So let’s talk about goal setting. As a speech-language pathologist (betcha didn’t know I also do that), I am trained in assessing somebody’s needs and constructing clear, measurable, and attainable goals to plan their treatment and growth. I do this for people all day, everyday. As I’ve started growing my own business and personal wellness habits, I’ve learned the true power behind intentional goal setting with a few strategies. These are my 5 keys to achieving your goals.

CLARITY

This is all about getting clear on WHAT your goals are and WHY they are your goals. The WHY part is key here. I’ve gone after things that, when I really thought about it, I didn’t actually want. I may have liked the idea of it in theory, or maybe I wanted to see myself as a person who did that thing, but it never lit me up inside. Have you ever done that? Like deciding to train for a marathon because it sounds so badass and you want to say you ran a marathon…but you don’t actually like to run. Training will be torture, and it’s more likely that you will give up on it because it’s not motivating or rewarding.

I can’t stress enough the importance of having a clear reason for wanting to achieve your goals. 

Try this! Take out your journal and list out a few things that you would like to accomplish. Then next to each one write five (or more) reasons why you want it. Be selfish! Be specific! Nobody has to see this. It’s incredibly effective to attach deeper purpose for your goals. Knowing why you want something, keeps you motivated on those days when you just don’t feel like putting in the effort.

A deeper way to identify meaningful goals is to get at the heart of what it is you really want. Each time you write a “why” statement next to your goal ask why you want that. For example: “I want to lose weight…why? To feel better…why? To have more energy to take care of my family..why?…So I can be the best mom to my kids.” So by doing that you get to the heart of the goal. Here’s another example; “I want to start a business…why? I’m sick of the 9-5 grind. Why? I don’t like doing work I’m not passionate about and have to ask for permission when I need time off. Why? Because it doesn’t fulfill me and I have no freedom to do what I want?” So the original goal can be clarified to say “I want to create a fulfilling and freedom based business.”

I think you get the idea. GET REALLY FUCKING CLEAR ON WHAT YOU TRULY DESIRE.

IDENTITY

Identify who you have to to BE to achieve these goals. Have faith in yourself, and in the process. If you don’t believe you can transform your life and get what you want, then it’s not going to get done. We all have the power to turn our thoughts and ideas into reality. The thing that separates the people who make it happen from the people who don’t is absolute certainty that they are worthy of it.

A good way to grow your certainty if it’s not strong at first is through strategic visualization. Not just dreaming about what you want to happen. Imagine yourself doing the daily work needed to achieve the goal. See yourself getting up early, making those calls, pushing past the moments you want to give up. If you’re training for a marathon don’t just see yourself crossing the finish line; picture how you pushed through the cramp on mile 14 during training when it was cold and raining.

THEN get into the vibration of how it will feel when it’s achieved. This is the most important part of creating certainty. Get into the mindset of how you will feel. If your goal is to grow a coaching business you can run from your laptop these are some things you will want to feel; elation when you get a grateful email from a client who saw major transformation after working with you; abundance when you look at your growing bank account, knowing that money comes easily to you; freedom when you book that one way ticket to bali because you don’t have to sit in cubicle anymore; fulfillment knowing you are doing what you were born to do; and my favorite, that  “OMG I actually pulled this off” feeling of experiencing your true power when you realize you are exactly where you dreamed you would be.

STRUCTUE

Coming up with a plan of action is the most tangible step in achieving your goals. It gives you a clear path from beginning to end. It also takes the pressure off the big vision. Often we only come up with our main goal without creating a specific plan of action, and then a week later wonder why we haven’t achieved it. The main goal is too overwhelming all by itself. We’ve all told ourselves that we will “loose the weight” or “workout more” but without a plan it often doesn’t get accomplished.

So here is how we structure goals into actionable steps.

1.Make a Long Term Goal: The long term goal is your main goal. It’s something that you’d like to see accomplished in the next six months to a year. It doesn’t state how or when the goal will be achieved. This is purely the WHAT. These goals are usually what comes after “I want to…”

Examples of Long Term Goals:

  • Have a daily meditation practice
  • Write a book
  • Earn $100k in my business this year
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Run a marathon
  • Open a bakery

2. Create Short Term Goals: Your short term goals are the outline and breakdown of everything you need to do in order to reach that end goal. It’s the HOW. Ask yourself what you need to do every day, week, and month to get to the end. Breaking it up into bite sized pieces does two things. 1) It tells you exactly what you need to do today and tomorrow so you are clear on your path and 2) It makes the end goal not seem so insurmountable, and takes the pressure off of you.

Perhaps you break down a yearly goal into quarterly benchmarks (where you want to be every 3 months), then monthly goals, weekly goals, and daily tasks. I’ve found that it helps to make small daily tasks that lead you to my weekly goals, that lead to monthly goals, all the way up to my long term goal. Some goals won’t need to be broken down in such specific ways. It will depend on the goal.

Examples of a goal broken down:

  • Long Term Goal: Write a Book in the next year
    • Quarter 1:Create Book Outline
      • Month 1: Research topics needed for the book
        • Daily Tasks: Spend 1-2 hours in the library 5 days a week, collecting information from relevant sources.
      • Month 2: Construct a detailed chapter outline
        • Daily Task: Spend 1 hour 5 days a week organizing outline of the book.
      • Month 3: Add more details to each chapter in the outline
        • Daily Task: Spend 1 hour 5 days a week adding details to each chapter outline.
    • Quarter 2:Write The book
      • Month 1: Write Chapters 1-3
        • Daily Task: Write 1,000 words towards creating chapters 1-3.
      • Month 2: Write Chapters 4-7
        • Daily Task: Write 1,000 words towards creating chapters 4-7.
      • Month 3: Write Chapters 8-10
        • Daily Task: Write 1,000 words towards creating chapters 8-10.
    • Quarter 3: Edit the book
      • Month 1:Hire an editor
      • Month 2: Make Corrections
      • Month 3:Finalize manuscript
    • Quarter 4:Send to Publishers
      • Month 1:
      • Month 2:
      • Month 3:

The more you boil these down from long term goals to daily tasks the more specific and measurable they can get. You always want to have a way to measure your goals. I love physical and visual ways to measure progress. Coloring in little boxes next to your tasks will show you how often you have done them. And if you’re a little OCD you won’t like seeing blank boxes. Include precise amounts, dates, and times so you can measure your degree of success.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Once you know what you want, why you want it, and how you are going to go about achieving it, you need a way to make sure you actually DO those things. It’s often not enough to hold yourself accountable. I know I tell myself things I want to do all the time and never follow through, because there’s no damage to my character or reputation if I don’t keep my word to myself. I’ve found that you can give me every gym membership or workout dvd, but if I don’t have a group to check into when it comes to my daily workouts, it’s very likely that I will find an excuse to not workout.

Partners: You can get a “running buddy” somebody that is working toward similar goals, so you can keep each other on track.

Coaches: Coaches are one step better than having a buddy because they will check in with you weekly and expect to see progress.You’re less likely to show up empty handed to a session with a coach if they are expecting to hear about what you’ve done that week…and if you are paying them to stay on your ass.

Groups: Join a group where everyone is working toward a similar goal. Fitness accountability groups, addiction recovery groups, and online masterminds are a great way to stay on track. You can get ideas and support from others, and you feel helpful by providing that same support to others.

Sharing your goal: Tell everyone in your life about what you are doing.  Share it on Facebook, and people will expect to see your progress.Telling yourself you will do it is one thing, telling others what you are doing creates external accountability.

CHECK-IN

Set aside one time every week where you will look over what you have accomplished that week that contributes to the long term goal. I enjoy doing this on Sunday night. Look back over your daily and weekly tasks and give yourself a review. Have you done everything you need to do this week? How well did you do them? What caused you to slack? What helped motivate you? Asking yourself these questions can help you learn what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. Over time you will begin to fine tune your process and eliminate the things that hold you back.

Make a ritual out of this time; pour a cup of tea, light a candle, and put on your favorite music. By creating an enjoyable routine when checking in with your progress, it’s more likely that you will continue this behavior. This time to check in with yourself will keep your mind focused on the goal, and give you momentum. When you see all the things that you have done in a week, you will feel proud and motivated to continue on. Cultivating momentum is super important here!

In addition to checking in with your progress over the past week, take a look at the week ahead. Make a clear plan for what you need to get done that week so you can start the week off with intention and clarity. I use paper planners and write some of my daily tasks there, but I also love using online tools like Evernote, iCal, and Google docs.

I hope this helps you in the new year!

xo,

5 keys to achieving your goals

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