How to Set Goals and Achieve Them
As a seasoned lifestyle coach, teaching people how to set goals and achieve them is one of my top priorities.
In 2003, Beachbody entered my life and began changing it for the better. I set a goal to lose some weight and lead a healthier lifestyle and Power 90 was the means that brought that dream to fruition.
Fast forward three years—on the outside, I looked successful. I was employed as a real estate attorney by the eighth largest law firm in the world at the time. But, I was miserable, particularly when it came to my weight and physical well being. Yes, that’s right…I had gained back all the weight I had lost back in 2003—and, then some.
I am only about 5’ 9” and, at this time, I weighed in at about 205 pounds. I was NOT happy about this. It robbed me of my joy. So, I made a commitment to lose weight yet again—but, this time I went about it a different way. This time I did some personal development research, reading and work and went about it the right way.
Setting goals is an admirable action. But, many of us find it extremely hard to follow through with the process of actually achieving our desired results. Whether our goals are personal, professional or fitness-related, more often than not, we find it easy to dream about it, but struggle to take control and execute our plan. In other words, it’s easier said than done.
So, in light of this struggle, I put together this guide on how to set goals AND achieve them. It’s a compilation of tips that I find extremely helpful—from personal experience, the S.M.A.R.T.I.E. formula, and Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog (a favorite of mine!).
Now, let’s talk about the importance of having a positive mindset.
Goal Setting with a Positive Mindset
Instead of telling yourself that you’ll stop doing something negative, try to frame it positively so that your mind won’t think you’re depriving it of something. To clarify, here’s an example:
Instead of telling yourself, “I have to stop drinking soda. Do…not…drink…soda!” frame it in the positive and say something like, “I will drink mostly water.”
Having thoughts that are positively framed will help your mind adjust more easily to a new routine. Overall, it’s a much more rewarding system that your mind and body will find easy to accept.
7 Steps to Smart Goal Setting
Step 1: Decide Exactly What You Want
You must figure out exactly what it is that you want to accomplish. It doesn’t matter if it’s money, travel, family time, freedom, debt reduction or a cycling trip, you have to be specific about what you’re after. My recommendation is to focus on the “What” and the “Why” and leave the “How” for another time. As a highly analytical person, this one was always hard for me, but I can tell you that when I stopped worrying about how I was going to accomplish my goals and just focused on what they were and why I wanted to accomplish them, my life changed.
As important as it is to know exactly what you want, you’ve got to make sure your goal(s) is achievable. Do not set crazy goals or just dream out loud. You’re not making a wish list—you’re making serious decisions that will help you bring about your desired result so it’s important to be realistic! It’s better to set smaller, more achievable goals than ones that are not realistic or too daunting. The success of achieving small goals is a huge motivator for keeping up the momentum.
Step 2: Write Down Your Goals
When you write things down, you make them real. Until you do that, you’re just “wishing” for something to come true. Writing it down turns it into a commitment. Commitment means that you’ll do whatever it takes to get it done. Wishing goes out the door. Trying is no longer in your vocabulary. Commitment removes all that. I suggest that you place your goals somewhere that you will see them every single day.
Step 3: Set a Deadline(s)
You should be able to measure the time span when your goals will be achieved. This also helps with accountability. Be sure to give yourself enough time to achieve your desired results. Make sure the goals you set can be achieved in a reasonable timeframe.
What I did this year was to break down my goals by quarter. There’s an old saying that the only way to eat an elephant is bite by bite. My 2011 goals are HUGE. By the end of this year, I will have an income that I can live on forever and I’ll have traveled around the U.S. and Europe, much of which will be with my kids. We will go to the Caribbean, Hawaii, France, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, just to name a few.
Breaking it down by quarter is easy. I have four major categories: 1) Business, 2) Family, 3) Fitness, and 4) Miscellaneous. In order to accomplish my goals with Beachbody, we really need to hit our quarterly income and rank advancement goals. My family goals focus on vacations and things like “read one Newberry Award Winner.” Fitness changes throughout the year.
In the first quarter, I’m going to complete the P90X, Insanity, One on One Hybrid schedule I made up. The second quarter is triathlon time. Under Miscellaneous, I have set a goal to learn conversational French. I went to high school in Brussels, Belgium, and can read French pretty well. I’m sad to report that I never learned how to talk to people in that language. This year, that changes.
Step 4: Make a List of What Must be Done to Succeed
This also explains why I break it down by quarter. I can’t go 5 Star Diamond, until I go 2 Star Diamond…and, I can’t open my second business center until I go 2 Star Diamond. Monica can’t open her third business center until her second one goes 2 Star Diamond, so we set those things as goals on a quarterly basis. By the end of the year, my business center and her second business center will both be 5 Star. Her first will be 10 Star. We’ll have a total of five active business centers with my second and her third both at Diamond level. That’s going to take a ton of work and I’m not going to wait until the fourth quarter to get it done!
Step 5: Organize Your List Into a Plan
Lay it out. Make yourself a roadmap. When you do Steps 4 and 5, you’ll see that it is really pretty easy to eat an elephant once you can see the all the bites you need to take. The steps are right there in front of you. All you need to do is execute.
Step 6: Take Action on the Plan Immediately
Why wait? Do something. Do anything. I love this line from Eat That Frog—“An average plan, vigorously executed, is far better than a brilliant plan on which nothing is done.” You can’t sum it up much better than that. If you know what you want, and you’re committed to doing whatever it takes to get what you want, then what are you waiting for? No one is going to make my dreams come true, except me. That’s the simple truth in life. I am responsible for making it happen and now is the time.
Step 7: Do Something Every Single Day That Moves You Closer to Your Goal
Every day I wake up and walk into my office. As I do so, I pass by my goal board. I stop and look at it for a moment and begin to start working on the action items necessary to advance toward my goals. That means there are a certain number of people I have to talk with every day to get me where I want to go. Some of those people I need to talk with about the business opportunity. Most of them I simply need to help get healthy and fit. Doing this action every day moves things forward. Sounds simple to do…and, it really is. It’s also simple not to do. I’m going to keep doing those simple things every single day.
Why New Years Resolutions Don’t Usually Work
You can’t talk about goal setting without talking about New Year’s resolutions.
A lot of make them, but far fewer actually stick with them long enough to achieve them. To be honest, I’m actually against them—yes, that’s right, I’m against New Year’s Resolutions. Why? Because they just aren’t the smartest way to go about setting goals.
Let’s talk about why most New Years resolutions don’t work.
At their core, most resolutions are really just a decision made from a place of interest. Maybe a firmer than usual decision, but still just a decision. What is required to have a fighting chance at actually achieving a goal is a COMMITMENT.
Commitment is the bridge between decisions and actions. Commitment is what keeps you on the path when circumstances change.
It’s great to make a decision today, but whether you will stick with it in a few weeks depends on your level of commitment. In short, commitment is what’s required if you REALLY want to change.
Commitment brings about visible results. Making a commitment differentiates you from those people who want changes, but little to nothing to make them happen. Commitment is the driving force of the successful.
Here’s a video I did on New Year’s Resolutions:
Here’s a helpful video with tips on how to setting goals and New Year’s Resolutions:
Get Help With Setting Goals
If you can’t tell, I’m a passionate and goal-oriented person—and, after coaching for over a decade, I’ve learned how to set goals and achieve them. I hope this info was helpful to you. If you have any of your own goal setting tips, please share them in a comment below!
If you’d like some personal one-on-one help setting and reaching your goals, I’d be stoked to help you out—just click below to get started: