How to Set and Achieve Goals
Do you ever feel like you are carrying around your goals on your shoulders? They are just heavy. They weigh upon us. And then if you're a normal human being, if you don't reach them, you feel extreme disappointment. Even worse, sometimes you just don't even attempt to create new goals because you didn't reach them the first time.
I was exploring the best way to explain goals. And there are so many ways. I don’t think there is a best way or a right or wrong way. But I want to give you one way to think about it.
1) Write down twenty-five goals.
There can be things like putting all the laundry away, but there also can be things like growing a six-figure business or moving up from director to senior director if you're working for a company. Maybe it’s parenting your kids through high school. Let them spill it out, no judgment.
2) Examine what is the why behind the goal. There are so many books about the WHY. Simon Sinek has a great book out there about the WHY. Why do you want to achieve each goal? What's the WHY?
It may seem like an unnecessary step because you could just say, “well, of course I want to do that or it's going to get me where I want to go.” But dig in – really, what's the why? What little piece of it will get you where you want to go? As an example, in my own business, one goal I had for 2020 was starting my podcast, I had to ask myself what was my WHY behind wanting to start it? I could say it was because it was something I set out to do in 2020. That's true. But really, there's so much more to it than that. First, I thought the podcast would be a great way to put more value out there in the world to fill up what I call my value bank. I'm putting all these little deposits into my value bank and I allow you to come into the bank vault with me and take that value. Another WHY: Because it's another vehicle for me to help the thousands of women I want to help. So, what's your why? Ask yourself this for each of those 25 goals you wrote down.
3) Next, I want you to ask yourself: is the WHY attached to a feeling? What I mean by that is, will it make you feel a certain way when you accomplish the goal? When you accomplish that goal, do you think you're going to feel a certain way? And if that is part of your why, as yourself if what you're doing is delaying the feeling you want to have by having a goal? If you say “when I accomplish this goal, I am going to feel accomplished,” I guess you're telling yourself that you're not allowed to feel that way until then.
And that is not true. You can feel accomplished today whether or not you have accomplished that goal or not.
You can feel that way right now.
Feelings and Your Goals
Let’s go into these feelings a little more. I want you to take your emotional temperature for each goal. A good way to do this is to read your goals to yourself aloud and ask yourself: how does each goal make you feel now? What is your emotional temperature now? For instance, when I thought about creating the podcast originally my heart started to race. When I was just writing the goal down, it gave me a lot of anxiety, which is interesting because now that I've started the podcast, I don't have that anxiety anymore.
But take your emotional temperature now and then go to that future place and assign a future feeling and write that next to the goal. I want to remind you that you can start to generate those future feelings right now. What thoughts can you generate or practice every day now to create those feelings? You must go to that future place to create that feeling now in order to even tackle the goal. I had to go to that place where I felt accomplished. I felt proud. I felt motivated by all the value I was putting out in the world in order to even start exploring, creating a podcast.
Fear of Failure
Now, I know what you are thinking. Your brain starts listing why each of the things on that list is a bad idea. It starts to think that each of those goals is impossible and unrealistic. You start thinking “maybe I need to scale these things back. Maybe the goals need to be more realistic. Maybe I need to make them more reasonable, more comfortable.” You're trying to make them more comfortable when you try to make them more reasonable, realistic, and rational. And you are trying to assess if this is doable. What this means is that you're not accepting the opportunity at hand. As humans, we repeat this process of trying to make goals more realistic and reasonable until we end up making very, very, little progress. Hence, missing the opportunity.
This is the very reason many of us shy away from goal setting at all. We don't want to feel uncomfortable. We don't want to feel ultimately disappointed because maybe we know that we won't follow through. But if you can start to think about goal setting in a different way, as a growth opportunity, your brain is going to lose its ability to make sure that it's a comfortable goal. Instead, it's going to be okay with it being uncomfortable. If you've already gone to the place where this is impossible, you've already gone to a place that you know may fail.
If you already think you may fail, your brain has nothing left to argue with. And then it might say, “well, if I know I'm going to fail, why in the world would I do it?” This is just why you should do it. Because the alternative of not doing it is also failing. Most of us just fail ahead of time, right? We set a goal and then we defeat ourselves before we even give it a solid effort. We often think that this type of failure is better because nothing's been lost. But that is a lie. You're losing out on all of the learning. You're losing out on all of the knowing. And you have no idea what that opportunity could have been.
Turning Failure into Opportunity
I was recently in a car with two other women, and they said to me, “oh, my gosh, Andrea, we're following you on social media. I just don't even know how you do all the stuff you do. I could never do that. You just are so driven. How do you do it?” I'm trying to create a business and I'm helping people in the process. They're missing out by not even trying to create something.
So how do I do it? I do it by being willing to fail. There have been lots of things that I've failed at. But there have also been lots of goals that I've actually accomplished. And if I had decided it were too hard ahead of time and failed ahead of time, it really would have cost me my current life, my amazing clients, and the income, and the ability to talk to you through this blog or my podcast.
So, I am encouraging you to fail for the sake of learning how to fail and learning from the failure. So even though we believe that if we don't try, we can't fail – that’s just not true. Failing ahead of time is still a failure, but you learn nothing from it and you stall your own growth, your own evolution. When you think about it, failing repeatedly is how we accomplish most great things. You never know where your failures might lead you. They are guaranteed to lead you nowhere, if you never even try. When you set a goal and go after it with a willingness to fail, you will gain enormous wisdom and experience and understanding and self-knowledge.
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