How to set goals, and get them!

Goal-setting comes in at pretty much in the top 3 of skills that entrepreneurs – in fact anyone – should focus on becoming better at being consistent in.

One of the reasons why so many people don’t see the value of goal-setting is that there is no immediate feedback. In order to combat ‘delayed-gratification fatigue’, there is probably one daily ritual practiced by successful goal-getters than any other: Daily meditation on the outcome of the goals.

In other words, what it will be like once you’ve achieved the result you want. Some people call this daily visualization of goals, but for the whole process to become more real, I prefer to use as many of the senses as possible, including at least smell and touch if my brain is up to the task 🙂 So what about the process of getting the goals – the planning?

If you’ve been around the block for a while, you’ll know about S.M.A.R.T. goals:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Timely

I’m not wanting to go into these further here (Googe ‘smart acronym’ and you’ll get plenty of hits). Instead, I want to point out something that, for me at least, I consider important: S.M.A.R.T. works better for goals rather than plans.

You might disagree here, but think about this phrase for a moment (which you will probably have heard too): "Set your goals in concrete and your plans in sand". In other words, be flexible about how and when you achieve your goals.

In addition to a growing online business, if like me, you have a young growing family (3 very active children) and a busy day job, you sometimes find that what you intended to happen on a particular day, at a particular time, didn’t quite how you planned. Hence, plans are in sand.

The important thing for the day’s left-overs, is to carry them forward to the next day. Easier said than done, you might be thinking, especially if you have an ill member of the family calling on you, or an unexpected phone call or visit. Which is why you should find your most productive part of the day (usually early or late), to work on your daily plans, always keeping in the back of your mind as you work, your SMART goals.

When tough challenges come your way, you should find a way to craft them in to your goals, and adjust what you do & how you do it, so that you can still make progress. One reason why it’s easy to lose sight of your goals is when you become bogged down in the daily tasks at the expense of the bigger picture. Another reason – and this is the biggie – is mindset. How you perceive yourself, your circumstances, your relationships, your finances, and more besides, all contribute to your ability to push through, to be determined, to be focused, to be motivated. If you haven’t read any personal development books recently, you should be doing so.

The only way to change the way you think, is by putting yourself in front of speakers or authors who can inspire you with a different model of reality. Many times the biggest roadblock to goal-getting is how we think, and I highly recommend Jeff Olson’s "The Slight Edge" or Andy Andrews’ "The Traveller’s Gift" as two books that can radically shift mindset into a completely new plane.

Finally, if you are serious about goal-getting in this new decade, find some like-minded people who you can share your SMART goals with, and they with you. Don’t struggle on your own. Struggle with others! As you share your struggles, your successes and failures, you become more able to persist in the vision you have for your future.

So make 2010 a year of change.

Set your goals, and go and pursue them until you get them.

I've discovered Virtual Skipping…

Picture this: I’m standing in front of the microwave, rubbing my lower back as my porridge oats start to cook.

I admit, yesterday I overdid the sitting-in-front-of-the-computer-working thing for waay too long.

So I’m trying to get rid of the back pain. My fault, I know. But here’s the funny thing: as I’m standing there, the 2 minutes counting down until the oats are just cooked, I think: "Why not jump up & down on the spot instead of just rubbing your lower back?".

And this is where it starts to get a bit funny (or just plain wierd if you were an on-looker, if I’m being really honest): I suddenly realise, that instead of just jumping up and down, I could do a skipping exercise instead:

Scissor my legs back and forth, alternately, hold my arms out and shape them as if I was holding my skipping rope, and then move them in time as I jump with the scissor leg action. So I did this, fitting in 200 jumps (or skips?) by the time the porridge was cooked.

Virtual skipping.

Two things:

1) If you’re a gym-regular, or you have a fitness coach, you might be thinking: "Huh? That was discovered decades, if not centuries ago, what’s he so excited about?!"

2) If you’re not into exercise much, you might be thinking: "Very entertaining, but you’re just wasting my valuable time".

Here’s the point I’m really wanting to make (apart from it being a quirky story): When you’re absorbed with an attention-grabbing or all-consuming experience (in my case annoying lower back pain), just be prepared for new thoughts and ideas to flow in to your mind.

Don’t let the experience you’re in the middle of prevent you from ‘hearing’ your subconscious mind from surfacing its thoughts. This can be quite exciting once you develop in to a habit: you never know when a new creative thought might pop up, giving you a solution to something you had been stuck with for some time. Also, in your conversations and daily sensory experiences, be prepared to listen in a deeper way to what’s coming in to your mind.

There are often ‘hidden’ insights waiting to be learned from what you are experiencing than just the primary experience alone.

My belief is that you can regain that child-like wonder you had when you were very young, when you were experiencing everything for the first time. So why bother with all this? Many reasons, some of which are: contentment, peace of mind, a sense of newness, a degree of excitement, gaining a new and richer perspective on your circumstances…. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Try it out. And add your comments below to let me know how you get on. I’d love to hear your story.