Here are some questions people have asked me about goals:
• Do you have a favorite system for setting and achieving your goals?
• How do you know if you’re being realistic about what you can achieve?
• How do you deeply want something without being attached to the outcome?
• Does it help to have support reaching your goals?
These are excellent questions and I’ll address them in this blog. There are numerous methods for setting and achieving goals. One of my favorites that I use and teach others how to use – is a 7-step program that includes actions AND support.
7 STEPS TO SUCCESS
1. Choose a goal that is your desired REALITY, has value to you, and excites you
2. Be honest with yourself and make your goal ACHIEVABLE
3. Make your goal SPECIFIC and write it down
4. Set up a way to MEASURE and record your progress
5. Set a TIME or deadline by when you wish to achieve your goal
6. SHARE your goal with a trusted friend
7. Send a WEEKLY PROGRESS REPORT to that same trusted friend
Here’s a little more detail about each step. (This approach is more or less a hybrid of the SMART method and psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews’ system.)
Choose a goal that represents a desired REALITY that has great value and meaning for you, and which inspires life-affirming emotions
Each goal must be important and matter to you. It should have value and meaning for you. I call these my ‘heartfelt goals’, and consider them to be the breadcrumbs that guide me along my life path. I also add the following sentence to all of my goals: “This or something better now manifests for me in totally satisfying and harmonious ways for my highest good and the highest good of all concerned.”
For example: I had a strong desire to start writing a book about my midlife experiences of the past 5 years. This desire had great value and meaning to me.
Be honest with yourself and make your goal ACHIEVABLE
Each goal must be realistic and attainable. One guideline is to ask yourself if reaching your goal is at least 50% believable to you. Honestly assess your skills, resources, and timeframes – to determine if you can realistically reach this goal.
For example: To write my book, I decided to enroll in the 90 Day Novel course taught by Alan Watt. The goal of the course is to complete a ‘first draft’ in 90 days. However, when I was honest with myself about what I might actually complete in the 90 days, I decided it was more realistic and achievable that I would complete the first outline and probably not the first draft – so I set a goal of completing a first outline of my midlife memoir.
Make your goal SPECIFIC and write it down
Each goal must be very clear and very specific, and you must write it down where you can see and read it. I strongly recommend setting up a 3-ring binder that is dedicated to your goals. With a 3-ring binder as opposed to a spiral bound notebook, you can add, delete, and move pages as needed.
For example, in my binder, I wrote down this goal: "My intention is to write an outline of my midlife memoir in 90 days, and I will do so by enrolling and participating in the 90 Day Novel course with Alan Watt."
Set up a way to MEASURE and record your progress
Set up a concrete way of measuring your progress toward achieving the goal. And use your 3-ring binder to record and track your progress. You can use the binder as a journal as well, to write down ideas, thoughts, etc., as you take actions toward the goal.
For example: "I will write for 1-2 hours, 5-7 days per week, attend the weekly teleclasses, and complete every writing assignment. And I will file and log all of this in my 3-ring binder that I’ve created specifically for this class and my goals."
Set a TIME or deadline by when you wish to achieve your goal
Each goal needs a target date or deadline by when you aim to achieve it. When would you like to reach this goal?
For example: I enrolled in the 90 Day Novel course because I knew it would give me not only a structure but also deadlines and a timeframe of 90 days in which to complete my first outline of my midlife memoir. In my binder, I entered the start date and end date of the class, with the end date being my deadline for completing my outline.
Share your goal with a trusted friend
Once you have a clear and achievable goal plan, share all of the details with a trusted friend. You might want to check with your friend in advance to be sure he or she is very interested in being a ‘support witness’ to your goal program. Then it’s as easy as giving them a printed copy or sending them an email with your program. You are simply sharing your goals with this friend. You are not seeking their advice or opinions – just a friendly witness.
For example: I have a friend who had taken the 90 Day Novel class in the past, so she became my trusted support witness.
Send a weekly progress report to that same trusted friend
Send a weekly progress report, for example via email, to your trusted friend, reporting on your overall progress and perhaps providing a more detailed summary of your status with the steps. This step is for YOU, and you really only need this friend to receive and acknowledge receiving your report. You’re not looking for their feedback or suggestions. However, if your trusted friend wants to send back a response with a brief positive note of receipt and encouragement, that’s fine too.
For example: I sent this friend a short email each week with my progress report. She always sent a positive and supportive response, even if very brief – like “Received it Maddisen! Good work girl!”
Envision and feel yourself experiencing your goals
Teachers like Abraham-Hicks suggest that ‘feeling’ as if our goals are already achieved puts us in the vibration or frequency of the desired reality, thus moving us into the actual reality itself. In your binder, you can write down the feelings and qualities you’ll experience when you reach your goal. You can write down mini-scenarios too, in the present tense, which describe the goal as if you are living it. I get into this more in my goals workshop.
Again, the key here is to have an achievable and realistic ‘feeling’ and even vision of the desired goal or end result – without getting too grandiose or exaggerated. Remember Step #2, the goal must be achievable, especially within the given timeframe and your skills and resources.
Let go of attachment to the outcome
It’s more important to be present in the moment, and not get too hung up on what your life will exactly look like when your goal is achieved. Because the result may not look exactly like you pictured it to be! And that’s why it’s important to stay committed to the feelings associated with your goal more than the outcome, and to stay focused on the 7 steps and your actions that support them.
Follow EVERY step of this program, ALL 7 STEPS. Definitely DO NOT leave out steps #6 and #7. When we speak our goals out loud to the world, or in this case, in writing with a trusted friend, their witnessing can be extremely powerful in assisting the manifestation of your goals.
To read a short study about the effectiveness of steps #6 and #7, which was conducted by psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, click here:
Dr. Matthew’s study showed that people who wrote down their goals, shared this information with a friend, and sent weekly updates to that friend – were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than those who merely formulated goals in their minds.
Honor yourself, and make time to begin this 7-step program of giving life to your super important goals. Set up your 3-ring binder and get going now!
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” – Albert Einstein
“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.” – E. Joseph Cossman
“If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra
Your Life Coach,
Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.