Goal Setting…Like You Mean It

I know what you’re thinking… “Of course I know how to set and hit goals.  I’ve been doing it my whole life!”

Yeah…that’s what I thought too.

Everyone has goals (at least I hope so), but very few of us set meaningful, specific goals that keep us motivated on a daily basis.

Think about it.

When was the last time you set a workout goal that lasted for a couple months or maybe even only a week?  Been there, done that.

Or, when was the last time you let yourself off the hook when it came to when you wanted to achieve a goal?

Let’s be honest.

Very few of us have mastered goal-setting and the art of making and keeping promises to ourselves.

This past month has been especially trying for me when it comes to hitting major goals…but it’s also been extremely rewarding.

March was the first month that I actually believed I could almost double my monthly sales to hit the magic number of 100 units.

Long story short, it’s not common for a rookie to be a 100 unit producer, and selling at that level is respectable for sales professionals at any tenure.

I lived and breathed 100 units.  I dreamed about it.  I goal-set for it.  I had meltdowns over it.  But I constantly had my eye on the prize.

I hit it…by the end of week 3.

Suddenly, I realized I had the opportunity to shift my goal to 142 units so that I could hit an incentive to take my sister to my company’s national sales meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.  How cool would that be?

Boom. Done.  That was it.  I was going to do it.

Now, I was living and breathing Boca.  It wasn’t going to be easy, but it was within reach.  I did everything in my power to make it happen, and it did!

I am not going to say that I can produce whatever I wish at any given time, but my advancements in goal-setting most definitely led me to more than double my best month yet in sales.

Disclaimer: I do not, by any means, think I’m a goal-setting guru, but I’ve gotten much better at setting and hitting goals since I started following these golden rules of goal-setting…

Set goals that stretch you but don’t paralyze you.

The best thing to do when setting goals is eliminate the term, “realistic.”

I’ll admit, this is one of the most difficult things for me, personally.  However, as a former student-athlete, I often think of Roger Bannister when I feel locked in to my own perception of reality.

It wasn’t realistic for Roger Bannister to run the world’s first sub-four minute mile.  However, it has now become the standard for professional runners worldwide.  How crazy is that?

He believed he could do it…that was the difference.

So when it comes to setting your own personal goals, it doesn’t matter what the norm is.  You just have to believe, deep down, that you can achieve them.

Visualize it!

Think of what your life will be like after you’ve hit your goal.

If you need to make a vision board, do it! Add photos that symbolize your goals and remind you of what you’re working for on a daily basis.

For example, when I was goal setting to take my sister to Florida, one of my best tools to push myself was thinking of how I would feel when I told her, how excited she’d be, and I also had a picture in my mind of the two of us laying out by the pool relaxing with my coworkers, who, coincidentally, are some of my closest friends.

Powerful stuff.

Eliminate your fear of failure.

Okay, so this seems super counter-intuitive.

How in the world are you supposed to set high goals and then not be afraid of failing?

This is one of the most common reasons that people don’t set good, specific goals for themselves.  We live in a world where people are constantly judged, which leads to massive fear-of-failure.

Trust me…this is one of my greatest weaknesses.

It always makes me want to vomit when I have to tell my coworkers or clients about my big goals because I know that they’ll know if I fail, which makes me way more accountable.

You just have to swallow your pride and let go of the “what ifs”.

In the words of the great Bambino, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Yep, couldn’t have said it better myself.

Get serious about your time frame.

A goal is not a goal without clarity.  There is way more room to let yourself off the hook if you don’t set a definite time frame.

Think it through…

If you’ve set a goal to buy a brand new BMW X5 without deciding when you’d have it, it could be this year, in 5 years, or when you retire…who knows?

Leaving out a time frame is another way to avoid accountability and fear-of-failure…

Don’t be that person!

Set a distinct date of when you will accomplish your goal.

This always makes me get creative in my last-ditch efforts to get it done.  That way, even if I fail, I’m failing forward.

Connect your goals to your larger vision of yourself.

This is the way to make your goals strong and meaningful.

You must first decide who you are and who you want to become.

For example, I see myself as a high-achiever who is above average.  I want to be someone who inspires others to think big and persevere.

Therefore, my goals are above average, and when I want to give up, I am able to remind myself of who I am and who I’d like to become.

You have to be able to think about the image you’re projecting and figure out if it aligns with your vision for yourself.  This will help you set goals and keep them in the forefront of your mind.

Break your larger goals down into smaller chunks.

It’s exhausting and frustrating to think about your larger, longer-term goals and stay connected to them daily without breaking them down into smaller wins.

Within your goals, you should have mini checkpoints along the way that you can celebrate.

You’re biggest goal isn’t the only one worth celebrating.  When you hit a short-term checkpoint, get pumped!

Go get drinks with friends, get a massage, splurge on a fancy meal…do something that brings you joy!

These smaller goals also keep you on track and excited about your larger goal.

Write them down…every single day.

I know, it sounds super cheesy.

At least I thought so…until I actually tried it.

I was at a company-wide meeting, asking a fellow sales professional (who has achieved a major goal I want to achieve) what it was that changed her business.

When she told me the difference was in writing down her goals every morning, I thought “REALLY? You’ve gotta be kidding me!” while inwardly rolling my eyes.

But, hey, what did I have to lose?

I tried it and have been writing down my goals every single morning for about 4 months now, and it has changed my life.

Yep, its magic.

Not really, but keeping your goals at the forefront of your mind and reminding yourself of them daily really impacts your smaller actions.

It impacts how you react to situations, how you carry yourself, what you think of when you want to head to Happy Hour with your friends and leave work early.

For me, writing down my goals has led to consistency in sales and also in my attitude.

It’s a constant reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Go get ’em!

Seriously, I know it seems like unicorns and rainbows.

But I urge you to try all of these strategies out for just a month and let me know if anything changes for you.

My guess is you’ll feel better about yourself and be hitting goals left and right.

Happy goal-hunting, friends!