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Are you setting goals or just making wishes?
Goal setting is a task that demands discipline, constant effort, and clear measures for success. But, how often should you revisit your goals? What expectations should you be setting for yourself? Should you be flexible or firm with those goals? How do you best measure results and hold yourself accountable? And most importantly, have you given yourself permission to succeed? All of your burning questions will be answered in this week’s episode of the Conquer Local podcast.
It’s the latest edition of the Conquer Local podcast, as we continue our coaching episodes. I’m really excited about this topic because I’m going to get to share with you some learnings that I’ve been having over the past few years on not just goal setting, but some of the tweaks that I’ve had to make to this routine. We’re going to dig into it. We’re going to get super deep. I’ll probably bare my soul a little bit, so this is definitely a must-listen-to episode, as we’re going to talk about using goal-setting for amazing results. It’s all coming up next on the Conquer Local podcast.
1. Write Them Down
So goal setting. I think we all understand that it’s important. We need to figure out some goals and then we need to go out and try and reach for them. There is this thing that if you don’t write them down, and you don’t put a plan next to them, and you don’t measure them, then they’re nothing more than a wish. So number one in setting a goal, the 101 is write the bloody thing down. Now just writing the goal down and then going back to it a year from now and wondering why the hell you didn’t hit it, well that is probably part of the definition of insanity because what you need to do is to continue to beat those goals into your head.
So just a couple of things that I’ve learned over the years. Number one, where I keep my goals is inside the notes feature on my phone. I know that every phone out there, even the Motorola Razor flip phone … Anyways, that would suck. But in a smartphone, it’s easy. You just pull up the notes field and you write your goals down in there. I’ve set them out into these categories. This is what’s working for me. I just want to share this with you and then I’m going to talk about some tweaks that we’ve been making over the last couple years to get some really good performance of these goals.
2. Set Expectations
The first is to set a daily expectation, like right down to what am I going to do today? I’ve done this over the years, where you get your to-do today list or you use a Trello board or with a thing I’m really liking is this Full Focus Planner that I think I found … I’m into my fourth quarter of it now, so it’s a book for every quarter. I’m almost 50, so what I found is you write … When I write things down, I actually don’t go back to them very often, because I lock them in. If I don’t write them down, I have a tendency to forget those things. So writing down your goals and then setting those daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly expectations, the things that you are going to achieve.
I also have started adding what I call a three-hag, so that’s a three-year hairy, audacious goal, and then a big hairy, audacious goal. Like just a crazy goal. I’ve only recently started doing the crazy goals because what I found was when I … I was actually sandbagging some of my goals. I wasn’t really pushing hard enough. The three-hag and the B-hag, those are just … Those are big … I love big, hairy, audacious goal. It’s like something that whoa, you know? But if you don’t write it down and you don’t give yourself permission, and that’s part of what this whole thing is, by writing them down, you’re giving yourself permission to achieve that.
Now this is the reason why I like having it on my phone. You want to go to these pretty much every day and you want to start reading them out loud to yourself. I don’t know if you do that in front of a group of people, where you talk about I’m going to renovate the backyard this month, or whatever those goals might be, but what I found is by saying them out loud, it makes it more real. The real secret to setting the goal and then measuring and adapting and ultimately achieving it is being prepared to adjust so that you’re moving towards that goal and you’re holding yourself accountable.
3. Be Accountable
First off, we got to set the goal, we got to write it down, we got to go to it on a regular basis and remind ourselves of the goal. Some people actually like to put a reward next to the goal as well, so if this, then that, because they find that to be very motivating. And then we have this level of accountability. This is the piece that if you read anything around setting goals, so you’ve heard me on the podcast talk about a number of these type of systems, so the 4 D’s of Execution, OKRs, John Doerr’s OKRs.
There’s always this talk about an accountability process where you have to be super-honest with yourself. Some of the categories of my goals, I’ve got work targets, I’ve got financial targets, I’ve got health targets, I’ve got time, what I’m going to be doing with my time. I have relationship targets, and then I have those reward targets. Now the reward targets can be tied to the various targets in those categories, and again, you don’t need to have those categories. I’m just giving you some examples of some categories. But what I found where I really started to have success and where I started to look at the end of the year and I was like, “Holy … I hit 70% of my goals this year,” was when I had that accountability.
4. Make Adjustments
So the first piece is, you got to set those goals, and you got to make them real, and you got to give yourself permission to hit them. And by articulating them but saying them out loud, it makes them more real. Then you have the accountability process. It’s really important that you be honest with yourself. The person we lie to the most is ourselves, and you can’t have that inside this process to be effective because what we need to be doing is looking at the goal and then having a look at the lead measures, not the lag. The lag measure is did I hit the goal? The lead measure is what are the things you’re doing to move in that direction and then adjusting those items.
Now the one long-lost art of setting goals is internalizing them, making them feel like they’re a part of you, making them so that they’re just inside your being and you’re just moving towards them and you didn’t even notice it, like it’s just something that’s just second nature. You’re like, “Oh, yeah, I remember. I was going after that goal,” but it’s just because it’s ingrained.
I remember watching online … You know that I’m a Tony Robbins fan. I’m not like a disciple, kumbaya Tony Robbins person, but what I do like is there are some learnings there, and if you go to Netflix, the I’m Not Your Guru, where he jumps up and down on a trampoline beside the stage and he gets himself all jacked up and fired up and then he runs on the stage and just rips the place apart. That’s the Tony Robbins thing. But this guy, and the affirmations, if you repeat every day, “I am going to do this, I am going to do this, I am going to do this, I am going to do this,” you eventually will do it, because it’ll just be internalized into your being.
By saying them out loud, it’s a little frigging weird when you first start doing it, especially if there’s people around. You’re in the gym, you’re on the treadmill, and you’re like, “I’m going to be 185 pounds. I’m going to be 185 pounds.” It’s a little weird, but you start to know ownership. You start to take ownership because of the affirmations. You say the thing so many times either out loud or inside your head that it just becomes part of your nature. And what you’re really doing, though, and this is such an important piece, is you’re giving yourself permission to succeed. You’re giving yourself permission to reach that goal.
So tracking, really important piece, because what I do know is the path to success, and what I mean by success is you achieving the goal that you set, is not a straight line. Very often, we’re like, “Oh, all these people. Elon Musk, he just arrived over there, is a billionaire.” No. If you listen to stories about the early days of PayPal, where those guys, Peter Thiel and Elon Musk and Rita Hayes, when those guys were starting that business and you listen back and you read some of the books, there were a lot of struggles. I think that it’s great that people like that, that have achieved success, tell us about their struggles because then we realize that adjustments were necessary. Achieving any goal is not a straight line. There needs to be some sort of adjustment to do that and the only way you’re going to know how to make the adjustment is by keeping track of things and by using that tracking to make the adjustments.
Some of the resources that I found to be very effective in setting goals, holding yourself accountable, internalizing them and giving yourself permission, and then adapting and doing that tracking. Tony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within. It’s old-school. It’s some of his early works, but it is still very, very relevant. One of my favorites recently, Jocko Willink. Now Jocko has got this book called Discipline Equals Freedom. You’re like, “Okay, hang on on a second. So I got to do a bunch of stuff over and over and over again. That’s discipline. And then I’m going to have this freedom?” It’s amazing. It actually is absolutely true. When you start to have discipline around certain things, your life becomes freer. I’m not going to steal the punchline from Jocko. I want you to go read the book or actually, listening to his audio books is even better than reading the book, because he’s got a great accent and he’s a very compelling speaker.
The Full Focus Planner that I spoke of earlier in the podcast is from Michael Hyatt. He has a great website. We’re going to give you the link inside our materials, and then the best book that I’ve read in the last six months is James Clear’s Atomic Habits. Here’s just a piece of what James teaches inside this fantastic book. It’s the art of stacking your habits. You got a new habit that you want to do. You got this new thing and it’s going to be one of your goals. I’m going to do X. And what James teaches inside his book is if you take that new habit and stack it next to something that’s already a habit, you’re like eight times more likely to make that thing come true. Habit stacking is a fast track to reaching your goals. That’s just one of a bunch of things inside James Clear’s book Atomic Habits.
So those are four resources that you will want to embrace as you start along your journey of using goal setting for amazing results. Now I want to read something for you from Jocko’s book called Discipline Equals Freedom, and it’s entitled No More. “No more excuses. No more I’ll start tomorrow. No more just this once. No more accepting the shortfalls of my own will. No more taking the easy road. No more bowing down to whoever, whatever unhealthy or unproductive thoughts float through my mind. No. No more. No more waiting for the perfect moment. No more indecision. No more likes. And no more weakness. No. No more. Now is the time for strength, and through strength and through will and through unwavering discipline, I will become what I want to be. I’ll become who I want to be, and then and only then will I rest and say, ‘No more’.”
I’m George Leith. I’ll see you when I see you.