be as simple as a bubble bath, peace of mind can be a 15 min. walk during lunch break, appreciating yourself can be reviewing a list of what you like about yourself.
• Find the Higher Purpose to Really Empower your Plan (remember., we are not calling it a goal anymore) What is it the plan will bring you? If you ask the magic question a few times, you will find, the higher purpose is really a “sense of something.” Feel better about myself, more freedom, enjoy life more.
Tip #5: Reward Yourself! What we really want is what we think the tangible goal will bring us. If we aren’t paying attention to what the goal will bring us, it can be like spinning in a hamster wheel, setting a goal, falling off the wagon, beating ourselves up, until we don’t want to set another goal. Give yourself rewards along the way to celebrate your success, and make sure your rewards fit your positive intention. For example, if I want to make more money to have peace of mind, my rewards should be tailored to the activities and rewards that bring me peace of mind.
To Recap! Call it a plan, make it specific, put it in your planner, know what you really want by asking the magic question, and being aware of the plan’s higher purpose, then reward yourself along the way! You can hold the carrot out in front of you – and eat it too! You’ll be more satisfied, energized, and inspired to create the change in your life that you want!