In Part 1, we uncovered why people fail to reach their goals and how to ensure your goals are aligned with your vision, values and priorities, not your shoulds. But, what if I told you to abandon your goals because you’ve already achieved them? Learn why, along with nine goal setting mistakes to avoid, the guiding principles to create your perfect goal, and why it’s essential to develop a strong, healthy relationship between your goals and lifestyle, because your goal is your lifestyle – and your lifestyle is your goal.
“Keith, did you just say to abandon my goals? What about your last article where you discussed the importance of setting value-based goals?” Now, you’re saying to abandon goals altogether?”
It sure sounds like I’m contradicting my last article.
Yes, and, well, not exactly. But before we explore this contradiction, lets make sure we’re mindful of the toxic traps to avoid that will sabotage your goal setting efforts. Then, we’ll establish the baseline best practices to creating value-based goals.
You Just Set the Wrong Goal
That’s a big and costly, “Whoops!” Now follow this line of thinking to conclusion. You set the wrong goal which you believe to be the right goal. Fast forward and you’re consumed with guilt, frustration and a feeling of failure for not attaining your goal. Consequently, this becomes another moment in time that defines you and how you think. From this experience, you’ve learned. “Goal seeing is a waste of time, doesn’t work and something I’m not good at.” An inaccurate and damaging lesson, indeed.
Here’s why this dastardly deed happened and how to avoid it.
Nine Landmines to Avoid So You Can Achieve Your Goals
People have an interesting relationship with goals. Here are nine toxic goal setting mistakes that preclude people from setting and achieving their goals so that you can ensure your traveling down the road to success, not failure.
- They don’t know how to distinguish between a goal, priority, vision or lifestyle. (Part 1: https://bit.ly/2IjUmH5)
- They don’t know how to set a goal or they set a goal that’s not specific, measurable, attainable and has a deadline.
- They don’t want to be held accountable for their goals. (If they don’t have one, then they don’t have to be accountable to one!)
- They don’t want to fail and not achieve what they committed to. (You can’t fail if you never take the shot.)
- They’ve had a bad experience with goals before, and failed to attain them.
- They set the wrong goal – should-based rather than value-based goals. (Part 1: https://bit.ly/2IjUmH5)
- They set too many goals for the year. I set one or two lofty goals each year. The rest of my time is focused on creating the lifestyle I want to live on a daily basis, which is manifested in my routine. More on this later.
- They feel they’re not worthy of that goal, placing self-imposed limitations on their success, self-worth, confidence and capabilities, believing, “Well, that would be a great goal, but there’s no way I could ever achieve that.”
- Finally, they’re easily influenced and fear judgment by others or being ‘found out.’ (“That’s a stupid goal. Why would you set that? That’s not attainable.”)
Seven Platinum Principles to Setting Your Perfect Goal
Most people don’t know how to set goals. Here are six guiding principles and best practices to ensure you set the right goals.
- The goal is based on who you are and must be aligned with your priorities, values and the things that bring you joy and fulfillment. The goals you have at work are the ones you made a choice to sign up for when you took the job. If it’s the right job for you, then your responsibilities at work will be aligned with your values.
- The goal is measurable and specific, or clearly defines an attribute, attitude, or way of thinking you want to create. What would be present or attained once you achieve this goal?
- The goal must have a deadline.
- The goal must have a defined strategy, identified skills, people and resources needed, and the daily activities that are blocked in your calendar which move you closer to your goal each day.
- Set twelve-month goals or less. Goals with shorter timelines tend to lack the significance and weight of year-long goals and can often be labeled a short term task. Goals that stretch beyond 12 months lose momentum. Anything beyond 12 months can easily be rolled into your vision.
- Be realistic with what you’re already committed to, your current responsibilities, and how much time you have to focus on a new goal to avoid setting yourself up for failure.
- Most important, believe that are worthy of the goal, so ensure you tap into the confidence needed to see your goal to fruition. Don’t let the naysayers and small thinkers influence you. Chances are, they’re just envious of your goals! Instead use their negativity as the fuel to drive and thrive.
Without full adoption of these principles and best practices, your goal will fail.
It’s not enough to say, “I want to sell more. I want to be happier. I want to make more money. I want to find a great job. I want to develop loving and supportive relationships.” Clarify what success looks like and write it down.
Examples of specific and measurable goals would look like this.
1. “I want to generate one million dollars in new sales of this particular service/product at a profit margin of X% by 12/31/XX.”
2. “I want to make $250,000 a year in salary by December 31, XXXX.”
3. “I want to complete a triathlon by September 1, XXXX.”
Enjoy Crossing the Finish Line
It’s time to create your goals! When you set the right goals, you will likely feel excited, a little nervous, and ready to get started. And don’t let anyone tell you what’s realistic or possible. Let the naysayers fuel your drive to thrive. Otherwise, I would never have followed my heart and passion to do what I love today.
You’ll now find the process of setting and working towards value-based goals more enjoyable and fulfilling, without feeling as if you’re continually pushing for something to happen that you don’t really want!
You’ll know if your on the right path when each day you feel inspired and pulled towards your goals, rather than pushed by fear to avoid a consequence lurking behind you if you fail to attain it.
This is the only way to enjoy your life today, while being inspired to achieve greater things tomorrow.
Spoiler – You’re Already Achieving Your Goals
Once you orient your life around your values and priorities, you’ll find that you will actually have fewer goals.
Think about it. After you set your goal, you create the strategy to achieve your goal. Then, you break down the activities you need to engage in daily. And the only way to consistently engage in and track those activities is to schedule them in your calendar, while ensuring you’re honoring your daily priorities through the process. Now, you’re engaging in the activities that keep your life in harmony, while taking the actions that move you closer to your goal. If you don’t have a well structured routine, it’s almost impossible to achieve any goal.
Here’s why. If you design your life and career around what is most important to you on a daily basis, you’ll avoid becoming attached to always trying to create something better at a future point in time. This moves you away from living in the present and instead, pushes you to live in the future. Doing so robs you of the quality of your life and the daily miracles that happen each day. Engaging in the right goal attainment activities allows you to enjoy the process, while maintaining the lifestyle you want through a daily routine.
Don’t confuse goals with your lifestyle. “I want to lose weight and get healthier,” isn’t a goal. It’s your lifestyle. While “healthier” still needs to be clarified, regardless, you eat healthy and exercise consistently to maintain the life you want to live today – and tomorrow.
Goal vs. Lifestyle – What’s the Difference?
Is this a goal? “I want to start eating healthy and exercising regularly.”
If you said yes; warning, this isn’t a goal! This is a lifestyle. A goal has an endpoint. A lifestyle does not. (Unless you’re training for a marathon, athletic event, Iron Man or Tough Mudder, where you need to get your body and mind in optimal shape for a certain event, which goes well beyond your daily health routine.)
Think this through. You exercise, eat healthy and in just three months, you’re feeling great and are in much better shape. Do you then stop exercising and go back to eating fast food? Of course not. Unless, of course, at some point, you no longer want to maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle.
If you want to maintain your health throughout your life, self-care never stops.
So congratulations! You’ve already achieved several of the goals you’ve set simply by weaving them into your lifestyle which is reflected in your daily routine!
Look back at the examples of the goals I shared. With each goal, you’re going to have a strategy to achieve that goal. From there, as I mentioned you’re going to break down the resources and daily activities to attain that goal. Well, those activities live in your daily routine. And what you do from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep is your lifestyle.
Your goal is your lifestyle, and your lifestyle is your goal.
What you do and how you think determines the quality of your life! Therefore, your goals are, in fact, your lifestyle!
And if it these goal-driven activities don’t fit into your day, then it’s a safe bet you’re not going to achieve that goal. That’s why your calendar, your routine, is your gauge of reality and timing.
A well crafted routine shifts your goals and ideas into reality and accountability.
Your lifestyle is a compilation of your daily activities and what you do from the time you wake until bedtime. This is where a well-designed daily routine comes in to play. The ideal reflection of the masterpiece you call your life.
Your life-style is by definition, the style of life you want to live. Not solely from a materialistic view but from who you are and what you invest your time in each day. Compound that exponentially each day over time, and you’ve created your lifestyle, whether build by reaction or intention. That’s your choice.
A goal has an endpoint. A lifestyle does not.
When your goals are aligned with your personal vision, priorities, values and lifestyle, you’ll maintain your integrity, energy, and experience greater peace-of-mind while traveling on your path to achieving meaningful, long-lasting results. That’s the duality of goal setting; two conflicting truths that co-exist simultaneously – focus on your vision while living in today.
So, to create the life you want, be mindful of the future, while being present, engaged and enjoying the gift of every moment.