So this is about my 7th year doing highly specific, targeted and accountable goal setting.
I am writing this blog right now as this is the time of year that the majority of people who set goals – whether personal, or business – decide to set them. And I do mean decide. Sometimes for people it can be like pulling teeth, like they really don’t want to do it, like someone like me is telling them to do it, or that they feel like they “should” do it but have never really benefitted from the fruits of goal setting.
These days I read plenty of articles espousing why goalsetting is a load of bullshit, and how you “should” just live your purpose.
I keep putting the word “should” in brackets as if you are anything like me, the word grates like fingers down a blackboard.
How do you feel when someone says you “should” do something in your life? It feels forced, doesn’t it.
Anyway, back to goals.
I see a couple of quite significant flaws when people set goals.
I will detail these flaws for you right now.
The bulk of people I have mentored over the years, the bulk of whom have been both in my physio clinic and also owners of physio clinics, have failed in their goalsetting endeavours by making these 2 critical errors:
- Not setting goals that align with the things that are most important to them.
Sometimes I sit in a goalsetting session with my team, and I hear people setting goals I know they won’t achieve from the get go.
Why is this?
They are setting goals that aren’t in alignment with what is most important to them in their lives (aka their highest values).
Suppose that the 3 most important things to you in your life are your family, your career, and your health.
And then you go and set a goal to buy a new car. Or climb a mountain.
When I have seen physios and clinic owners set goals which are unrelated to the most important things in their lives, I see a massive potential for not only failure but the inevitable guilt, self doubt and lack of fulfillment that follows.
Conversely the above person sets a goal to take 2 family holidays in the following year – I have seen the person is far more likely to achieve this goal – it aligns to their values.
2. Setting an outcome driven goal, rather than a process driven goal.
Which of the following goals are you more likely to set?
a) lose 10kg
b) go to gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 730-830pm to do 2 classes and one weights session, buy groceries on a Saturday arvo and meal prep for the week on a Sunday?
And who is more likely to succeed in their goal – person a) or person b) above?
In my experience it is person b) almost every day of the week.
Person b) is setting a tangible goal that becomes a …. you guessed it, a HABIT! I have finally got to the clickbait heading above.
Without habit formation, goalsetting is useless.
If you were going to achieve the things you are setting for goals by doing the same stuff every day you have been doing for years, my belief is you would have already achieved them.
New goals require new habits to be created – and recent research around habit formation has debunked the old habit in 21 days myth – it officially takes 60-360 days to form a habit.
Finally, what are my ingredients for creating a habit?
An environment of high accountability – a coach, mentor or peers to help you be accountable.
A certain amount of dissatisfaction with your current state and a strong desire to change it.
A strong vision for what the future looks like when you have achieved your goal.
And a way of lowering the resistance holding you back from achieving your desired goals – whether this be you, other people, your environment, lack of a certain resource, or something else.
These ingredients are based on a concept I teach called the formula for change. I talk about it in most workshops I do these days.
In essence – achieving your goals is based on your ability to navigate change and form new habits.
Now doesn’t that sound better than a crappy new years’ resolution.