Last time we talked about how what we choose to tolerate can hijack our best intentions when it comes to reaching our goals. This time we focused on looking at our goals from a different perspective. Not just identifying what goals we want … but the importance of going beneath the surface and into understanding the whys.

Next time we tackle goal-setting head on, including establishing good daily habits and taking action steps.

Tipster of the Day was Deborah St. Hilaire for the Fast Action Fridays call May 16, 2014.  Deb is a coach, author and radio host of The Divalution Show, Tuesday nights at 7pm (eastern), and also starting a women’s Internet radio network, W4DIVAS, which will be Michigan’s first. Deb pointed out that following through with all those projects, especially the radio network, requires a lot of goal-setting.

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Why bother trying to understand our goals? Isn’t the “why” obvious?

Understanding the Why of our goalsWe know we want or need something currently out of our reach. So isn’t just writing down what we want enough?

You’d think so. After all, it’s so simple. Logical … practical even.

But if it really were that simple, why are so many struggling to reach them?

Drilling down past the obvious point of our goals helps us understand whether or not we are setting meaningful ones. Ones that have meaning to us personally, to our life’s purpose, and to what we truly want to accomplish in our lives.

That’s a pretty important distinction, don’t you agree?

Understanding our goals helps us see if the ones we set can also be measured and tracked. Without some means of tracking a goal, we have no way to determine if we are getting closer to reaching it. And if you have no way of determining that, you probably won’t reach that goal. It’s not concrete and concise enough, making it difficult to see the individual action steps needed to move forward consistently and efficiently.

One, Two, Three, Go

Setting meaningful goals provides us with three important points of reference:

  1. It helps provide us with motivation to work consistently toward reaching them.
  2. It helps us realize what we can track in order to evaluate our progress.
  3. Most importantly, and the one many struggle with most is it helps us understanding the true, highly personal, underlying reason we think we want or need a particular goal is in the first place.  In essence – The Why.

Why the most common Go-To goals don’t produce the results we seek

If you ask someone what they want more of in their life they’ll often answer “I want more money.” Then if you ask them what they want more money for or how much do they want, a common answer is “I want enough to pay my bills so I don’t have to struggle every month.

To help make such a goal more meaningful, Deborah’s advice was to put yourself in the place of what you would do once all the bills were paid and picture that.

She shared an example from her own experience. She imagined paying all the bills for the month then pictured herself taking her whole family out to dinner at a nice restaurant.

“Now, I wouldn’t be able to do that unless all my bills were paid,” Deb confided. But reaching that goal … of providing something extra for her family, something beyond the minimum … would make her feel very satisfied because she’d know everything else is taken care of.

The process of understanding the “Why” helps provide ongoing motivation towards taking consistent action steps that helps propel you forward faster.

“I have to make a goal very personal or it won’t matter. When I don’t have goals that excite me and get me going I don’t work as hard. One of the things that powers me is that with additional money I can reach out and help others,”  ~ Deborah St. Hilaire

The point here is that the money itself is not the goal. The goal is what the money can do for you.

Listen to the replay to hear more examples of setting and tracking meaningful goals, plus how tweaking a goal can make the journey to reaching it faster and easier.

So many of us were brought up to distance ourselves from the monetary value of money… that it wasn’t good to aim to have lots of money. Is there a money-oriented goal on your list?

Fast Action Tip 1: Rephrase a current goal using specific terminology.

NOT: My goal is to make more money this year.
BUT THIS: My goal is to generate a minimum of $50,000 this year from my business work.

Important: Set your own dollar amounts!

Fast Action Tip 2: Identify at least one way you can measure and track your goal

Using the example from FA Tip 1, you divide $50,000 by 12 months, quarters or weeks of the year, then daily amounts to help identify smaller benchmarks. From there it’s much easier to see specific action steps you can take consistently to move you forward towards reaching the goal.

Fast Action Tip 3: Set up a simple tracking form. Start tracking.

I highly recommend keeping your tracking super simple. If software and fancy spreadsheets are your thing, certainly feel free to create a template form that you can print and fill out weekly or money, or enter data on the spreadsheet. But don’t mistake motion for action.

Even as an account executive selling Yellow Page advertising, I tracked with simple handwritten tally marks along the bottom of the company-issued sales sheet (on which we tracked renewals, upsells/downsells and new sales) the number of calls I made each day to prospects and current advertisers, plus how many people I actually spoke to. From my tallies I could see which days of the week I was most productive, plus calculate averages that helped determine my personal ROI. There was no denying that when I made more calls, spoke to more prospects, I sold more ads. That hard data helped motivate me to pick up the phone and keep calling. If you’ve ever spent time cold-calling leads you’ll understand how scarce motivation can be.

BEWARE: If you complicate this step you won’t follow through consistently on tracking your actions and results. If you aren’t consistent, you won’t accumulate the necessary data to make wise decisions from a position of clarity and confidence. You’ll stall out. And you won’t reach your goal.

I’m convinced that the extra tracking I did of my personal sales goals (10% higher than the goals set for me by the company) helped keep me consistently among the top advertising sales reps.

Remember, it’s not the actual goal that’s important. It’s what that goal can provide, including how you will feel not just once you make or exceed it, but during the journey.

Want some help setting, tracking and understanding the why of your goals?

I’d be glad to help you. Apply for a 20 minute complimentary strategy session with me right now. Let’s chat. What is it you want to accomplish? What’s holding you back?  What fast actions can help you rock your unique path?   Click here to apply.

By the way, if you’d like to volunteer to be the Tipster of the Day for a future Fast Action Fridays call, share your tips, plus get some free promotion, just post your request on my Facebook page or contact me here.

YOUR TURN Exercise

Using the worksheet (or follow the format in the above image), write down a goal you currently have on the top line. Next ask yourself:  “Why do I want this goal? What does it give me?

Continue the process of questioning yourself, “And why do I want that? What does that give me?”

The worksheet prompts you to dig even deeper, asking those same questions of each answer you come up with until you reach the point where you have a firm, honest response to the last question: “What will this goal help you feel?

Repeat the process with another goal.

Stuck for an answer as you drill down?

Here are some additional questions that can help break up the blocks and clear your path:

• Why do you want _[this]________ rather than ___[that]__________.

• If I had ___[that]__________ what would I want next?

• Am I being honest? Do I really want this goal? Do I think I’m supposed to want this?

• If _[this (money, time, person, thing) ____________ wasn’t part of the problem, what else would I wan because it would provide _[this] _________________?

• Who might not like me to reach this goal?

• How would I feel If I never reach this goal?

• What changes would I need to make to be the person who achieved this goal?

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