So this post has been on my mind to write for months. I started and stopped, outlined and quit. I just couldn’t decide what to include. Goal setting really has so many sides to it. How to set a good one, how to create action steps, how to keep going when you really want to quit, how to start again after you’ve quit. The list goes on.
Then it hit me: I’ll put it all in one post! I decided to create the quintessential post on Goal Setting. So, sit back, enjoy, and get ready to amp up your life! (or, as I like to say it, Ignite Your Life!) and crush your goals!
Want to learn more about goal setting from me?
Do you avoid setting goals? I mean, what’s the point?
“Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
~ Alice in Wonderland
When I was in high school, my dad gave me a book called, If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll probably end up someplace else. While I honestly don’t remember what was in the book, the title has resonated with me ever since.
Here’s the thing, if you don’t set goals, the status quo in your life will always be the same. Today will be like yesterday and tomorrow will be like today.
While there are probably a few places in our lives in which we would be grateful if they stayed the same, it means we won’t grow in the areas we need to grow and we will never live up to our full potential.
If you are reading this post, you are ready to live up to your full potential.
Click here to get the Goal Setting Packet I put together to help you!
Goal setting brings focus to you life. It calls you to stop, take stock and decide what is important to you and what you really want to create. Goal setting places you definitively in the driver’s seat of your life.
If done correctly, goal setting is an act of profound self-care. It’s about making sure your life goes the way you want it to go.
Finding the right language: Goals vs. Intentions
Before we dive into the steps for creating your goals, let’s talk verbiage. I don’t actually like the word “goal”. It has always felt forced to me – like it comes from my head with a deadline and pressure. It also feels final, like I have crossed the finish line and I am done when I accomplish it.
My preferred word is “intention”. That feels more, well, intentional, coming from the heart and soul. Intention is softer, more inspiring.
Since all of my “intention setting” in life is about moving more toward living my full potential, that feels better for me.
Verbiage is crucial. The words we use effect our attitude which then effects our the actions we take. Be sure to use the word that inspires you the most! I am going to use both goals and intentions interchangeably in this post so you will feel comfortable no matter which word you prefer.
Setting a Goal/Intention
Let’s set some goals. Choose something you want to change in your life, and go through each step here. Download the worksheet I included here to help you.
STEP ONE: Get clear, really clear, on what you want.
You need to have the vision in your mind of what you want to create. Can you see it and feel it? Can you imagine it in technicolor? (Guessing I just dated myself.)
Seriously, though, do you know what you want?
Here’s the caveat: It needs to be tangible so you know when you have reached it.
When people tell me:
- I want to be happier.
- I want to feel better.
- I want to be more useful.
I know they aren’t really sure what they want to create. They have a feeling they want to have, but don’t know how to create it for themselves. If we worked together, you would totally begin feeling those things, but would there ever be a “there” when you have reached your intention and feel you did it? That you were done?
Not only that, but you might not “feel” or notice the change. Sometimes our changes are so subtle over a relatively long period of time that we aren’t really aware of the change. I have experienced clients who move so completely away from the way they used to be, they can’t even remember saying certain things to me.
So set a tangible intention:
- I want to lose 10 pounds.
- I want a new job that fully utilizes my computer skills.
- I want to earn enough extra money to vacation in Greece next year.
Do you get where I am going here?
Once you set your intention, ask yourself these questions:
- Is it based on where I am going, or where I have been? Often our goals are based on what we are trying to get away from, not what we are trying to create. Make sure your intention is phrased:
- “I want a new job.” not “I want to quit my job.”
- “I want to lose weight and be fit.” not “I don’t want to be overweight.”
- Does it ask you to achieve great things? Did you set your goal big enough? Is it based on what you know you can do or what you think you can do if you push yourself to the limit? Which brings us to our next question:
- Will it expect you to live up to your full potential? So often our intentions are based on our current ability. Make sure they push you to live up to more than you are now.
STEP TWO: Figure out why you want what you want.
Why do you want the change you desire? Really. Why? I want you to think about it and decide. Yep, right now. I’ll wait.
Is it positive? Meaning, is your why something you WANT or is it something you are moving away from?
Similar to our “What we want”, our “Why we want it” needs to come from what we want, not what we are moving away from.
- I want to exercise because I don’t want to be fat.
- I want to make more money because I don’t want to be in debt.
- I want a mate because I don’t want to be lonely anymore.
Does that feel good to read? These statements are based in negativity and they simply don’t feel good.
We want to base what we want in positivity. So to reword each one:
- I want to exercise because I love the energy I feel.
- I want to make more money so I can be financially free!
- I want a mate because I enjoy sharing my life with another person.
STEP THREE: Give yourself a deadline.
When do you want to get where you want to be? You need a deadline to inspire you to take your first step.
It needs to be soon enough to get you excited to take your first step right away while still being a “realistic” time frame.
(Side Note: I bet you noticed I put “realistic” in quotes. I really, really, really don’t like that word. [“Practical” is in the same category.] Whenever I hear it, it is referring to thinking small and keeping yourself in your safe place. At the same time, we need to use it sometimes. In this case, a “realistic goal” to me is one that fits within the realm of physical laws. If you want to lose 10 pounds, make sure it is in a safe time amount of time. Losing that amount of weight in a week just isn’t safe. If you want to go to medical school, your deadline can’t be to finish in a year.)
So, that said, choosing an appropriate deadline means two things:
- It is actually possible to achieve your goal in that time.
- It feels a bit scary to do it in that amount of time (it gets you excited), but not too scary (you won’t bother starting).
If it doesn’t feel possible for you to do it, you won’t take the action steps. If it is too far away, it gives you an excuse to not start today. Find a deadline that gets you excited to get started — today!
We want you to not only start today, but get psyched to jump off the couch to get going!.
STEP FOUR: Break the tasks down and find something you can do today.
This step is both organizational and practical. Looking at your deadline, work your way backward with smaller deadlines until you reach today. The smaller deadlines will give you an idea of what action steps need to be done next.
Be sure there is something you need/want/can complete in the next 24 hours.
Then schedule your action steps into your calendar. Actually write them in. Your goals deserve your time. Give them the time.
STEP FIVE: Amp up your chances for success
According to Douglas Vermeeren, an international speaker and best-selling author on goal setting, only 20% of the population set goals and of those, only 30% achieve their goals. (In other words, out of 100 people, only 20 set goals and only 7 achieve their goals. Yep, 7 out of 100.)
We don’t achieve our goals for a myriad of reasons (read: excuses), but it really comes down to something inside of us that doesn’t feel like we can or we are good enough or we deserve it.
I know, doesn’t feel good to become aware of that, but know you aren’t alone. Everyone has messages inside of them that say they aren’t good enough somewhere in their life. That’s where we can engage in personal growth, to evolve and dive into taking the next step in our life.
So what can we do to increase our chances for success? Honestly, this is the basis of my work as a Life Coach. How can we get ourselves to accomplish what we really want to do but just can’t seem to do it?
1. Build Personal Strength
You need “umph” in your heart, the part of you that says, “I SO deserve this!” In fact, for many of my clients, I make them add “dammit” to the end. (If adding that makes you giggle – you really need it! 🙂 )
Too often it is self-esteem that slows us down. We sabotage our efforts, throw in the towel, give up. But with a little, “I deserve this, dammit” in your life, you will keep going.
So how can we build personal strength?
Okay, let me be real for a moment, the next bit I am chatting about is so crucial, it is the crux of this entire post. If you have strong personal strength, you will be able to achieve anything. It is the push behind will power. Stick with me this fall (September 2016, in case you are reading this much later), we will be doing a challenge to build your personal strength. You will love it!
For now, let me share a few things you can do to begin to add a little giddy to your step!
- Yoga: Here’s where I totally appreciate yoga. You can so much on your yoga mat to develop your own umph!
- Stand tall: We call it Tadasana or Mountain Pose. While it is standing, it isn’t simply standing. You need to ground your feet, extend your legs, let your heart open and a bit more. I tell you what, I’ll include a video on standing tall in the giveaway packet for you. Commit to standing tall a few times a day. You will feel the shift within days (if not immediately!).
- Warrior Poses: If you are familiar with yoga, you know these poses. I am going to include a video of a series of these poses you can do to get your inner “dammit” on!
- Back bends: Natural builders of umph. Backbend stimulate the adrenal glands, the glands that release stress hormones. When you do backbend, you get a surge of energy and courage, a potent combination.
- Add Affirmations: Affirmations are a very powerful tool for shifting the brain into “I can” thinking. BUT there are a few caveats:
- Affirmations must be stated in the first person present. In other words, they need to begin “I am”. Such as “I am in a loving relationship.” and “I am my ideal weight.” and “I am financially independent.” I know it can feel awkward to state it since you aren’t what you want yet, phrasing it this way is what makes them potent. (And, stay tuned, I have a whole “I am” series coming this fall, too!)
- Pronounce them in your stand tall pose. The affirmations must be felt and said in a strong way. They only work if you feel the emotion. (And, yes, that means you will fake it until you make it!)
- Make it bigger! Say them in the mirror. Look yourself in the eye and pronounce it with strength.
- Essential Oils: Begin to rework your cells. Oils are so incredibly potent, I can hardly believe the shifts they have made in my life. They go into the cells and begin to reprogram what is there. Your beliefs reside all the way down in your DNA and essential oils can help you rework what is there. Yep, awesome. (Note: I am only referring to Young Living Essential Oils – the only oils that have ever effected me. Yep, these are the good ones! Check out how you can get them for yourself – and join my personal oil community!)
- Valor or Valor II Essential Oil Blends: This blend is created specifically to help you build confidence. Whenever I am stepping out of my comfort zone,
- Highest Potential Essential Oil Blend: This oil always makes a huge difference in my life. Periodically, I commit to using it daily for 45 days (the approximate time it takes to create a new habit or shift a belief). Something HUGE always happens to me when I do it!
- Believe Essential Oil Blend: You have to believe what you want is possible for you. Believe Essential Oil Blend on the top of your head 2 times a day will change the programming in there!
To really rock out your confidence, do all three! Apply the oils, stand tall in front of a mirror and firmly state your affirmations.
2. Feel Good
Stick with me here. You make better decisions when you feel good. Think about it. On a really simplistic level, what kind of snack do you choose when you are well-rested, just had a great workout and feel vibrant? You take the time to make something healthy, right?
Now what kind of snack do you choose when you are exhausted, stressed-out and are feeling pressed for time? Comfort foods, right? You know, the ones that are far from healthy.
When we set goals, we are asking ourselves to take a step out of our comfort zone, to take actions we wouldn’t be doing if we hadn’t set a goal.
So intentionally do things that help you feel good so you have the umph to take the actions you need to take.
My clients must commit to three actions each and every day. Keep in mind, these actions can take all of 5 minutes (sit down to take your first few sips of coffee or tea in the morning and breathe) or fit into what you already do (take a shower by candlelight). Choose foods that leave you feeling good. Spend time with friends who leave you feeling inspired. Read books that make you want to do something for yourself. (Join me starting August 22 for a series on Feeling Good, the basis of my first book, Awaken to Joy.)
The other benefit to a “Feel Good Practice” is it pushes up your Joy Ceiling.
3. Become Less Tolerant
I once heard Tony Robbins say, “You won’t do anything until the pain of not doing it exceeds the pain of doing it.” I’ve always seen it as we won’t take an action to change something until we have hit our rock bottom.
So make your rock bottom higher. Stop tolerating situations that are less than what you really want. Step into feeling you deserve better and the “good enough” you are experiencing is not longer good enough!
How do you do that? Begin visualizing what you want in your life. See it in your life right now. Feel it. Experience it fully. That visualization will begin to reprogram your brain to believe you do deserve it.
Want to learn more about goal setting from me?
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Podcast: Link Here.
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STEP SIX: Know that bumps and curves will probably happen.
The road to success is curvy and bumpy. Rarely does a plan go from start to finish in a straight line. And it’s the bumps and curves that give us more: more strength, more courage, more determination, more resiliency. They are what give us the grit.
But only if we keep going.
It is easier to handle bumps better if we know there is a chance they will show up. Have a plan for when things go awry. Decide what you will do, ahead of time, to keep yourself going. Here are a few ideas:
- Step away from working on it at all. Do somethings that help you feel good. No good can come of forcing something or, worse yet, making a decision, when you feel scared or frustrated. Take a break with an end date. Decide you need 24 hours, a day or a week or more then stop until you feel ready again.
- Have someone who believes in you and your dreams to talk to.
- Revisit your dream in your thoughts. Let yourself dream and imagine.
Yes, goals are worthwhile. They are what give us the spice in life.
But also know there are seasons. I have a few goals that have been in my heart for decades. While I have wanted them to be my reality, I have known deep-down that it isn’t yet time. I am not yet the person I need to be yet to make them my reality. And when I try force them, the universe sends potent signs that tell me now is not the time.
Also remember that life is cyclical. Similar to the seasons, you will have ups and downs. With the ups come a surge of energy. With the downs, come time to turn inward and away from growth.
Finally, always know it will be better on the other side. No matter the difficulties you encounter, the other side will feel great. It is worth it to Keep. Going.