Everyone knows that goal setting is important, but most people have a hard time making the changes they want in their lives or businesses! Sometimes it just feels easier to stick with what we know.
Why? Because the process of goal setting and achieving your goals can be overwhelming, and society is practically begging us to stick to the status quo instead of breaking out of the box and creating our own rules.
Rule #1: Set SMART Goals
SMART goals are for corporate board rooms, not your life’s work.
When it comes to setting goals, the most common advice is to follow the SMART rubric. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound.
But we mostly just focus on specific and time-bound, setting ourselves a numerical goal in a short period of time and then watching the days and weeks fly by.
If you’re going to set a goal, you need an action plan to get there.
You also need a big dose of compassion, because…
Rule #2: Goals Measure Success
We have a ton of internalized beliefs about what it means to set and achieve goals. Specifically, we think that our goals say something about our worth and value, abilities, and success.
Goals are neutral. Goals are a target we shoot for, a way to direct our actions toward a long-term vision for our lives as we intentionally create and shape our lives. You can be successful and satisfied RIGHT NOW without ever setting or achieving a goal.
Goals don’t measure your success — you do.
Have you heard the story about the Mexican fisherman?
The Mexican Fisherman and the Investment Banker (Author Unknown)
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”
The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed. “I have an MBA from Harvard, and can help you,” he said. “You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middle-man, you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening up your own cannery. You could control the product, processing, and distribution,” he said. “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, and eventually to New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “Oh, 15 to 20 years or so.”
“But what then?” asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time was right, you would announce an IPO, and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
The American said, “Then you could retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”
Rule #3: Never Give Up
We believe that being a quitter is bad. Don’t give up on your dreams, keep going, fake it til you make it, etc.
Why? What does this get us besides burnout?
If your goals and action plan are truly in line with your vision, YES, you will need to do some mindset work to stay the course when you’re inclined to self sabotage.
But for those moments when a goal no longer serves our needs or desires for our future, there’s no shame in quitting.
As with all things, it’s about the balance. I don’t believe in doing stuff you hate doing.
Rule #4: Hustle Now, Rest Later
This one takes me back to my Dave Ramsey days, when I listened to him say over and over that his followers were willing to live like no one else so that they could later live like no one else. Meaning, live as cheaply as possible to prioritize being debt-free, so that later you could enjoy your money and do whatever you want.
This famine-until-you-can-feast mentality is not sustainable or balanced. There is an in-between place where you can enjoy things without self-punishment and hustling yourself into burnout.
I teach work-life-play-rest balance. We need all aspects of our lives to balance — if you’re leaning more into work for a season, you will need to follow that stress with rest. If you don’t rest while you’re working on your goals, your body will eventually shut down to get the rest it needs.
Your goals should support your vision and dreams, they shouldn’t feel like a punishment or lead you to forego necessary rest and play.
Break the rules!
I want more people to make their own rules, so I made you something amazing! A simple system that allows you to set realistic goals that are easy to achieve. With this workbook, you’ll identify the sabotaging habits and beliefs that have made you abandon your past goals, make a plan, and create an intentional 2022 that gets you closer to your long-term vision.