http://stevencox.com – Goal Setting Tips: Want to have the best year ever? Make sure you set goals in each category of your life. Here are the categories I use to make sure I’m balancing all these important areas.
Last week, one of my employees stopped by my desk and asked me if I had any recommendations on how she could better accomplish her goals during the upcoming month. She had been struggling figuring out what to work on and then taking action on the right things.
Since it was the beginning of the month, I wrote out a simple goal template for her to follow that would (a) get her working on the right things and (b) give her a higher probability of getting her goals accomplished. Below, I’ve shared it with you.
Check out the goal template on Google Docs that will allow you to follow along. NOTE: After pulling it up, go to File > Download As > Microsoft Word. This will allow you to save it to your computer where you can edit it to your heart’s content and use it month after month.
5 Categories: The 5 “F’s”
First, divide your life into five categories:
- Friends and Family
- Finance and Work
Notice how all of them start with “F”? That’s a little trick to help you remember the different life areas. I learned from Phil Richards, Founder of DreamFunda, a site designed to help athletes crowdsouce funds so they can follow their dreams.
Pick Meaningful Personal and Professional Goals
Second, pick one thing in each category that, if you accomplished it well, would make the most significant and positive impact on your life. Don’t pick two – just one. The goal should be something you really want – something that moves the needle and stretches you. Each one of these should be specific, measurable, and you should have the ability to accomplish it within 30 days.
As an example, for my Fitness category, I want to lose weight. But instead of listing my goal as “I want to lose weight”, my goal is listed as, “By August 31, I weigh 186 lbs., which is a 5 lb. drop.” The key is that I’ve written this goal “as if” I’ve already accomplished it. Instead of saying, “I want to”, I state that I already am that which I want. This is a big key to start training your mind to act as if you’re already there. It’s subtle, but important.
Also, the best goals are very specific and measurable. Notice how I gave a specific amount that I wanted to weigh, and by what date. The goal is measurable, meaning I’ll know on August 31 whether I accomplished this goal or whether I didn’t.
Feel the Future
Third, after you’ve picked a goal in each category that really moves you, write down how you’ll feel at the end of the month when you accomplish it. Close your eyes and envision what it will feel like. Really put yourself there! Here’s an example: “I weigh 185 and I feel incredible! I have more energy, people are noticing, and my favorite jeans fit me again!”
Post It Up
Fourth, print multiple copies of the sheet. Put one on your fridge, one in the car, one in your briefcase or purse, one on the bathroom mirror. Give yourself the luxury of reminding yourself daily what you’ve set out to do and how you’re going to feel afterwards.
Track Your Goal Progress
Fifth, each week, keep track of where you are vs. where you need to be in order to accomplish the goal. I do mine on Sundays, but you can do it another day that best suits you. For instance, since I know my goal is to lose 5 lbs. this month, I need to be at about 1.5 lbs. lost per week. This habit of keeping tabs on yourself help you see where you are during the month relative to where you should be. Then you know when to turn on the gas in case you fall behind.
Finally, at the end of the month, celebrate! Give yourself high-fives and kudos for first, setting goals and, second, accomplishing them. After you’re done partying, go back and do the process over for the next month.
Follow these steps and you’ll find yourself further along than you can imagine.
At the end of each quarter, I take a detailed look at my yearly goals to see how I’m progressing against them. Sometimes I’m ahead – sometimes behind. And what I’ve begun to notice is that I’m ahead on the items where I accomplish smaller tasks more frequently.
There’s a concept in goal setting called “chunking”, which means taking a large daunting task and breaking it down into bite-sized ‘chunks’.
For instance, I want to become a better public speaker, so I made a commitment to speak 12 times this year. (I surpassed my goal already). The way I broke this down was, in January, to list the topics that I felt like I could add value to a conversation. From there, I started talking to friends and contacts in the industry and offering to speak at their events and seminars.
My goal – chunked down – was to (a) understand what I’m good at, (b) prepare a presentation, (c) make contacts, and (d) go speak.
12 speaking events for the year is one per month. So instead of asking myself how I could do 12 in a year, I asked myself what I needed to do THIS MONTH to speak once. This made the larger task more plausible.
Susan Butcher is an American dog musher, noteworthy as the second woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1986, the second four-time winner in 1990, and the first to win four out of five sequential years.
I was in the bathroom at a restaurant the other day and read a quote from Susan. I liked it so much that I took a picture of it. (By the way, it’s cool that a restaurant had this wallpaper in the BATHROOM!)
…You don’t win because you do one thing or two things right. You win because you do one thousand little things right throughout the year.
The Goals Takeaway
I believe we have a tendency to suppress our wants and goals because we can’t see how we can get there. But the truth is, you don’t need to. Not all the way at least.
All you need to be able to see is the very next step.
Let’s say you get in your car from Detroit with a plan to visit the Pacific Ocean. All you need to do is see the road in front of you, have a good GPS, stop and refuel, and keep driving. Even though you won’t see the ocean for 95% of the trip, you’ll get where you need to go.
Just take the very next step in front of you.
My buddy, Nadav Wilf, just got back from an incredible trip to Neckar Island with Richard Branson. I was offered to go, but there wasn't a guarantee that Mr. B was going to be there, so I took a pass. (I have another blog post brewing about my own issue of saying 'no' to too many things, but that will have to wait for another day).
Here is his facebook post on what he learned from Richard last week.
"Charisma: what makes some people charismatic and others not? Genes? Good looks? What does a person like Richard Branson have that we may not? Consider that charisma is simply being present for others. Being a space for others to get who they really are, what is possible for them to achieve and who they can be for others. I had the pleasure of getting to spend time with Richard this past week and the man is a present and authentic. He can pick up the phone and be with anyone in the world, and he genuinely wants to be with you…that's true charisma and we all have it:) Love you all for who you are."
In our latest Mastermind meeting, rockstar motivator John Assaraf stated that he was dedicated to spending more of his time on things that he loves vs. things that are tolerable or downright a drag.
I made a visual representation that I think is applicable to everyone's life.
Spend more time doing things you love. This includes at work. Find jobs that fuel your natural talent and curiosity. It makes life so much better!