At the beginning of a new year you dream big, write goals, make a plan of action and tell friends what you will accomplish. And then December arrives. Nothing has happened. Nothing has been accomplished. It’s disheartening to put only one check mark next to a list of 15 goals.
January 2014 was filled with hopes and dreams of an amazing year. Nothing too bad happened this year – but surely nothing great happened.
What went wrong?
You may have paid attention to your goals all year and tried to have action plans; but for some reason, it still didn’t work.
Or, perhaps you spent some effort on the front end. You set SMART goals, followed the 10 Goal Setting Steps or whatever. The plan was set in January, you were on fire in February…and then you never looked at the goals again after March.
Either way, it sucks. It’s disheartening. Why would you ever go through planning and writing down goals again? You know what you want to accomplish. It’s in your head, and you don’t want to be stifled by something in writing (what if your goal changes?).
Are you on this track for 2015?
A process that works (But that most people will never do)
I’m going to give you a goal-planning process to help turn your upcoming year around in regards to setting and achieving goals – but it’s not for everybody. Actually, 97 out of 100 people would never do this. It takes work, effort, time and dedication. Some of the process is fun (thinking big and checking off accomplishments). Some of it, not so much (putting in the back-end work and planning your week in advance).
If you’re a BrUTE Strength athlete (or 1 of 2 other groups I’m writing this for), you work your butt off everyday to be your best. I see your workouts. I see what you eat. I see the sacrifice. The goal-planning process below is designed for people like you.
I could have drastically decreased the length of this post to increase readership. But again, this process is not for everyone. I’d rather have 10 people find success from this post than have 1,000 people skim through it.
Zig Ziglar taught the basis of these steps to me 10 years ago and it changed the course of my life. A few years ago I met Ari Weinzweig, founder of Zingerman’s, and he tweaked a few things in the initial steps. Anyway, over the years, this process has been refined to work for people like you and me.
All of the following activities should be written. Don’t simply go through this in your head.
Take a few minutes to write things you accomplished in 2014. What makes you proud?
Take 15 – 30 min of quiet time and start brainstorming a first draft of your goals. Don’t hold back. It’s just a draft. Write things that are big. That may even scare you. Write from your gut. No one will see this draft. Don’t let yourself stop writing for 15 – 30 min. A good way to start the draft is by writing “I’m sitting here on Dec 31, 2014 at my house and this is what I have done in the past year….I made ‘x’ dollars, I snatched ‘y’, etc.” Don’t stop to think. Just keep writing.
Write what you want to be, do and have.
Include items in each of these 7 categories:
The intent is to be well rounded at life. It’s important to have goals in each category. If life is excelling in the physical realm but lacking on the family side, you know where the focus should be placed this year.
Wait 24 – 48 hours. Mark which category each goal falls under. Is there a discrepancy in overall balance? Is there anything to add or delete?
Ask yourself “Why” about each goal. If you aren’t able to do it in once sentence, delete it. It is not something that needs to be done this year. Remember, write down all of this.
Ask these 5 questions about each goal. All questions should receive a “yes”. Some of your goals will be eliminated.
- Is it really my goal? (Or is it something your friends, boss, parents or society think you should do)
- Is it morally right and fair to all concerned?
- Is it consistent with my other goals?
- Can I emotionally commit myself to finish this goal?
- Can I see myself reaching this goal?
If you can’t answer yes to each of these, mark it off your list.
Through this process, was there a goal that weighed on your mind? Maybe there were a few. “I want ‘x’ but do I have the time to invest?”; “I desire ‘y’ but it’s selfish; ‘Y’ is not going to have a real impact on my life.”
There are likely one or two things you need to add or eliminate and you have no desire to do so. Things that require making sacrifices, or giving up desires that are ‘good’ but have no real impact on this world.
Your list should be final now. Everything has been vetted. Although the list pushes your comfort level, you feel each goal is right for you.
In step 6, you are going to put these goals into a format to be looked at each week in 2015. Rewrite them neatly on a note pad, type them, laminate it or write it on your bathroom mirror – whatever will make it easy to review once a week and keep fresh on your mind.
To be successful, who should know your goals?
A final thought: some of these are “give up” goals and some are “go up” goals. Give up goals would be those along the lines of “I’m giving up drinking…bread…gossip.” You need to tell everyone about these. Get some accountability. You’re less likely to go out partying if you’ve told a few respectable friends you are giving that up.
Limit who you tell about your “go up” goals. Go up goals include those such as, “I will clean & jerk 300lbs this year,” or “I will start a business.” I suggest not telling anyone unless they are mentoring or coaching you to achieve the goal. Not only is it annoying to hear about all the amazing stuff you will accomplish but haven’t done yet, it can actually hurt your chances of accomplishment. Endorphins are released when telling people about this amazing thing you are going to do. The same endorphins are released when you actually accomplish it. That feeling is what drives you to accomplish the goal. If you get the feeling before it’s actually accomplished, you lose the drive, in turn reducing your chance at success.
Take some time to go through this process. I’ll be doing a follow up post on how to successfully implement a process to achieve your goals and not lose focus during 2015.