Setting goals seems easy, just decide what you want to do and then do it. If New Year’s resolutions have taught us anything, however, this just isn’t the case. So why do we have so much difficulty sticking to those resolutions and achieving our goals?
It’s the wrong goal.
Maybe this is a silly thing to suggest, but how realistic is your goal? How long is it going to take you? How much will it cost, both financially and personally? Do you know the smaller action steps you need to take? Are you willing to put in the time, effort, persistence it takes to make it happen?
Sometimes, the answer to these questions is simply…No. If that’s the case, it’s the wrong goal for you. A good example is weight loss. Many of us want to lose weight. We know what to do. Exercise and eat healthy foods, in smaller portions. Despite knowing this, many of us have been trying to lose the same 20 or 30 or 50 pounds for years. Every year we tell ourselves that this is the year. We get a gym membership or maybe order that new exercise program, so we can do it at home. And we do really well…for a week. Then something happens, and we take a day off, or we’re busy and the kids want pizza and we don’t have time to cook.
You know what I’m talking about. The one day off, the one night of pizza turns into a second day. Maybe we try the exercise program the next day and find that it’s really hard and we’re tired. Maybe just another day or two off and we’ll get back to it. And then our goal that we were so pumped about just a week or so ago, is nowhere in our heads and those pounds are just going to have to wait.
We tell ourselves that we just don’t have the time, or the energy. We complain that our kids or significant other want pizza and junk food, and how can we possibly maintain a healthy diet with all this temptation? We tell ourselves that this exercise program is just too much for us to begin with, so we’ll scale back and do some stretching and walk the dog before we try again. Substitute weight loss with any other goal/resolution you’ve ever made that you didn’t achieve.
Maybe you didn’t achieve the goal because it was the wrong goal for you. I’m not saying weight loss shouldn’t be a goal, but it probably wasn’t realistic in your mind. Did you write it down? Did you plan your action steps? Did you hope you would lose five pounds a week when 1-2 is more realistic? Did you set yourself up for failure? Were you holding yourself accountable? Did you tell yourself that you’d start “tomorrow”?
Real goal setting isn’t easy, neither is achieving those goals, but there is a way to help you be more successful when you decide that it’s time to kick ass and get it done!
First, make a list of everything you want to accomplish. Remove all doubts and limits. Don’t think about the likelihood of it happening, or how much it costs, just write it all down. Don’t be realistic. Be the kid making his Christmas list for Santa…put it ALL in because Santa is magic and doesn’t have a budget!
Once you’re done with your list, THEN we’ll talk about the rest. You can use a scrap piece of paper, or use the No Limits Worksheet. Just concentrate of filling out the first column. We’ll get to the others next. Here is a snippet of my list. It’s pages long, but this will hopefully give you some idea of what types of things you can put on your list.
Live a healthy and active lifestyle
Be debt free by the time I’m 45
Retire by the time I’m 50
Write a Best-seller
Appear on Ellen
Have a successful Youtube Channel
Help people realize their potential
Run a successful business
Have a healthy relationship
Travel to Scotland
Remodel the master bathroom
Put in a pool and spa
Get a Roomba
Have a clean, clutter-free and organized home
Be motivating and inspirational
Do small acts of kindness daily
Think of everything you might possibly want for your life. Do not limit yourself! The first step in goal setting is to have a clear picture in your mind (and on paper) of what you want. In addition to making a list, you may want to create a visual representation for yourself in the form of a dream/goal board. Something that you will see every single day to remind you of your goals. When you read my list, you’ll notice that there are some very practical things on there, and then some that seem highly unlikely. I will never give up wanting magical powers, but I have to admit that it probably will not happen. It doesn’t matter. It’s staying on my list because I still want it.
Are your goals attainable?
Now that you have a list, go through it again and ask yourself if your goal is realistic. Put a Y in the Realistic? column if it is, and an N if it isn’t. If it’s possible, just not highly likely, then put the Y. Dream Big here! If someone else has done it, then you can do it too!
The next question to ask yourself is: Can this goal be broken down into smaller, actionable steps? If so, do I know what they are? Put a Y into the Steps? column if you know how to break it down and what the steps are, a Y? if there are steps but you don’t know them, and an N if there are not actionable steps you can take to achieve the goal.
Time is always a factor. Think about the time it will take you to achieve your goal. Is it a reasonable amount of time? Only you know if something is reasonable. The better question might be: are you willing to work hard for that amount of time to achieve your goal? If yes, then put a Y in the column. If no, put an N.
Finally, what is the cost? Is the cost reasonable to you? The “cost” may be monetary (as in school tuition) or it may be emotional (leaving your family for months to travel abroad). Cost could also be anything else you’d have to give up. If one of your goals is to run a marathon, the cost may be your free time, lunch with friends, etc. If the cost is reasonable, put a Y in the column.
Where do we begin?
Now that we have our information, find the goals that have all Y’s in the columns. These are the goals that have the highest chance of success. Are there any that jump out at you, any that you’re really moved to attack right now. Not tomorrow…right this minute. Are you excited about this? Are you ready to get going NOW?
If these are goals that you have been working on for years and not achieving, there may be other factors.
What are your fears regarding these goals? What is holding you back? What is standing in your way? Now is the time to be honest about it and get out of your own way.
What are your strengths? What parts of these goals can you totally rock?
What are your weaknesses? What skills or changes do you need to make in order to achieve these goals?
What threats are out there, keeping you from achieving these goals? How can you overcome them? Having a plan now will help you when they arise.
What opportunities do you have for success? Are you giving yourself the opportunity for success or are you denying yourself? Has someone else given you the opportunity…why aren’t you taking it?
Try using this worksheet to help you think through these questions. You can fill one out for every goal if you like, but if you’re like me, most of them are the same regardless of the goal.
Monday’s post will pull this all together and we’ll get started on finding that motivation and making a plan to achieve our goals NOW, as quickly as possible. Take the next couple of days to really think through what you want and how quickly you want it. Achieving your goals is possible! Let me help you 🙂
I wish you an amazing weekend and I look forward to hearing from you!