The concept of setting goals can be incredibly daunting. They are held over our heads constantly and can be a consistent reminder of how much you aren’t achieving. It sometimes seems like the word “goal” lurks around every corner.
In job interviews and performance reviews, we’re constantly asked to define our goals. Where do you want to be in ten years? What is your goal for your life? Can you set some business goals for the next fiscal year? In weight loss and fitness journies, there is always another goal… another five pounds, another pants size down, eight glasses of water a day.
At the end of every year, we get blasted with the New Year’s Resolutions…and people asking you what your goals are for the upcoming year.
The honest truth is, goals can be frustrating. Because we’re constantly being asked to define them, clarify them, and reach them, it can seem like more of a chore than an aspiration. Yes, I get it…it’s my goal to own a company one day…but can I just take a dang breather? Am I allowed to spend a day under the covers binge watching TV while not being reminded of what I’m not doing?
The answer is – yes absolutely! But also…I’m sorry…we can’t forget our goals completely. When used in an effective and not suffocating way, goals can be invaluable to forward progress. So how do we get over the feeling that “goals” are always lurking behind us…making us guilty and anxious? Follow these steps to get aligned and stop being shadowed by your goals.
And by all the goals, I mean just that…ALL the goals. Take a pen and some paper and literally write down anything and everything that you want out of life, no matter how big or small. If you had all the time, money, and resources in the world, what would you do, who would you be, what would you have? This can be in any area of life…relationships, money, work, family, anything. Make sure that you keep writing until you can’t think of any more…and then keep writing a little more. You should come up with a list of about 40-50 (or more!) goals for your life.
Go through the list you made and highlight/mark based on three categories…short term, midterm, and long term. Think of short term as the next 1-5 years, midterm as about 5-10 years, and long term as anything longer than that. Be realistic about the length of time that you think you could or would wish to accomplish these things.
Go through each category (short term, midterm, and long term) and select that top THREE goals within each of those categories that you most want to reach. Doing the exercise of writing down every goal will help you get it all down in one place. This process of selection is when you get the chance to really hone in. Instead of being drowned by all the goals floating around in your life, you’ve now selected nine…and only THREE of those nine are ones you hope to accomplish in the next 1-5 years. Once you’ve made these selections…forget everything else you wrote down. This doesn’t mean you won’t think about them again someday or that you won’t ever achieve them…it means that for right in this moment, all your focus only needs to be on these three-nine goals.
The next step is an important step in the manifesting process. If you don’t know much about manifesting, it’s essentially raising yourself to the energetic vibration of having achieved something so that you are then able to actually achieve it. In the case of these goals…we want to envision what life would be like if we had attained them. Grab a pen and write as though you had already achieved these goals. Be grateful for having made it to the end, write about how you feel and what your life is like. Really make sure to get in the mindset of having already made it to the end. Refer back to this free write any time you’re feeling lost or stuck in the pursuit of your goals.
Starting with your three selected short-term goals, create an action plan. Write down a minimum of three actions per goal that you can take to inch yourself closer to that end target. You can keep weeding down these actions as far as you need to until you have small, easily attainable, consistent, mini goals. For example, as part of my 1-year goal, I have it broken down into smaller goals for each month, each week, and each day. So, say I want to have a fully running business in a year. This month I may have the smaller goal to launch a free online course to help build my email list, this week I might have the smaller goal to read a book on online course creation, and today I might have the goal to start outlining what I’m interested in talking about. These attainable mini goals are essential because they give you consistent proof that you are capable of achieving.
There’s nothing like some good old positive reinforcement to keep you going! Every time you create a goal or a mini goal, find a way to reward yourself. Even for your tiny daily goals! Today, my goal was to write a blog. My reward was buying my favorite coffee…so guess where I’m heading once I hit publish! I’ve been a little tired and unmotivated all day, but I knew that coffee was coming after this post, so I did the damn thing! Your rewards can be anything… buying a new outfit, doing an at home spa day, going out for an evening with friends, spending a night binging your favorite TV show. The possibilities are endless!
Getting focused and taking a real inventory on your goals is important to sticking to them and getting out of the fog of constantly failing. When you’re able to focus on just a few things at a time, achieving goals becomes easier! Now, when you hear the goal ringing in the back of your head and it’s not one of the top 3 you highlighted…get rid of the thought! Instead, focus on what you’re doing to achieve your top three…top six…and the top nine. Our goals are always within our reach…it’s time to go out and get them!