So, you want to start setting some goals?
Smart decision. As we have already covered in previous blogs, setting goals gives you something to strive for. They keep you moving forwards on the path to living a rich and fulfilling life.
Without them, what’s the point in anything?
But how do you go about setting goals? And what kind of goals do you need to set out first in order to get the best out of life?
This blog will provide you with some top tips and key insights on how you can start your new, exciting, goal-orientated life in the right way.
Write it down!
If you take anything away from these blogs, it should be this: write down your goals!
In every conversation I have had with experts who have achieved amazing things, the one thing they all have in common is that they write their goals down.
It doesn’t matter if they are tiny goals or big, hairy, audacious goals, you MUST write them down. I don’t mean type them out on a computer either. I want you to handwrite every single goal you think of during this process, either on a piece of paper or in a notebook somewhere.
Why is handwriting your goals so important?
For a start, handwriting is closely linked to the part of your brain associated with memory and learning. Handwriting your goals activates your subconscious to look out for anything related to that goal in your life. It’s the same thing that happens when you buy a new car, and all of a sudden, everyone else is driving that new VW Golf too!
Your brain is now alert and will pick up on signals and any opportunities relating to that goal, so get a pen and paper and let’s start writing some goals down.
Start with the easy goals
When you first start your goal setting journey, you will need to start training your brain to accept that achieving goals is possible.
If you start with some big, hairy, audacious goals (we will come back to these next week), your brain is going to see them as impossible and immediately reject them.
So we need to start small with some little wins to get our minds ready for the amazing stuff that’s going to come down the line.
Let’s look at a few examples of some good goals to start with:
I am always on time.
I don’t stress over small issues.
I exercise every day.
I drink water as soon as I wake up.
I don’t owe any money on credit cards.
That last one might seem a bit more difficult to achieve for some than others, but once you have written goals like this down, your behaviour starts to change.
There is a connection created in your subconscious that gets you thinking about what sort of habits you need to adopt to achieve the things you have set yourself.
In this credit card example, that might mean thinking twice before spending money on things you don’t need and starting to live a little more within your means.
For people who are tens of thousands of pounds in debt, this might seem like too big a goal, so let’s break it down into smaller, more realistic goals first. For example:
I don’t spend money on credit cards.
I now live within my means.
Starting off small with simple and easily achievable goals allows you to get into the habit of achieving. They are the stepping stones that allow you to work your way up to the big, life-changing things you have always wanted from life!
It all starts with one small idea
Achieving your life-long dreams through goal setting doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a natural process that starts its journey with one small idea that grows into something magical. Let me give you an example:
I am an excellent timekeeper.
This is a very simple goal to achieve, right? Now, let’s take a look at what this might lead to in your life.
In my book Goals Do Come True, this was one of the first goals I set myself. Instead of leaving for meetings with only five minutes to spare, I’d give myself 15 minutes extra and leave earlier. Easy.
Small goals can have a big impact
However, a small goal like this can have a big impact on your life. Giving yourself extra time means you aren’t stressed, yelling at traffic lights and worrying about being late. Instead, your blood pressure drops, and you can relax and think about the meeting ahead.
Suddenly, you’re more calm, more confident, and that comes across in your sales meetings. As a result, you close more clients and make more money. It may seem like a simple thing, but writing down the goal, “I am an excellent timekeeper”, has implications far beyond just being on time.
And the beauty of small goals like this is that they can attach themselves to other, far bigger goals too. In 2004, my goal was to earn £100,000 a year, and being an excellent timekeeper helped me achieve that! I was turning up early for every meeting and generating more sales because I wasn’t rushed and stressed all the time.
That is the amazing thing about setting small goals. Each one you tick off leads you into something bigger and more ambitious until you’ve suddenly changed your life.
Live your goals from the start
The last thing to say about just getting started with goals is that you have to write them down in the present tense as if you are already living them.
In all of the examples I have given in this blog, each goal is phrased “I am”, “I have”, “I do”, etc. This is not by accident. You need to feel as if you have already accomplished the goals you have set yourself, make them more realistic, and convince your brain that that is who you are.
When you do this, it changes the way you behave, and the decisions you make all point towards a life with that goal in mind.
Living your goals from the start is incredibly powerful, so don’t forget to use the present tense!
Figure out what works for you
Ultimately, the key to setting goals is having a way for your subconscious to recognise what it is you want to achieve.
As we discussed already, one of the best ways you can do that is by writing goals down, but images can really help too.
If you are the type of person who responds well to images, get a collection of photos of the things you want and keep them close by for inspiration.
Whatever you do, make sure you are very specific about what you want. Otherwise, as the old joke goes, you might want a tall, dark, broody actor for a partner and end up with King Kong!
Good luck with your goals!
More to come next week.
P.S. You can also hear more from me on setting goals by tuning in to my podcast “Goals Do Come True”. Or if you are looking for a mentor and you are in financial services, feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see if I can help.