I was never much of a goal setter. I always dreaded that awful question “where do you see yourself in 5 years” because the truth was I didn’t know. I never thought about it. I didn’t make plans for the future or try to figure out who I wanted to be. Whatever happened, happened, things had worked out for me so far hadn’t they? My life wasn’t a total shit show. It was pretty good, right?
I had a bachelors degree. I figured I’d get a decent job, make some money, live my life as it came and go with the flow.
Until I realized that this approach had left me feeling utterly miserable and totally unfulfilled. I hated my job, I was unhappy in my relationship, I was flat broke, and I always found something new to complain about.
The weird thing was, I had ideas. I had all of these hopes and dreams, even a few talents, but I didn’t bother to do anything about it. I never took action, I never set any goals for myself, and I didn’t make any plans for the future. Sound familiar?
Maybe right now, you are finding yourself in the same situation.
It took me a while too, but eventually, I realized something important; I could either; keep on living the way I had been and stay miserable or, I could start putting in the effort to make things happen instead of letting them happen to me.
When I decided to make a change I started small, which is exactly what I want you to do. Start with one goal. Chose one single thing to focus on and follow these six steps to kick-start your goal setting journey!
Decide what you want
Easy in theory, but it’s the part that most people get hung up on. If you are just getting started with goal setting, this is the very first step.
Hopefully, you have a list of things you want in life. Maybe you want a fulfilling career, more money, a beautiful big house. You have an idea of the way you want your life to look, but you don’t know how to get to that point. You’ve never actually set clear and specific goals to get the things you want; you wait until they happen. Waiting around until “stuff happens” isn’t deciding what you want. We are going to make some decisions right now.
The first step is to set a goal, just a small one. What do you want to make happen this month? You are going to achieve your goal before the end of this month. It should be not only possible but probable. This is going to get into the habit of setting goals for yourself.
You are officially starting the process of taking control of your life.
Create a POA
Step number 2 is creating a POA- a plan of action. These are the action steps you are going to take in the pursuit of achieving your goal.
What I want you to do right now, grab your planner. If you don’t have a physical planner, get your phone calendar or download this printable. Open up to this month and at the top of each week write down that one goal you have for the month.
Then pick three time slots (this week only) that you will take action on your goal. Write down precisely what that action will be. Schedule the time for yourself as if it were any other appointment and don’t break that appointment with your goal. You will repeat this process every week for the rest of the month.
This eliminates the excuse that you don’t have time because you are sitting down right now making time.
Get to know your goal
The excuse that most people have before even attempting to achieve a goal is “I don’t know how” or “ I don’t know where to start”. That may be true, but you are not going to let it hold you back anymore.
Your next step is to find one person who has achieved what you are setting out to accomplish and talk to them. You can call them or meet them in person.
On your calendar, make one of your three action items for this week to find someone you are interested in talking to and make an initial introduction with them. Try to schedule a time where you both can talk let them know why you’re doing this. Most people are more than happy to talk to you. Trust me, I’ve done it many times.
When you have an interview confirmed you will write down ten questions that you want to ask them about how they achieved their goal.
This is the process of learning about the people who have achieved what you want to achieve. If you haven’t started working towards your ambitions because you don’t know how or where to start, your momentary mentor will be able to give you some insight. This will give you the confidence to feel like your goal is possible. It is an excellent opportunity to learn from those who have tried and succeed before you. Hopefully, it will help you to understand some of the obstacles you may face along the way as well.
Get motivated about your goal
Motivation looks different for everyone, but one thing we can all appreciate on the road to success is we each have unique ways to get motivated. If you haven’t discovered yours yet now is the time.
When setting a goal, it is way too easy to say “yes I’ll do it” and then forget about it later. What you need is something that is going to keep you motivated. The goal itself isn’t enough because goals usually take long stretches of time to achieve. Even though you will accomplish your goal in one month, this will get you into the habit of daily motivation.
For the next step, I challenge you to identify what motivates you then implement that into your daily routine.
For me, it’s listening to business podcasts in the car each morning. I love hearing inspirational stories from people who have achieved their goals. Maybe for you, it’s daily affirmations, reading inspirational books, or meditation.
Don’t make it something that you know you won’t be able to commit to daily. Keep it simple, but make sure it’s something that lights you up.
Identify your WHY power.
Similar to getting motivated about your goal, but this goes a little deeper. After you set your goal for this month ask yourself these questions:
Why is this important to me?
What do I hope to gain from achieving this goal?
If I don’t achieve my goal, what will happen?
What three attributes do I value the most, and how do they relate to my goal?
Based on your answers to the questions above you are going to come up with a value statement. A value statement expresses the personal importance of achieving your goal. Why is it of value to you? How does it relate to your sense of fulfillment, your beliefs and the big picture of your life? You’re going to write a three to four line value statement next to where you wrote down your goal this month.
The purpose of this is to understand your goal from a multidimensional level rather than “I want this because I think it will make me happy.” When you understand what your happiness is rooted in and what truly makes you feel fulfilled you will set better goals for yourself.
Develop consistent action
We all know that dedication is a key ingredient in achieving anything. Step 6 is developing consistent commitment and effort. This is the hardest component of achieving a goal. I struggle with consistency more than I struggle with anything else. Where there is a goal, there is an excuse waiting to pull you away from that goal and drop you into the inconsistency loop. I’ve noticed with my goals, as soon as something breaks my pattern it is 10x harder to get back that motivation and get on track again.
I’ve developed a few tricks to keep myself accountable:
– Start developing better habits
-Understand and accept the setbacks
-Block your time
Read through the article Consistency is Key and see what you can implement more of into you life.
We all struggle with consistency at different levels and variations, this will help you realize where you can improve in your ability to be consistent.
Lastly, never give up on your goals. Keep moving the bar forward. Don’t expect anything less than what you set your sights on. Never, ever lower your standards because you think something is too hard, too out of reach, or too crazy! Eliminate the excuses that you tell yourself. The only person who sets limitations on what you can do is YOU. Don’t fool yourself, you are whatever you say you are.