I studied management back in the 80s, and we talked about SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound. Our goals were based on work or business. There was very little focus on the person as a whole and achieving those goals in other areas of our life.
Over the last 30 years, research suggests that if you can attach an emotion and set a clear intention when writing a goal, you have a better chance of achieving that goal.
So how do we attach intention and emotion to our goals?
Let's start with the types of goals we want to set. Firstly, you need to write down all the roles that you have in your life. For example, are you a mother, a partner, a boss, a sister, a daughter, etc.? Writing these roles down will give you an idea of the areas in your life you may need to look at.
It’s not about having one goal for each part of your life; it's about giving you awareness of who you are as a whole person. It will help you look more carefully at the way you spend your time and energy, so you have a better chance of being successful as a whole person, not just successful in one or two areas of your life. I look at the whole person when working with clients, looking at all areas of their life, not just at work or home. That’s the whole purpose of goals.
Writing goals isn't as simple as the SMART goals we used to write back in the 80s, they were generally one sentence. It’s your own personal preference on how to write goals, as long as you follow a few basic guidelines. The best thing to do is write goals in a way that feels comfortable to you so you're more likely to do it. If you're being forced to do something that doesn't really fit with you and it doesn't resonate, then you're less likely to do it. My advice is, always do what feels right for you.
I tend to write goals as if they’ve already happened. I start it with a time period, for example, my goal is - January 2021, I’m sitting in my sun-filled office etc.
Write a date on it, write the goal, and then describe the feeling and the surroundings. Where am I? Who's there? How do I feel and what is it that I've achieved? Let’s say it's November 2020, and I'm five kilos lighter than I was in August, for example.
Your goals can be set around your business, health, relationships, financial goals, for example buying a house or a car. Describe what you want to achieve in your life and use a language that says you’ve already achieved it and attach emotion to it by talking about the goal. It’s not just what you’ve achieved, but how it makes you feel. What is the emotion? What will achieving that goal do for you as a person? How will you change? How will you feel when you've achieved that goal? This is really important. If you can anchor into that emotion, every time you think about that goal, and bring in that emotion, it’s the joy of success or the satisfaction that goes with knowing that you're at the weight you want to be or you're eating well etc.
If you can’t imagine how you feel when you achieve your goal, then you really need to question whether it’s the right goal for you. If this goal is not going to make you feel better than you feel now, why are you doing it?
Society often tells us that we need to achieve certain things or act a certain way, but if it doesn’t mean something to you, then none of that matters.
I tend to keep my goals under a page, writing a description of what I've achieved and how I feel when I've achieved it. Why I've wanted this and why it's good for me. Write a detailed description of your goal. The more detail you have, the clearer the picture will be of how it will feel when you achieve your goal. It’s really important for you to really grab on to it and understand how it’s going to feel. You don’t need a lot of goals, maybe one or two in each area of your life.
Now, sit down and think about what it is that you want. If you were able to achieve all these things, how would your life look like? Think about what a realistic timeframe is for achieving these goals and this will give you an idea of what date to put on them.
Some goals might be short term, a couple of months or longer say 12 months or even five years. The long-term goals are harder to achieve and take longer, but that’s okay, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know when you get there. Having these goals is important, so you know if you’re heading in the right direction or not.
Have you heard of B-hag goals? B-hag stands for Big, hairy, audacious goals. When saying your goal out loud you either start to giggle, get a lump in your throat or your chest tightens, that’s what a B-hag goal does. It’s that massive goal that you don’t really believe you can achieve. I want you to write that goal down as well. If you don’t believe it now, once you say it out loud, it takes on a life of its own and it’s something to head towards. You may not achieve it, because they are massive goals, but that's not the point of this exercise. The B-Hag goal is the goal that is the ultimate prize and it's the one that everything else hinges on, because you're heading towards it with all the other little goals that you do. You’ll be surprised, when you write down a goal regularly and say it out loud, that these goals suddenly don’t seem quite so unachievable. Give it a go!
If you don't have a goal book, go out and buy one. I personally like to have a goal book that's pretty. I have a leather-bound goal book, it looks like something out of the 1700s, it’s just beautiful. You can use an exercise book as well; it doesn’t really matter.
If you want to really make your goals special, I recommend buying a nice book to write them in. Write out your goals, and revisit them regularly. Write your goals on a daily basis if you can, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in your goal book. I write my goals in my leather-bound goal book and use it as a “master copy”. I have other notebooks that I use as well. If you go back to the Ritual’s episode of this podcast, I talked about writing out your goals daily. In a notebook, when your journaling or when you’re practicing your gratitude, you can also write out your goals from your goal book. When I was in primary school, we had spelling tests and if you spelt a word wrong you had to write it out 100 times. Goals are the same. If you write your goals out every day, it’s like writing them out 100 times and by writing them out they’re being reinforced.
Focus on your feelings when writing your goals, invite that feeling and imagine how you’ll feel when you achieve that goal. This helps you get closer and closer to your goals. Read them out loud as if they’ve already happened. Reading them out loud tells the universe that you're serious and makes them real.
Your homework is to go off and write your goals. I’ve created a workbook that will give you some tips and tricks on how to write your goals in a structured way. Simply go to coachmel.com.au to download the workbook.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the next episode.