Episode #50: Three Proven Steps to Achieving Your Goals & Getting What You Want
Happy New Year Rebels!! We’re just a few days into the new year and by now you may have put together a strategic plan for your new year goals. I have and have already helped my clients do the same last month in preparation for the new year. But for those of you who tend to put things off, wait to the last minute, or have already broken 3 or 4 of your resolutions, have no fear, all is not lost. Now is the perfect time to regroup and try again. You’re probably not alone because 84% of people fail to keep their new year’s resolutions and achieve their well-laid out plans. Even if you’ve put a plan together, listen to this 3-step strategy I use and teach my clients to use to achieve their goals. It’s super simple and you may get some ideas on how to tweak your plan to ensure success, becoming one of the 6% who does.
Are you ready? Let’s get straight to it.
Step one is Review. You’re going to look back over four key areas of your life and review the goals you set in those areas last year and do a quick analysis of how you achieved them or missed them. Now this is assuming you set ONE goal for each area and not 50. My guess if you set a lot of goals for each area, you probably missed or gave up on a few, or burned yourself out trying to achieve them all…which is not the point of a goal. Goals are designed to stretch you, helping you step into a new iteration of yourself and that’s hard to do when you’re too overwhelmed or burned out to notice.
The four areas you’re going to review are (a) your career, (b) your finances, (c) your health and self-care, and (d) your family/personal life. The reason you’re looking at these four areas and not just your career is because I believe in career/life alignment. I’ve said before that your career is only one piece of the greater ecosystem of your life, so you don’t just want to set goals for your career, you want to prioritize which area of life demands your immediate focus. Let me say it’s ok if you only set ONE goal for last year in ONE area because you just wanted to maintain the status quo in the other areas. That’s perfectly acceptable and actually preferable. When you set too many goals you split your focus and attention and are most likely to miss them then hit them, or again, burn yourself out trying.
So for each of the four key areas (or the one you focused on last year) you’re going to do a review by asking yourself four questions:
What did you achieve in last year? For career it could have been a promotion, a money goal for your side-hustle, a new job, or a raise. For finances it could have been so much in savings or retirement, cutting back on shopping or Starbucks expenses, or investing. For health or self-care it could have been starting an exercise routine, stop eating sugar, improving your golf swing, or reading a book once a month. For family it could have been taking a family vacay to Paris, attending all your kids games or recitals, or having 10 more date nights with your partner. Whatever your goal, just write down what you achieved, even if you achieved part of it or none it. Write that down. For example, if your goal was to save $20k and you only saved $5k write it down. Regardless of the result you achieved, celebrate it, note it, don’t judge it.
Next, ask What are ALL of the actions I took to get those results? Now here’s the twist, write down everything you DIDN’T do as well. So again for example, if you had a goal to save $20k and saved $5k what did you do? Maybe you you were going to set aside $750 every paycheck but instead you set aside $750 from 6 paychecks or you only set aside $300 per check. So what you did was set aside $300 per paycheck and what you didn’t do was set aside $750. Or maybe you set did aside $750 every paycheck and you also spent $10k to fix the roof on your house. The brilliant thing about this question is that it gives you so much insight as to why you did or didn’t hit your goal. It also lets you take into account of all your hard work. This question is also not designed for you to beat yourself up. You’re just gathering and reviewing data that helps you know exactly what happened. Many times when people do or don’t hit their goals when asked how or why, they can’t really pinpoint with any specificity what happened. This exercise will help you know one way or the other.
Next, I want you to ask yourself How was I feeling when I took these actions? You’re not asking yourself how you feel now, but how you were feeling when were saving money and how you were feeling when you decided not the save the money. Be clear on the emotion. Where you feeling confident, defeated, fearful, shame, excited, determined, etc. Be clear on the feeling for the actions you took and what you were feeling that prevented you from taking certain actions. Don’t write a sentence, write down ONE WORD and be sure it’s an emotion. Why are you capturing the feeling? Because EVERYTHING you do, you do because of a feeling. You take actions based on how you’re currently feeling or because of feeling you want to have. Knowing how you were feeling will help you gain insight into why you took or didn’t take certain actions. For example using our savings example, if you were feeling fearful that you would’t be able to pay all your bills on month, you may have chosen not to save as much as you planned; but when you were feeling determined you probably stuck to the predetermined amount no matter what.
Finally, ask yourself What did I think or believe about the goal I set? Sometimes we set goals because we think we should or because they sound good, but deep down we don’t really believe we’re going to achieve it. For example, say when you set the “save $20k goal” your thought was, “that’s a lot of money I’ll never be able to save that much.” If that was your thought, it’s not surprising that you would feel fearful every time it was time to take money out of your paycheck to put into savings. Or maybe your thought or belief was, “I need my money, if I have extra I’ll put it aside.” Again, if you’re feeling doubtful about your goal, you won’t take the action you need to achieve it. However, if your thought or belief was, “I got this,” or “I will commit to achieving my goal,” you may have felt determined or confident and therefore, took action that allowed you to hit your $20k goal. Examining where your head was at not only when you set the goal but every time you took action on that goal will help you see how your thoughts and beliefs impacted the results you had every step of the way. It’s important to gauge thoughts and why you may have been in and out of belief so that in the future when you set goals you have better awareness of how your mind works.
That’s the Review stage. Take a look at all of this new found information and spend time examining and understanding it.
Step two is Set. In this stage you’re going to set your new goals for the new year. This is a two-stage process. Stage one is set ONE goal for each of the 4 key areas of your life. Once you do that I want you to prioritize the goals and settle on the one that’s most important to accomplish this year. Now, I can almost hear you say, “what about the other three.” The truth is when you go all in on one goal, everything else in your life will level up as a byproduct of that goal. Your focus, discipline, emotional management, and mindset will level up overall which will help you make better decisions in every area of your life. So don’t think if you lean into one goal that you’re not also working on the others.
Stage two is to outline your goal using the same questions you asked yourself in Step One.
What’s the result you want to achieve? (write down the one goal)
What actions do I need to take to achieve that goal? (Be super specific, i.e., set aside $750 per paycheck) What actions/behaviors do I need to stop to achieve my goal? (Be super specific, i.e., no new clothing purchasing for me)
What do I need to feel to take those actions? (just one word)
What do I need to believe or think consistently to generate that feeling? (just one phrase)
Be as detailed and as specific as possible for #2 and make sure you keep that belief/thought from #4 in front of you everyday for the year. Place a sticky note on your bathroom mirror, make it your screen saver, meditate on it every morning before you start your day.
Don’t limit your answers in #2. In fact, you may end up with 2 pages of actions to take and a page of actions or behaviors you need to stop. Specificity is KEY so leave no stone unturned! This will keeps you from telling yourself “I don’t know what to do or how to achieve my goal.” You’ll tap into your own internal wisdom to achieve the results you want.
Step Three is Prep. This step is all about preparing and positioning yourself for success. You’ll do this by spending time getting super clear on what potential obstacles or roadblocks may keep you from achieving your goal. That’s right, you’re going to be proactive. You’re going to write down EVERYTHING you can think of that may get in your way. That can include anything from managing your self-confidence, to managing your calendar and creating boundaries, to needing to hire a financial planner. List them all.
Now, here’s the secret sauce. This is why 86% of people don’t achieve their goals. For each and every obstacle you want to write down how you’re going to overcome that obstacle. What are you going to do when self-doubt creeps in or you’re not feeling confident? How are you going to get your calendar under control? What are the steps to creating a boundary? Which boundaries do you need to create? When are you going to hire a financial planner? How will you fit the cost of a financial planner in your budget? Get the point? You want to be thorough about potential roadblocks and clear about how you will overcome each and everyone.
And that’s it. Review, Set, and Prep. Those are the three steps you need to take to achieve your goals and ensure you get what you want! I’ve added a worksheet in the show notes to help you follow these steps.
Well, that’s it Rebels. And that’s a wrap for Season 5 of the podcast. We’re going to take a little break and will be back in February for the start of Season 6.
Here’s to achieving your goals and to getting what you want this year and every year to come!!
Until next time, have an amazingly rebellious week.