5 Keys to Setting Powerful Goals
A New Improved Version of SMART Goals
The SMART acronym has been around for a while. If you’ve been in the business world for a while, you’ve probably been exposed to it- at least haphazardly. But I want to introduce you to a different version, a better version. One that will take your goals and elevate them to a higher level. That version is based around the foundations of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), and by using this model, you’ll be sure to achieve success.
S: Specific, Simple, See Yourself
When using NLP techniques to set your goals, start with the three S’s: specific, simple, and see yourself. Our subconscious will always take the path of least resistance. So, we have to be incredibly specific when we start creating our goals. If we vaguely state, “I want to have more money.” our subconscious may see us pick a penny up off the ground and consider goal achieved. By being specific (“I want to make $60,000 per year.”) we are already on the way to setting better goals for ourselves.
Simple goals are straight-forward and easy to follow. Have you ever seen the post recounting a child stating they wanted to be an astronaut, and the adult replies “You have to study hard, go to college, learn a lot of science, and take a physical fitness test.” The 3-year old shrugs and says, “That’s just four things.” If your goal setting process makes a list 7,000 items long, you’ll be overwhelmed before you even start.
Seeing yourself successfully achieving your goal is incredibly important. When crafting your goal, really envision what you will see, hear and feel. Utilizing your senses will help make your vision incredibly real. For instance, if you have a goal around money, will you see your bank account online stating a certain number? If you want to get promoted, will you hear your boss saying, “Congratulations! You’ve got the job!” Create this image in your mind’s eye, ensuring that you are disassociated (seeing it as if you are watching a movie and can see yourself in the image rather than looking through your own eyes.)
M: Measurable, Meaningful to You
Measurable goals are not particularly new. Make sure you have a standard to measure by and dates to achieve them by. For instance, “I want to drink more water.” is all fine and good, but a measurable version would state, “I want to drink 64 oz of water each day by November 1st, 2019.” will be much more successful.
If your goal isn’t meaningful to you, you will have a hard time following through. If your boyfriend wants you to quit drinking coffee, but coffee is a significant part of your day that you really love, and you are not personally committed to the change, all the techniques and approaches in the world will not cement this change. Goals that mean something to you will have more motivation behind them.
A: Achievable, As If Now, All Areas of Your Life
Setting an achievable goal doesn’t mean being a big fish in a small pond. It means reflecting on the resources you have and adjusting appropriately. For instance, you may not be able to quit your job and start your own business tomorrow, but you can continue your “day job” while you build up the resources you need to be in a position to reach your ultimate goal. Set yourself up for success. Dream big, but ensure you are remaining inspired and motivated instead of just feeling like you failed (hint: there is no failure, only feedback.)
When writing out your goals, write them as if they are currently happening. Instead of writing “I will stop smoking.” write out “It is now January 1st, 2020. I am a nonsmoker.” Include what you see/hear/feel to make it more vivid and to see yourself achieving your goal.
See your goal in all areas of your life. How will starting a business affect your relationship with your family? How will making more money affect the way your husband treats you? This might help you uncover some limiting beliefs that could derail your success. If you have an underlying fear that your family will mock you for following your dream, you need to resolve those emotions. If you think your husband will be angry and bitter about your financial gains, you might unconsciously self-sabotage to keep your relationship how it is currently.
R: Realistic, Responsible
Setting goals that are realistic will help you remain motivated and excited about them. Continue to stretch yourself- absolutely!- but be able to back it up with a plan on the steps you would take to get to your goal. Thinking you can lose 50 pounds without taking any actionable steps or making any changes to your current lifestyle will only disappoint you in the end.
It’s also important to make sure your goals are responsible. In NLP, we call this Ecology. When we check for ecology, we ask ourselves four questions: is it safe for the self (the person setting the goal); it is safe for the family (or business); is it safe for the community; and is it safe for the planet? Setting a goal of increasing your business’s revenue, but planning to achieve it by cutting an extreme amount of staff may not be the best plan. Will reducing your staff size too much put an undue amount of stress on the employees still working for your company? Will your business still be able to achieve its level of service or will the customers suffer from the staffing change?
T: Timed, Toward What You Want
Your goals should also be timed. Without setting a date to achieve your goals by, you can allow yourself to just put them off. This is why when we write out our goals, we start by stating what the date is. After setting your ultimate goal and date, you can work backwards (perhaps a 6 month ultimate goal with a plan working backwards of things to achieve by 3 months, 2 months, 1 month, 2 weeks, etc.)
Finally, your goals should be toward what you want. This means a forward-moving goal instead of an away-based goal. Our subconscious mind cannot process negative words. If I say “Don’t think about the green hippo.” you first have to create a mental image of a green hippo in order to then process the negative. When mapping out goals, steer away from what you don’t want, and look towards what you do want. For instance, setting a goal of not working at your current job will not get the same results as making a goal such as getting promoted.
Put Your Goals In Writing
Writing things down helps us to remember them better. There is also the benefit of being able to refer to the clearly written goal at any moment (preferably daily). When writing your goals down, keep them in positive, present language (avoid “don’t” or “will”). As you’re writing, keep all of the SMART techniques in mind. After, reread your goal and double check it’s as awesome as you. Here’s a basic example.
It is now [DATE]. I am [the CEO of my own company, 20 pounds lighter, etc]. I see [my own office, a Mercedes in my driveway, etc]. I hear [my customers saying “thank you”, the sound of the ocean outside my window, etc]. I feel [accomplished, the warmth from my fireplace, etc]. I achieved this because I am [PERSONAL RESOURCES: driven, personable, etc.]
At the bottom of your goal, write: “I am committed to making this happen.” Then sign, and date it. This is a legally binding contract to yourself. You’re moving forward. You’re making a commitment to your goals.
I’d love to hear about what your goals are- especially since we’ve just entered a new year. Comment below or book a session with me so we can talk about your path to ensuring your goals become reality.