How To Become An Effective Goal-Getter
"How can I make sure I actually achieve the goals I set for myself?"
If we’ve known each other for a while, you probably know that I’m a goal-setting nerd. The topic of setting goals has been near and dear to my heart for many years.
Through books, courses I have taken, and by trial and error, I have learned a thing or two about effective goal-setting.
In this post, I want to take some time to walk you through some principles that have helped me make my goals more reachable and fun at the same time.
Why is goal-setting important?
The answer to this question in one word is CLARITY! Clarity gives us direction.
I find it fascinating that in three separate places in the Bible, Jesus approaches someone who obviously needs some sort of healing or restoration and asks the question, “What do you want me to do?”
The reason I find this so intriguing is that Jesus not only knew what people needed, he could instantly give it to them. Yet, he didn’t. Instead, first, he asked them to acknowledge out loud what they wanted. It appears to me that even before the healing took place, they needed Clarity. Jesus, knowing this, first prompted them to verbalize their desire.
Let me ask you the following.
- When was the last time you verbalized to yourself what you wanted?
- When was the last time you said out loud to yourself what was on your heart?
- Without self-correcting, filtering, or apologizing!
- Without feeling ashamed or selfish for wanting it in the first place!
The first step in starting to move in the direction we want to find ourselves in is to find Clarity through asking ourselves, where do I want to be? What do I want?
Ok, now that we’ve established the part goal setting plays in our lives, let’s look at some practical ways that we can be more intentional about writing down our goals.
In the rest of this post, I’ll share with you some principles that will help you make your goal-setting efforts more successful and exciting. Take what resonates with you and leave the rest.
Make this process work for you, not the other way around.
Before we dive into the three goal-setting principles, I want to pause for just a moment to talk about two essential things, two things that have the power of tripping you up.
Start and Finish.
For so many years, I fought the wrong ghost. Or half the ghost I should say. Again, if we’ve known each other for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk about the importance of getting started and slaying the dragon called fear. I thought the biggest problem women faced was the phantom of fear. If I could just gently encourage them across the starting line, everything would be ok. I thought the only problem holding people back was starting because they felt afraid. I was only half right.
Yes, starting is essential. The beginning of things is imperative.
Do you know what matters even more? Do you know what makes the starting line seem silly and almost ridiculous?
Be honest, how many things have you started in the last three to six months only to quit on them perhaps a few days or weeks in? I can tell you three things off the top of my head. I quit the 21 Day Fix exercise program, playing piano and about ten tubes of shimmering colored chapsticks. Because one needs a chapstick in every shade imaginable. Am I right?
If you are starting to feel bad about your quitting habits, please don’t. You and I are not alone in our unfinishing (a word made up by Jon Acuff) ways.
According to research, a high percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. “A report, by Strava, suggests that people are most likely to ditch their annual commitment to themselves on January 19”. Only a few percent of people finish. Before you start beating yourself up, I want to tell you that your goal setting mistakes are not your fault. Remember when I told you in a previous chapter that many times we don’t do better because we don’t know better? It’s not that you are too lazy to show up for your goals. It is not that you don’t hustle hard enough you are not committed enough. It is because you are going about goal-setting the wrong way.
There is a better way to go about sticking with our goals so we can finish. And I want to show you some of the principles that will help set you up for success.
Principle #1: Write Down Your Goals
Committing to writing your goals down is not everything, but it’s a big difference-maker. It’s foundational for you to finish.
First, it helps you get more Clarity in what you want. Processing what you want on a piece of paper is powerful.
Second, writing down your goals helps you overcome roadblocks. According to Michael Hyatt, “When we go to the trouble of formulating and recording our goals, we’re doing more than dreaming. We’re also engaging our intellect. This emotional and intellectual engagement helps us identify deeply with our goals and forge resolve around our desires.”
Third, it inspires you to take more action. I’ve found that writing down my goals and reviewing them regularly pushes me to take the next right step.
Fourth, writing your goals down helps you see and celebrate your progress. Nothing can stop you in your tracks faster than not seeing results. Written goals can serve as milestones. They enable you to see how far you’ve come and how much more you have to go before completion.
Principle #2: K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Silly)
The second thing that can stump us in our tracks with goal setting is we overcomplicate things. We tend to do that with pretty much everything in life. It is because we believe that complicated and hard things must be more valuable. However, that’s not necessarily the case, especially when it comes to reaching our goals. The more we can simplify and streamline the process, the more likely we will stick with them. Just a quick reminder to K.I.S.S., keep it simple silly.
Principle #3: Focus On Progress Over Perfection
Ahhh. Perfection, and it’s many disguises. Perfection is one sneaky little friend. It makes you believe that it wants your best when, in fact, it is holding you back, big time. Perfection is also a pesky friend; it’s hard to get rid of it. It is persistent and especially dangerous when it masks itself as excellence. The main problem with perfectionism; it magnifies your mistakes and minimizes your progress. The harder you try to do it perfectly, the less likely you will be able to stick to your goals. I know that might feel backward, but research backs me up on this one hundred percent. That is why we will do our best to be intentional about focusing on progress versus perfection. It will help you finish what you started.
Ok, now that you’ve learned some principles about setting goals in a way that you are more likely to accomplish them, let’s move on to the practical side of goal setting.
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