GUIDE TO GOALS
In this guide, you’ll receive step-by-step guidance on setting goals, as well as, receive tips and strategies that will help you succeed in consistently reaching your goals. Specifically, you’ll learn…
• The one step you must do BEFORE writing your goals so they will meet your hopes and expectations, express your highest priorities, and accomplish what’s important, not urgent.
• The threefold powerful formula of making goals “present tense, sensory loaded, and positively stated”
• The four most common mistakes you need to avoid so you don’t sabotage obtaining your goals
• The power and importance of having a ‘stretch goal’
Why 90-Day goals are critical
You probably desire changes in your life or you wouldn’t be reading this guide. Perhaps, you yearn to be a better spouse. May be you desire being healthier, weighing less, or having more energy. Perhaps, you hope to earn more, receive a promotion, or even change jobs. A goal is a clear picture of what your life would be like, if you succeeded in making those changes.
In essence goals are the finish line. They tell you—You’ve made it. You’ve done well. Great Job!
Without goals, you’re running a race with no finish line. Do you feel that way? Do you feel as if you are running about getting things done, but never accomplishing much?
With goals, you will discover that you possess greater energy and enthusiasm for life. You’ll possess more joy, and experience the deep satisfaction of valued accomplishment.
Good news. Today is the day you create clear compelling goals that produce meaningful change in your life. You will finally have finish lines. You’ll know where you’re going and how to get there.
Before you start working on this worksheet
We will specifically focus on setting 90 Day Personal Goals in this guide. Also, we have included the 90 Day Work Goals, Financial Goals, and Life Goals worksheets in this guide. You can use the same principles and steps to complete the other worksheets.
You must take two important steps prior to completing the goal’s worksheet (and this is where 90% of people go wrong before they even get started).
Step 1: Clearly identify your highest values.
Step 2: Clearly identify your life purpose.
DO NOT skip those sheets before writing your goals. Here’s why…
What matters most to you needs to be fully present in your mind, BEFORE you start drafting your goals.
Otherwise, you will create goals (and I know this from experience) driven by other people’s hopes and expectations, low priority influences, and what feels urgent. None of those may be in your best interest or bring a satisfying sense of accomplishment.
Goals set from your highest values though will be inherently…
· YOUR hopes and expectations
· High priority
· Important, not urgent
So, if you haven’t done the Prioritise and Purpose Worksheets, PLEASE do yourself a HUGE favour and complete those right now before moving forward
How to complete this worksheet
Step 1: Review Your Highest Priorities and Life Purpose, then Brainstorm.
What would you accomplish at work?
• How would your home life be?
• What experience would you like to have that you aren’t having now?
• How would your health and relationships be?
• What habits or routines would you have in place?
• Whose life would you touch and how?
You might also consider similar questions around the various roles that you have, such as, parent, volunteer with an organisation, member of a church or civic club, employee, employer, or manager.
Step 2: Write goals that are present tense, sensory loaded, and positively stated.
Goals that possess these three characteristics above are clear, compelling, and dynamically inspiring goals. The thing is…you don’t want to just create goals that make sense. You want goals you highly desire.
Here’s what these terms mean and why they are important:
A. Present tense
Do not state your goal as something you are going to achieve, but write it as if it’s already happened. For example, instead of “Lose 15 pounds” write, “I love being 15 pounds thinner.”
Strategically, a present tense goal gives you an extra edge for succeeding. It creates a tension that cries out to be resolved. Your brain is being told that your goal is achieved, but it knows better. To resolve this tension, you’ll instinctively take action steps consistent with what your brain has been told is already real.
B. Sensory loaded
If you put feeling words, or words that paint a picture, you will engage more of your brain. You’ll specifically engage the brain in a way that your goal is not just rationally a good idea, but is physically a desirable place to be. For example, let’s tweak our last goal so it is sensory loaded.
How about, “I love having more energy and stamina and looking better now that I am 15 pounds thinner.”
C. Positively stated
Don’t state a goal in terms of what you don’t want. Doing so is actually building neural pathways around the problem not the solution. You want to create as much surface area in our brain around the solution as you possibly can. Let’s adjust our goal one more time so that it is positively stated. “I love looking great and the energy, and stamina of being only 175 pounds.”
Can you see how much more compelling our goal is now?
Compare the first version of our goal with the last.
“Lose 15 pounds”
Can you imagine how different you would feel about losing weight if you said the latter statement every
day until you hit your goal weight? Which one do you want to program your mind with?
Step 3: Double-check your goals against your priorities and purpose Do your goals align with your personal values and purpose? If you achieved this goal, how would your life change? How much joy would it bring you? How proud would you be for accomplishing the goal?
Depending on how you answer those questions, do you still feel good about the goals you’ve written. Or, do you need to go back and rework your goals? This is really critical--if you set goals that do not align with your values and purpose, you will struggle to stay motivated and the goals will add little value to your life.
Take as much time as you need. It’s imperative for you to get your goals right. They can be tiny or grand. The scope of the goal does not matter, what matters is that the goal matters. In other words, the goal must be meaningful to you or it won’t positively transform your life.
For example, one of John Arnold’s personal goals last year was: “I have so much fun being a banjo player who can joyfully play lightning fast classic bluegrass pieces and soul soothing old school hymns.”
This goal is in alignment with 3 of his top 10 values: Creativity, Experiencing New Things, and Down time.
It also “Brings joy to other people” which is one aspect of his purpose in life. (Incidentally, 15 months after writing this goal, he played banjo on a music team for a weekend retreat. That’s the power of goals!)
Once you feel good about your goal, record it on the worksheet and set a deadline for when you will complete it.
Step 4: Define action steps
Action steps are the efforts that move you toward the finish line of your goal. As you work on your action steps, be specific. Consider micro-actions that will move you forward. For example, here are some action steps regarding our hypothetical weight loss goal
Walk briskly in my neighbourhood for thirty minutes three times a week.
• Drink eight glasses of water each day and stop drinking soda.
• Start eating a healthy and lean breakfast each morning.
Depending on what your goal is, you might be able to readily write down all of the action steps necessary to reach a goal. If not, it’s okay to just write the first three to five action steps for each goal.
Step 5: Schedule your action steps.
Each day when you plan, the first thing that you should place on your calendar, to-do list, or other planning tool, are your action steps toward your goals. Then decide what other activities to work on. I highly encourage you to use The Crafty Daily Planner if you’re not already, because the daily progress pages are designed to support you in doing this.
Lastly, schedule realistically and don’t over-commit. Life happens in unexpected ways. It’s far better for you to consistently achieve small action steps than to fail to achieve huge intentions.
Step 6: Review your progress regularly and record your outcomes
At the beginning of a quarter, read your goals aloud each day until you can recite them reflexively. Also, at least weekly, review your progress on each goal.
Record any outcomes along the right side of the worksheet. Consider secondary outcomes you never considered and celebrate those. For example, in losing weight you might discover that you now sleep better at night and have stopped snoring. Those are wins! Honour them by recording them. This will increase your confidence.
1. Not making goals specific enough.
For example, “lose weight” vs. “I weigh 175 pounds” or, “make more money” as opposed to “earn an additional £250 per month.”
2. Setting all the deadlines at the end of the 90 days.
Space out the accomplishment of your goals. Focus time and energy upon only a handful at a time. Otherwise, you’ll dabble at all your goals six to eight weeks and then scramble to pull them off in the last minute. (Usually, with poor results.) The success of achieving one or two goals in the first thirty days, gives you an amazing boost of confidence and energy to tackle the others.
3. Failing to have a ‘stretch’ goal.
Conventional goal-setting wisdom says, make all of your goals realistic or achievable. If you want to significantly grow, you must take risks. You need goals that challenge you to change who you are and how you work. We call these ‘stretch goals’. Include a stretch goal at least once per quarter.
4. Not making goals measurable.
How will you know you obtained your goal? Be sure you have clear benchmarks for measuring your progress and completion. For example, if you look back at John’s banjo goal, he was extremely specific in stating that he could play three classic banjo tunes and three hymns.
Frequently asked questions
How many goals should I have?
This is highly subjective and will vary for people. Having a dozen overarching goals for the year and only six to eight goals for any given quarter is not uncommon. This varies tremendously from person to person.
What if I realise my goal is unrealistic?
Beginning goal-setters are prone to over estimate what they can achieve on a short-term basis and underestimate what the can do for a long-term basis. Unobtainable goals demoralise you. Reviewing goals weekly will rapidly reveal goals that you aren’t strongly committed to or were not realistic. That’s fine.
Drop or adapt the goal immediately. Goals are always a work in progress.
How do I write a goal when I don’t have a quantifiable way to measure it?
Try to identify a qualitative metric. For example, you might be trying to create a more caring and positive work environment. Ask yourself what would you see happen if you succeed? Your goal might be, “I enjoy being in a caring, positive work environment where people regularly ask me what I need, affirm my ideas, and we laugh a lot as we do our work.”
What if I fail to meet my goals, especially my stretch goal?
Learn from it. Period. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re probably still miles ahead of where you had been and even if you aren’t, just evaluate what went wrong. If necessary, recast a more realistic goal and go at it again.
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