“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream.” - C.S. Lewis
We’re suddenly more than half-way through the year! (I know, where did the time go?)
Something tells me many of the goals and resolutions that were made at the start of the year have been long forgotten and packed away with our winter clothes.
And if research is anything to go by, I’m not too far off.
Did you know that only 8% of people who make New Year's resolutions actually achieve them. That's a 92% failure rate! (stats from Jack Canfield's, The Success Principles)
I thought it might be a great time to check in and give our goals some attention. Because we can start fresh and set new resolutions and goals any day of the year.
I know goal setting isn’t anything new or revelatory. You've probably heard all about the power of setting goals. But, like so many things, just because we know it's good for us, doesn't mean we're actually doing it.
Unfortunately, just thinking about goals doesn't count. Just like eating our greens and sweating it out, goals only work if we work them. I don’t know about you, but I have yet to master the art of just thinking about working out and seeing the results.
If my pep talk isn’t enough, is making more money a goal-setting incentive?
Consider this: studies show that less than 4 percent of Americans write down their goals and review them regularly. That 4 percent of people who do write down and review their goals regularly? They earn nine times more money over the course of their lives! (stats from Jack Canfield's, The Success Principles)
Goals might not be flashy or sexy, but they work.
When we set goals consistently and show up to meet them, they can create magic. There’s a bit of method to the goal-setting madness. I like to start any goal or intention setting with a little time to review, reflect, and celebrate.
Here’s an easy breakdown on how to set goals because not all goals are created equal.
GOAL SETTING 101: SET GOALS LIKE YOU MEAN IT
1. WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Begin by getting clear on what you want.
Think about driving (if you’re a New Yorker like me, think about taking the subway).
When you know where you want to go, you can set a location in your phone’s GPS and it will spit out multiple routes to get there. Some are faster, others slower, some have detours, but as long as you know where you’re going, the GPS will adjust and continue to give you a route that gets you where you want to go.
Goals work similarly.
When we have a clear idea of what we want, our brain’s GPS (nerd alert: the Reticular Activating System) can work to get us there. Our internal GPS will continue to adjust and maneuver until it gets us to our final location.
When we have vague, murky goals and don’t know what we want or where we’re going, we tend to “drive” around in circles.
Besides, If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
2. MAKE GOALS YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO ACHIEVE.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many of us are walking around with half-baked goals we don’t even want to achieve. Talk about a goal-stopper.
When we have goals that are exciting and pull us instead of push us, we're more likely to follow through and commit to them. Tara Mohr calls them "gift goals". I've heard them called "pleasure goals" as well.
Take your pick on what you call them, but this week, I want to encourage you to make goals that you actually want to achieve and are excited about.
Let’s chuck the goals you dread and have to push yourself to achieve. Deal?
3. GET CLEAR AND SPECIFIC.
Goals love specificity.
Back to the GPS analogy…think about searching for a location in your phone's GPS. The more specific you are, the more accurate the location the map shows you.
Living in NYC, if I put "pizza" into the GPS on my phone, it pulls up hundreds of options...overwhelming. If I type in"Ludlow Pizza" (one of my favs), I get back one pin with a location and an address.
Our goals work the same way. The more specific we can get about where we want to go, our goal "destination", the easier it is to map out a plan of action.
If you have a general goal of say,"save money”, it's more difficult to create a clear map. Whereas, if you get specific and make a goal of " $25 every week" much easier to focus and map out a route to get there. It's also easier to see the potential detours and road blocks along the way.
4. SET POSITIVE GOALS.
Ok, so we already know we want clear and specific goals. But what about how we phrase them?
Positivity wins again. We want to phrase our goals positively without qualifiers.
"I'm not going to eat junk food" is a goal phrased in the negative. Our brain's GPS system picks up on this phrasing and will focus on "junk food.” No wonder we’re always craving junk when we’re trying not to eat it!
"I will eat clean, healthy food that fuels my body 5 nights" this is phrased in the positive and is clear and specific.
5. TIE IT TO A DEADLINE.
There's an unwritten life rule that something will take as much time as we have to finish it, and not a minute less. If anyone's ever written a paper last minute in college and somehow managed to get it in right on time, you've experienced this phenomenon.
Without a deadline, our goals are free to take their sweet ass time. Given our proclivity to forget our goals (ahem, New Year's resolutions), this doesn't do us much good.
Give your goals and yourself a deadline.
Like little kids, goals thrive under structure. If you're worried you can't reach your goal in your timeframe, I say, it's way better to fail trying and then readjust and recommit (or, you know, just set a more realistic deadline for yourself).
As you might gather, I’m a bit of a goal-setting nerd. I make weekly and monthly goals (and daily goals, and goals for my goals…). If you want to play along and are ready to crush the rest of this year, let me set you up for success.
I’ve got you covered with a weekly and monthly goal-setting PDF below:
When set with intention, goals can be pretty darn powerful. Life changing even.
Wishing you your version of success and happy goal-setting!
Kim Argetsinger is a success + mindset business coach. She helps ambitious solopreneurs, creatives, and dreamers get clear on their bigger vision, strengthen their mindset so they can get out of their own way, and create a personalized plan of action to bring their business + life to the next level. When Kim isn't coaching you can find her getting her sweat on in a spin class, nerding out, exploring Manhattan, or indulging in a glass of wine with loved ones.