On Top of the Mountain – Goal Setting That Works
If I want to get to the top of the mountain by Friday, I’ve set a goal. Now for me to achieve that, I need a plan…So many people complain that goal setting doesn’t work for them. That their business is different. That they don’t need it. If you want business success, then you need business goals. Otherwise, what you want will stay a dream or a hobby.
I come across so many people – so many business people, who just do not realise the true value in goal setting. I guess a lot of disillusionment about goal setting comes because week after week, month after month, people fail to achieve them.
Take something as seemingly simple as New Year Resolutions. Did you know that by June just 50% of people are still on track for success, whilst a shocking 40% have given up completely before the end of January!
So, I just wanted to give you a few tips to help you set goals that can be achieved.
Step 1: The Big Why
The very 1st and biggest tip of all is to get fully in touch with your “Big Why”
“Why Do You Want This Goal?” “What Does it Give You?”
When you have answered that, take it a step deeper and ask yourself:
“And, Why Do You Want That?” “What Does That Give You?”
Just keep going deeper – you’ll find yourself getting a lot more focussed and clear about your goals. When you reach the point where you feel excitement bubbling away in your gut, you’ll know you’ve reached your real reason why…
Once you are in touch with the emotion behind your goals, you’ll find this will be the trigger that switches on your desire to take action.
Without a real reason why, you are much more likely to procrastinate, as you are not truly connecting to the reason why you it’s important you.
So, now you are really in touch with “why” you want to achieve your goals – how on earth do you get there…?
Step 2: The Battle of the Conflict
You are not going to be able to achieve your goals if they conflict with any other goal you are working on. It’s really easy to set a goal without realising the full implications of what it will take in order to achieve it. Quite often the actions you need to take, the person you need to become, will conflict with another goal.
Quite simply, if you want to lose weight but love curling up on the sofa after a hard day’s work with your favourite cake and glass of wine, it is going to cause conflict. You won’t be able to consistently achieve both of those goals.
You need to identify any areas of conflict and work out which goal is the most important to you, or how you can adapt either, or, both goals to ensure success is possible.
Step 3: Plan
If your goals are so way out there – so far away from where you are now, it won’t take you long to lose motivation.
But look, you don’t stand at the base of a mountain, take one step and suddenly reach the top. You create a route – a plan that gets you from where you are to where you want to be. Your goal is to get to the top and the first thing you do is decide how long you think it will take you and then set a date for achievement.
Once you have set your date, you then work out what route you need to take and how far you need to travel each day. So you create your sub goals – tiny manageable steps you take each day in order to meet your goal.
The great thing about sub goals (small steps) is that it allows you to track and measure your progress and adapt your plan if necessary. So, for instance, if the weather is bad one day, or you are not feeling your best, you may not cover all the ground you set out to. So when you check your progress at the end of the day, you can then adjust the rest of the plan to cover the shortfall, so you still meet your goal by the deadline date.
The other beauty about small steps, is it completely reduces any feelings of overwhelm. When you are looking at that massive goal of moving from A to Z it’s impossible not to feel overwhelmed. However as soon as you break down that massive goal in to a series of tiny steps, your mind is no longer overwhelmed. All you have to focus on, is what small step do I need to take today.. Phew!
Resources to Fight Off Obstacles and Challenges
Now it would be crazy to think that you can set off to action your goal and not come across any obstacles or challenges. Think again about that mountain. You just know there are going to be some form of obstacles that will get in the way of your progress.
So, whilst you are setting out your plan of action to achieve your goal, you need to consider what challenges you might meet on the way, and set up what resources you will need in order to deal with it.
One of the goals I repeatedly struggle with is keeping my weight off. When I am “in the zone” I can lose weight and eat healthily really easy. It’s no struggle at all to say no to that delicious cake or glass of wine. Where I fall down is in failing to build in the resources I need during the times I know I am going to turn to food for comfort. I know when a traumatic – and I mean traumatic – not just stress or pressure – event happens, I need some kind of resource in place to help me through it. I know food doesn’t provide any comfort really – and in fact makes me feel worse – but it’s what I do. So when I create my plan I need a solution that helps me keep going and deal with the challenge in the right way…
Step 4: Shout About It
The best way of ensuring you take consistent action towards your goal is to make sure everybody knows what you are aiming to achieve. Yes, that’s right. You need to make it public! Tell your family. Tell your friends. Make sure the people who surround you know what you are trying to do.
The reason for this is that you may well get some helpful support (don’t expect this though as it can be disappointing when it doesn’t happen!!). However more importantly than that, is that you will not want to be seen to fail in front of everyone. Yes, we hate other people seeing us fail. So, when we make our goals public, we will take the action we need – because everyone is watching us (and waiting for us to fail….)
Step 5: Write It, Visualise It, Feel It
My last most important tip for you, is to make sure you write down your goal. Not just at the time you set it, but every day if possible.
Don’t just write your “big” goal down and then forget it. Keep it in your mind by writing it down, in as much detail as possible. Visualise having the goal. Feel what it will be like when you achieve it.
One of the reasons for doing this is to ensure you do not get distracted by that “shiny new thing…” Any distractions are going to pull you away from your goal and delay your achievement. Writing it down helps us to stay focussed on what is important.
Don’t Let it Be Filtered Out Subconsciously
Now, the other reason I urge you to write down your goals in a detailed, emotive way is so they stay right at the front of your mind. Consider this for a moment..
Each day we are bombarded with billions of bits of stimuli coming at us from all sectors of our environment. 40 millions bits per second on average! As, our conscious brains can only just about deal with 8000 bits per second, one hell of a lot of stimuli are being filtered out by our subconscious brains. Who knows where your solutions to achieving your goals lie? It could be in a chance encounter, a facebook post, a poster on a wall…. If you don’t keep your goals at the forefront of your mind, potential solutions are going to be filtered away…Your conscious brain keeps information that is a priority for you, obviously safety comes first, but whatever you have that is big, loud, repetitive, colourful and full of emotion, is going to be there and your brain is going to be helping you find the answers and opportunities you need.
Think about an example of falling pregnant. Suddenly everywhere you go, you see other ladies that are pregnant or have tiny new babies. Before you fell pregnant you probably hardly noticed any, now all of a sudden it seems the whole world is having a baby…
Think about wanting to buy your next car…suddenly you see the one you want being driven everywhere…
As a little test, take a look around the room you are in currently and look for everything that is white in colour. Then jot it all down. Once you’ve done this, jot down everything that is black. Can you do it? you’ll most likely get stuck on listing all the black items, as your brain would have filtered them all out to concentrate on remembering and noting all things white.
So, write it down, visualise it, feel it. you’ll start seeing the answers and opportunities everywhere you go…
My final note is to stress to you that this isn’t a one off exercise – it is a way of being in order to make your life better. this will get you results. Doesn’t matter what your goals are.
Plan. Act. Achieve. Repeat
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