February 27, 2023

It is impossible to reach success without goal setting. I have yet to meet a life coach, therapist, millionaire, top athlete, or anyone who has achieved any level of success who did not set goals. Trying to become successful in any field without clear, measurable goals, is like navigating across the country without a map. All goals must start with a vision and passion for the life you will have once goals are met.

I often ask my clients a question one of my mentors asked me. If you wake up tomorrow morning and all your goals are accomplished, and perhaps you even have a ‘perfect’ life, what would be the first thing you notice around you? What would you see? What would you smell? What would you hear? What would you taste? What would you feel? Be honest with yourself. Write everything down.

Begin by daydreaming. Yes, take at least ten minutes a day to simply daydream. Start with a vision. Keep in mind that 80% of the reasons why most goals are not met are internal. Ask yourself: What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? What will I need to overcome? Picture how your strengths could be used to reach your goals. You must have a basic understanding of your internal resources. (Example: If you are a strong writer, and your goal is to find love, explore how you can use your creative writing to get attention, explore feelings, and even inject humor into a relationship.) Think about external resources (Example: Friends, colleagues, networking groups, literature, coaches, etc.) you can pull from. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Your goals must be clear, detailed, and written out. Only three percent of people make it this far. When jotting down goals, actually WRITE using the old-school pen/pencil and paper. You will have plenty of time to input notes into your computer, run spell checks, grammar corrections, etc. All the bells and whistles do not matter. Initially, just write. Turn on some music. Brew a pot of coffee. Sharpen up some pencils and write. It does not matter if your goals come across as silly or farfetched. Just write! Write not only from your brain, write from your heart. There are no mistakes at this point.

Your goals must NOT be easy. They must have a risk attached to them. There has to be the possibility of failure. It is a risk that will keep you sharp. In the back of your mind, always keep in mind that failure is just a beginning. If you are not willing to fail and restart again, there is a chance you are not passionate enough about completion. Challenges increase the chances of peak performance. [I will discuss Peak Performance, Mind Programming, and Zone in upcoming blog posts.] So challenge yourself! Keep in mind, everything around you was, at one point, an idea. Everything around you began with a challenge.

Once you have written out your goals, put them away for a day or two. When looking over your writing, rank them. What do you need now? Examine if any goals have to be met before others are even attempted. Your goals MUST be measurable. How will you know when your goals are complete? How often will you check your progress? How will progress be determined? Tie your goals to date. Timelines can always be extended, but they are necessary. Ask, what can I do now? What can I still do today? Staying ahead of schedule is good. Your goals must have a START DATE and END DATE.

Your goals must match your human values and life’s purpose. Goals that oppose your inner values are not worth pursuing. In most cases, they will be unachievable. If achieved, they will not bring you happiness. Every goal has to add to your sense of self. You should be driven from inside. You should feel a longing for the person you will become once the goals are reached.

I believe Anthony Hopkins once said, “No one leaves this life alive..” so make the time you have count. I have worked in healthcare long enough to know that people miss two things at the end of life. They miss what they had and lost. And, they miss the ‘what could have been?’ Coping with a loss is difficult, but one can find closure. Dealing with the ‘what could have been’ leads to regret. So if you have goals, you would like to meet, pick a time today or tomorrow, make that pot of coffee, grab that glass of water, turn on some brainstorming music, sharpen that pencil, and begin to write.

Best wishes, always!