Hi Everyone – welcome to the Boss Hat. Thank you so much for listening today. This episode marks the first of our weekly programme after our 10 day launch – so thanks again for being here and keeping me company. If you’ve not already done so it’d be great if you could subscribe so you can tune in each week and not miss an episode.
Right then – let’s move on to what we’re going to be chatting about today which is something that I’m actually quite passionate about and that is goal setting. Now, when I talk about goal setting I mean setting objectives that you physically want to achieve that might be on your personal to do list. They might be areas that you want to develop yourself in, or they might be just things that you want to do.
Each year just before New Years I set myself some goals…for the following year and I do this religiously and I have done for many years now. In fact I do this twice a year – once just before New Years and once just before my birthday which is in August so it’s not really that far off the middle of the year which is good enough for me. Now, I know that it’s the New Year already and so you might be thinking hang on I’ve missed that so now what? But I’m choosing to share this with you now because you may already have done this at New Year and started to flag a little bit in terms of working on your goals – as it can happen quite quickly in January if we’re not careful. So, in a moment I’m going to share some common mistakes and how to keep your goals on track – and now is a fab time to start with that. Also, it’s worth saying that you don’t have to do it at New Year or your birthday to set some goals. You can do it anytime.
But before I talk about the common mistakes and how to avoid them let me first take you through my personal process. This doesn’t have to be the way you do it – it’s just mine that’s all.
OK – at New Years is when I kind of take a birds eye view of the coming year and think of between 3-5 main things that I’d like to achieve in that year. Now, I don’t tend to go for anymore than 5. I’ve done this in the past but for the past 2 or 3 years I’ve focused on 3-5 because historically when I’ve listed all the things that I wanted to do it feels really overwhelming and it’s very hard to drill down to the things that you really want to achieve and you’re really going to focus on, and if you’re not careful you end up with this long list of things that you want to get done and you don’t do all of them which is not the objective right?
Under those 3-5 things I write a list of all the things that I’ve got to do to achieve the goals., so I focus on probably 3 to start with, 3 things that I definitely want to achieve and then under that is a list of all the things that I’ve got to do to make it happen.
I also try to mix these up a bit with things for work; things for me and things for home and the family – so I’ve got a bit of variety. Some years they might all be leaning towards one area but I always try to have a bit of a balance in there somewhere. For example – one might be to organise our main family holiday and where we’re wanting to go; it might be redecorate some of the house…you get the idea. Last year one of my goals was to do the Oxfam Trailtrekker, which was a humungous challenge – so when I set that goal in August 2014 that one was all about hitting a goal for me personally, raising money for charity and getting fit….so it kind of spanned lots of different areas.
So, I’ve made my goals in December- and I keep these somewhere where I can see them all the time. They don’t live in a notebook (which was my old method and this turned out to be a mistake for me as I’d fill up the workbook and then put it in a drawer, or I’d just close the notebook) so my goals weren’t visible enough. Instead I now pin them somewhere I can see them all the time which keeps them on my agenda throughout the year.
Yes, so I’ve made my goals in December and then I revisit them again in August. It may be that I’ve achieved some of them in which case fantastic – or it may be that things have changed and I no longer want or need to do them – and that’s ok too cos who needs to keep something on their to do list that has no purpose being there. We’re busy enough right? Instead, accept that things have changed and you no longer want to do it and move on. So, if I’ve some goal gaps I then choose to either create some more goals to take me up to the end of the year or I choose to really go for it with the goals I’ve got left over to take me to the end of the year. So, last year for example I chose the latter option as some big goals were still looming that I’d not had chance to really focus on so I thought I’d really use the rest of the year to go for it big time with these.
So – that’s just how I plan my goals – how you choose to do it is entirely your choice, but in order to help I’m going to give you some tips on some common mistakes and what to do instead.
- You’re not specific enough
Taking out a notepad and writing a list of everything you want to achieve is just not enough. There’s not enough depth there. Trust me I’ve done this myself. Instead be really specific and drill down to what success looks like for you and the steps you need to take to get there. This will help you really make a mental picture of what you need to do and how you need to do it. This’ll make it so much easier to remember and much more motivational as well. If for example you want to write a book which is a massive goal, under that put loads of detail and bring it to life.
- You miss out the deadline
Just because they’re your own personal goals doesn’t mean you don’t need a deadline. Otherwise it’ll just fall into the someday category in your brain which is filled with all kinds of things that you’ll get to someday…or maybe you just won’t! So, if you really want to get them done, pick a date, stick it in your diary and aim for that. Remember, you’re the most important person in your world, so your deadlines should be just as important as any that are imposed by anyone else.
- You forget about them
As I mentioned earlier – keep them visible, and not in a drawer. Your goals should be a working document, something that you see and use every day and not something that is hidden out of sight. Put them somewhere you can see them – on a wall, laptop, in your diary etc. Keep them to hand so you know where you’re heading.
- You need new habits
Some of your goals may require recurring actions. For example if you want to get fit, you’re going need to work out regularly. If you want to write a book, you’re going to need to write regularly. So, recognise that this is what it takes and that it’ll take about 30 days to create that habit. Build in that time each day to not only cement the habit, but to get to your goal.
An example is when I was training for the Trailtrekker. I couldn’t just do nothing. I had to have a schedule and stick to it. It really required a new set of habits for me, that I had to do whatever the weather. Recognise that this is what it takes and it’s going to be a bit more challenging but this is what you’ve got to do. Build in that time each day to do that habit and get closer to your goal.
- They’re too big
Sometimes big goals can just seem, well too big. They can seem massive. Split them up into smaller milestones and use these to work towards – don’t forget to give yourself a treat when you reach them. Please don’t forget to give yourself a treat when you reach them. Again thinking of the Trailtrekker again – this was too big. So, I started off by walking 5 miles. Then I’d do that again with a hill climb. Then I’d work up to 15 miles. I’d have smaller goals along the way – so do break up your goals.
- You need to share them
I know you may want to keep them to yourself, and you might have people saying…’what you doing that for? That’s too expensive? It’s not the right time etc. But by telling someone, and you can choose who you want to tell, what you’re working towards and giving them permission to ask you how you’re getting on, it’ll really spur you on. Even if you just put it on Facebook and asking people to help you by spurring you on. There’s a lot of people who do want to see you succeed, and you might want to get an accountability partner to team up with.
Those are my tips.
I would love to hear how you go about setting your goals so pop on over to barbaranixon.co.uk
and leave a comment. Thanks so much for listening and I’ll see you next week.