Goal setting is so underwhelming. Yes, we know goal setting works and I even set goals myself. I like goals setting, but you have to agree with me that traditional goal setting doesn't really amp you up. That's why I created a method for making them much more exciting, meaningful and effective. Unfortunately, before we can set goals we need to know what it is we want in the first place.
If you’re anything like the majority of driven individuals I run into, you may have found yourself saying this a time or two, “I don’t know what I really want.” or “I’m still trying to find my passion.” Or something along these lines.
Don't worry, you’re not alone. I think we’ve all been there. I know I’ve been there. Laying out a vision for 5 years out, 3 or even just for this year is no easy task. Heck, I have trouble trying to figure out my week sometimes. I mean, how do we pick what it is we really want? That seems so overwhelming...there’s so much to think about family goals, career goals, health goals, and more. Not to mention stifling...make that kind of commitment means we're also choosing against some of the freedom we currently have. To tell you the truth, when I found out what I really wanted, what was truly most important to me, committing to goals was actually freeing. In a different way. Let me explain...
Previously, when I'd set goals (because I was told to) I thought I was setting goals for myself. However, my goals were being influenced by a lot of other people close to me. Whether intentionally or not, my family, my friends, my boss and other colleagues had their way with my head; swaying my focus and affecting what goals I set. The plan I set wasn't exciting because a big chunk of what I planned was "slanted" for them, not me.
After years of accomplishing goals that were fulfilling others more than myself, I decided to figure this out on my own. The following process helped me cut through the noise and get down to what matters most right now. Ultimately, it helps build a clear focus on the most important things I want each time I sit down to set goals, review or adjust my future vision. I’m confident it will help you too.
4 Powerful Questions
What makes this process so enlightening is adding a time limit. Your goal is speed; to read the 4 questions and give yourself only a few minutes to answer before moving on to the next. You ready?
What thoughts do you ideally want in your head?
Usually, we spend our days worried about or distracted by stuff (and people) that are never going to move the needle for us. Answer this question with the thoughts you really want your attention on.
What behaviors do you want to thrive at?
One of the biggest regrets of the elderly is that they never did what it was they truly wanted to in life. Don’t be one of these people! Answer this question with a list of the behaviors you’d find fulfilling to master.
What feelings do you want to experience in that moment?
Behaviors without feelings are simply going through the motions. How fun is that? Let me answer that for you...It’s NOT! Answer this with the feelings you desire as you’re learning, doing and living out your favorite behaviors.
What does this visually look like in step-by-step actions?
Your imagination is the bridge between thought and action. Many goals fail at the fear of the unknown. What I mean is that most people never start because they believe they "don't know" how or where to start. However, when you play it all out in your head step-by-step there is nothing to be afraid. Because you’ve "seen" your path. Answer this question by visualizing your yellow brick road and laying out your very own map of achievement.
A quick caveat...What you think about, your thoughts throughout this process (whether you like them or not), are telling you something about your current reality. Those thoughts pinpoint where your mind is right now. They most often point to our current "block".
For example, if you're visualizing writing a book and the thoughts that pop up are, "I'm not good enough", or "I wish someone could help me", "or how do I publish my writing", this is valuable information that you need to consider when planning the journey to goal achievement. These thoughts just gave you your first answer...
What your thoughts are telling you (from the examples above) is...
- I need a plan for building my confidence to get past, "I'm not good enough."
- I need a plan to vet mentors or coaches to find the best one to help me where I'm at right now.
- I need a plan to learn self-publishing or how to get published.
Boom! Now just write out your step-by-step plan, work through your current reality, and start achieving the future you want.
Gaining clarity on what we really want is an iterative process; it’s repetitive and ever-evolving. Narrowing life down to a few focal points is NOT an overnight job, but in many cases using the above can be extremely helpful on reconnecting and refreshing our focus. Identifying what awakens your soul provides you both a compass and a map for not only making moves in the right direction, but actually making progress on your goals.