Its that time of year when we start to talk about goal setting and goal achievement, which quite truthfully may be the most overdone topic in the world. I’m sure we have all done a goal setting exercise at some point, whether it was in high school or in college or university or even at your first job.
I realize that we’ve all done it, but the truth of the matter is very few people have goals written down. Therin lies the problem
And this tells me that very few people actually know what they want.
Why do so few people know what they want? I have a theory – it’s because we’ve been programmed from a pretty early age, to not think about what we want. Instead, we’re told what we should be doing and what we shouldn’t be doing and you should follow this path to be successful. You should do this to make sure that you have enough money when you grow up to do whatever it is you need to do. Should, should, should.
So you never actually think, “Well, is that really what I want?”
What if I want to spend my life traveling the world? Most people get laughed at or mocked when they make this statement, because its not realistic, but setting goals for what you want doesn’t have to be realistic – at least not completely.
Here’s the thing. You can want anything you want, but it’s up to you to create it.
The first thing you need to do when it comes to goal setting is to allow yourself to acknowledge that there are things that you want that you don’t have right now. It could be some pretty big things that you’re looking at, like I’m at a job that I hate. I don’t want to be here. What I want is to do X. I Or something small, like I hate my hairstyle – just be truthful with yourself.
By coming to this realization, the next step is to translate this information into something you can control, which is where goal setting comes into place.
Turning a want into a goal.
So, back to the previous example: “I don’t want to work here. I want to travel the world. I’m setting a goal that in 12 months from now I’m not going to be in this job. I’m going to be traveling at that point.”
How do you make that become a reality? That’s when the real work kicks in, the goal achievement.
Setting the goal is really the easy part. It’s the fun part. Figuring out the rest is much, much harder to do.
This is where your real test of character comes in. Goal achievement can’t happen without goal setting. But goal achievement also can’t happen without commitment. So that’s the biggest factor in this whole thing – commitment.
You can very often see people’s level of commitment when its time for the rubber to meet the road.
For example, a common new year’s resolution, is to lose some weight. Once you set the goal, you’ll join the gym and within a month you’re not even going to the gym even though you’re still paying for it.
Obviously the level of commitment was very, very low. You claim you want to lose weight, but the want wasn’t strong enough, the commitment wasn’t there, the goal was never achieved.
You need your level of commitment to achieve goals that are ideally far beyond what you’re currently doing right now to be strong. Your goals should be an extension far beyond what you’re currently doing so that you get excited, they need to be at a level where your level of commitment is going to be there in the long run.
S0, how do you get yourself to commit to doing something far beyond what’s even believable to you right now?
Let’s go back to my previous example. Currently have a job and in 12 months from now you don’t want to be in that job anymore, you want to be traveling the world. How do you make that happen? Is it even possible?
It likely starts by doing some research to look up other people who have maybe done that before. But it has to go way further than that. Setting that kind of goal and actually achieving it requires you to do things far beyond your comfort zone.
You might want to lock yourself into the decision. Making a public declaration.
For example, you might want to go to a circle of friends or to your family or to people that will hold you accountable and say “look, here is what I intend to do but I know myself better than this and I know that if I don’t tell a bunch of you people then I’m never going to do this. Here’s what I want to do. This is important for me to do in my life. I need to quit this job I’m in right now because it’s awful and it’s sucking my soul away from me, and I need to go and I need to travel the world for a year. I’m a relatively smart individual. I can figure out a way to fund this. I can figure out a way to keep the money coming in while I’m gone for that year. But I need you people over here, my friends and my family or whoever you are, to hold me accountable that I actually do this.
So from today’s date, whatever the day is on the calendar, one year from now I vow to do this thing, and I need you to hold me accountable.”
Now, your level of commitment has just gone from a zero to maybe 50, on a scale of zero to 100.
Your level of commitment is a lot higher now because you’ve told other people.
The next level of commitment might be something like buying the plane ticket that’s going to take you from where you currently live to the first destination on your trip. Now that plane ticket has just sucked $1,000 or $2,000, whatever it is, out of your bank account. That money is not coming back. It’s a non-refundable ticket.
Your level of commitment has now gone from a 50 to a 75.
Now you’re going to go book the hotel or the hostel or maybe you’re going to find a group of people to travel with that are now relying on you to be there.
Your level of commitment is going to continue to go higher and higher up as you invest into this thing and as you commit yourself to making this vision become a reality.
As you being to image these things, it becomes quite nerve-wracking. It’s out of your comfort zone.
That’s a very good sign. That means you’re doing something far beyond your current capabilities. Far beyond what you’re doing right now.
It’s extending you, which in turn is extending your own potential which is what this entire conversation is all about.
Goal setting and goal achievement is about finding out what you’re really capable of doing, and it goes down to acknowledging what you want.
If it’s something you truly want and you’re speaking from your heart when you write these wants down, then you will find a way and you’ll create those commitments that make you not only set the goals but achieve those goals in the long run.
To help you get started on your goal planning download this free Goals Journal to help you figure out what you want and to develop a plan to reach those goals. Get started today, click here to download.