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Goal Setting 101 – What Should I Do Today

Whether you save all of your goal-setting for New Year’s Eve or you come up with new goals every month, you’ve probably experienced the disappointment that comes with missing the mark. One of the major, but perhaps too simple, questions that we often forget when setting grand, wide-reaching goals is this one: “What should I do today?”

No matter how big the goal, you will only ever reach it by working toward it one day at a time. Losing sight of this ever-present fact is the number-one reason why we start feeling overwhelmed. This is when inner resistance starts to kick in, and you might not even notice that you’re subconsciously procrastinating.

Goal Setting 101

To avoid that resistance and all the tension that comes with it, fixating on the end-result alone just won’t work. Always start with that one basic question every morning when you wake up: “What should I do today?” Every time you ask this, it should be like a single step on a long staircase that leads up to your ultimate goal. Keep your eye on each step and your goal may ultimately take care of itself.

Checklist for Setting Goals

There are a few things you should always keep in mind when goal-setting so that you’re not setting yourself up for failure instead of triumph. Keep this short checklist in mind:

  • Choose the right goal for you
  • Pick your goals with a realistic mindset
  • Make sure you have internal and external incentives
  • Keep your eyes on one step at a time

Choosing the Right Goal

The biggest favor that you can do for yourself is to pick the right goal in the first place. This means more than just choosing a worthy goal; it also means choosing that objective for the right reasons.

The human mind is tricky and complex. Sometimes, we might be convinced that we want something, when, deep inside, we actually don’t. For example, maybe you decide to set a goal to be a millionaire, but what you really want isn’t actually that amount of money, it’s the freedom that comes with it.

Sometimes we have to dig deeper to find what the real reasons are behind our apparent desires. Only then can we set a reasonable goal with a path that is aligned with what we truly want. If your goal is to make a seven-figure income because deep inside you want the financial freedom to travel, but your job makes it hard for you to take any time off, then clearly there’s a conflict there. Think in terms of what will actually fulfill you.

Most of Life is About the Journey, Not the Goal

We’ve all heard this said in various ways, but the wisdom shines through in practice. Look inside of yourself and follow the thread of your motivations. Where does that line lead once you get deep? What is that one thing you are inherently motivated to do, even if you’ve never made a penny from it… yet?

A good way to find some clues as to what you really want in life is to ask yourself, “What should I do today?” If what you “should” do on that given day to reach your goal is something that you’d rather not do on a daily basis at all, then you’ve probably chosen the wrong thing. Remember that the peaks and satisfaction that come with reaching a goal may not last long. Most of your time and effort goes into the journey. To have a truly rewarding life, you have to be able to enjoy every step of the way.

Being Realistic

The next sticking point for a lot of people is that they set goals that are unrealistic. You may have a genuinely strong desire to attain a certain goal, but just wanting something isn’t enough. Sometimes goals are so far out of reach that it is futile to set them without laying significant groundwork first.

For instance, let’s say that a friend is 200 lbs. overweight and he or she sets a goal to have defined abs in a few months. Probably, that goal is a bit premature at this point. Even in less extreme cases, many of us find ourselves setting goals appropriate for stages that we just haven’t reached yet. The problem with this is that our mind starts to obsess about likely problems way ahead of time. This is a recipe for getting overwhelmed. Focus on realistic goals that you can achieve in a reasonable time, and then worry about the details as they come.

Building a Network of Incentives

Once you’ve chosen a goal that is ambitious enough to excite and challenge you, but narrow enough to be realistic, you’ll need to start thinking about incentives. What will keep you on track?

It’s important to have a good mix of intrinsic and extrinsic influences. Intrinsic motivation comes from the inside: it’s the joy you get just from working on your goal in and of itself. This is absolutely essential, or else you will almost certainly quit. You cannot run on the steam of external motivation alone, though it is a nice cherry to add on top. Here are some examples of external motivation that you can treat yourself to in order to stay the course, however:

  • Celebrate every major step with a special reward
  • Keep track of all of your progress even if it’s small
  • Make your goal public and enjoy the peer pressure
  • Ask someone more experienced, “What should I do today?”
  • Next, ask that person to keep you accountable to your answer

Look inward to identify triggers that make you procrastinate and try to plan ahead to counter them. Social accountability is a good resource for this. You might even want to join groups of like-minded people who are busy trying to attain your same goal.

One Step at a Time: So, What Should I Do Today?

Remember that all of your progress will occur one step at a time even if those steps pass quickly. Try to enjoy every moment and don’t forget to keep asking yourself, “What should I do today?” This is the mantra that should be playing in your mind. Keep your eyes on what you should do today.

Tips for Success

Once you’re out there and actively trying to achieve your goal, be aware that progress is rarely linear. You will hit obstacles every once in a while that might require you to change strategies. That’s why it’s important to focus on each individual step and not get bogged down by your larger plan. Here are some tips to succeed in the face of change that may cause strategic shifts.

Keep an Open Mind

No one ever stretched their limits by being inflexible. Keep your mind open to possible solutions that you may not have thought of before. Consult with people who have different perspectives from yours and try out some of their “crazy” solutions. You never know what might work.

Prepare to Negotiate With Yourself

When you set that huge goal, you were probably close to a peak state of mind. It’s easy to assume that your future self will keep the same elevated mood and energy levels, but this is unrealistic. There will be a time when you will have to adjust that goal.

For example, maybe your goal is to meditate for 20 minutes every day, but you’re finding that you can barely sit still for10. It might be time to cut yourself some slack and allow yourself to meditate for just 10 minutes! Reducing your workload so that you can do a little bit of that great thing every day is far better than burning yourself out. Sometimes, you don’t need to ask yourself, “What should I do today?” Sometimes you do have to ask, “What can I do today?”

Tell the World or Start Building Support

You can decide to let everyone know about your goal! You’ll be surprised at how resources can magically pop up when people start to learn what you’re striving for. On the other hand, if you don’t have a good support network yet and you think your peers will just discourage you, then it might be reasonable to keep your goal temporarily under wraps. In the meantime, try to find a more supportive peer group. If your friends are too jealous or complacent to help you, then you’ll almost certainly find it harder to achieve your goals.

Getting Started: What Should I Do Today?

Remember that the sooner you get started on your goal, the better. Some planning may be necessary, but don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of using research as a way to procrastinate. This is cleverly called analysis paralysis, and it’s a common way for your brain to trick itself into not leaving its own comfort zone. Instead, make “What should I do today?” your launching pad.

To avoid this, focus on only the next small step toward your goal and don’t bother with the bigger picture when you’re working on the details. Much of the larger plan in your mind will probably change at some point, anyway. It’s much better to get out there, get some experience, and get a realistic feel for what it’s like to work on this goal.

Conclusion

Goal-setting is a great way to help focus your energy and inch you closer to success every day. The problem is that many times the goals we set might be unrealistic or too inflexible, so we find ourselves straying off our paths much too easily. Achievable goals take many factors into account, such as your intrinsic motivation and the external incentives around you. Most importantly of all, remember to keep asking yourself, “What should I do today?” This simple question may bring your focus back into the present moment.

Why You Need to Make a Positive Mindset Your #1 Goal in 2017

Positive Mindset The Key To Success In 2017

Positive thinking written in cursive pinned on a cork board

Since the year’s end will be here before you know it, most people will begin to consider making a new year’s resolution. Personally, I never make any. I think they’re a waste of time and effort. In fact I think resolutions, like many of the parties that typically happen on New Year’s Eve, are for amateurs. It’s estimated that only 8% people who make resolutions are successful at achieving them. Think about it. Millions of resolutions are made at the start of each new year with the same thought given to a bad habit. We know it exists, but we never do anything about it.

There are those who set goals instead of resolutions. These are over achievers. You know who you are. You are likely an entrepreneur or successful business person. You recognize the importance of setting goals and laying out a plan for success. You use the plan to your advantage, like a roadmap takes you to your destination. To you, life isn’t a game. It’s a calculated adventure that more often than not, works in your favor. But even those with the best of intentions are at risk of failing to achieve that which they have set out to do.

Then are also the “in between” people. They are those who may have the grandest of intentions. They may make a declaration to their friends, or on Facebook, or perhaps just to their family or friends that this will be the year they “get that promotion” or “start that business” or perhaps “get back in shape.” Most times, these people (you know who you are) have a goal in mind. They may have a date to reach their goal. They could even have a plan to execute it. But sadly, most of these people will fail in their effort to achieve the goal.

There is of course, one more group of people. They scoff at resolutions. They think of them as water cooler talk and want no part of them. These are people who set and achieve goals with the seaming ease of taking a breath. They set lofty goals that seem unattainable to mere mortals. They hit every goal with the accuracy of an expert sharpshooter.

This begs the question, “How?”

How can you achieve at the same rate as these high performers?

Some may think that these people are different. That they have something within them that no one else possesses. The fact is, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s the easy answer. It’s an answer that takes any responsibility off of us and blames it on circumstance or maybe even genetics.

The problem is that you are looking at it in the wrong direction. You are linking your results to who you are as a person, rather than just the results and then decide you are a failure. Tony Robbins said, “There is no failure, there are only results.”

Wow, this is great news! The problem isn’t you, it’s only your mindset.

Wait a second Bearj, isn’t my mindset part of me?

Well…yes, but it’s not a permanent part of you, because it can be changed. Your mindset is the sum all of your experiences and inputs from birth until now. Your experiences, challenges, and reactions have shaped you into you.

Changing your mindset means you have to change your reaction to the events that take place around you.

For example, while driving, you run out of gas. Your reaction to this determines your mindset and how you feel about the event.

Choice 1: I’m stupid. These things always happen to me. This is a huge inconvenience. How could I let this happen?

Choice 2: I’ll walk to get gas, it will be good exercise. Maybe I’ll have the chance to meet someone new. I’m glad this happened to me and not one of my kids or my wife. What a beautiful day to be outside.

New Mindset New Results

If you think of your mindset as a radio transmitter and a radio receiver, you will understand the importance of mindset and its role in achieving success.

A transmitter sends out a signal in the form of a vibration and whatever is tuned in at the same wavelength will receive that signal. And the reverse is also true. If you are tuned in to a specific wavelength, your will receive any signal that transmits on that wavelength. So if you are tuned into a “woe is me, I can never do anything right” wavelength, then that is what you will receive. However, if you are tuned into a more positive wavelength that will be the signal you receive.

Setting a goal is important, but the real key to achieving your goal is having a rock solid positive mindset that will give you the strength to overcome any obstacle.

The concept is simple to understand, but a little more difficult to achieve.

So, next month, I’ll talk about how you can retrain your mind to begin receiving and sending the right vibrations so you can get what you want and make every goal seem attainable.

Bearj Jehanian is a Maximum Performance Speaker and Trainer. He teaches corporations, sales teams, colleges, universities and networking groups, how get past mindset roadblocks and hurdles and Break Down The Wall to Their Success Zone. You can find him at www.BreakDowntheWall.com/Bearj
 

Time Isn’t The Problem – YOU ARE

I don’t have enough time.

I’m too busy.

If only there were more hours in the day.

I have an old friend who always told me, “I’m so busy I don’t even have enough time to buy a pair of new jeans.” Seriously, he said that to me all the time! At first I believed him. I mean, why wouldn’t I? I don’t know his schedule. I have no idea what is time management to him and what he goes through on a daily basis. So who am I to argue? But I began to notice he said this to me all the time. It was the same complaint about not having enough time to buy a pair of jeans. For a while I thought, “this guy is going to be walking around in nothing but his tighty-whities soon.” It definitely wouldn’t have been a pretty sight!

Man with a clock over his face

I was young and naïve at the time so I would engage him and try reasoning with him, to no avail. I soon realized that this was a “go to” phrase for him – an attention getter. For me it eventually became white noise – sort of. I secretly kept a mental scoreboard of every instance he made that same excuse. He had enough time for everything else and I began to realize that the only thing he needed some extra to purchase was a pair of jeans. Is that possible?

So (after 4 years of hearing the same excuse) the next time he began his sob story about buying jeans, I called him on it. “Are you telling me that for four years you have been so busy that you haven’t had even a moment to purchase a new pair of jeans?” Realizing how absurd he must have been sounding, we both began to laugh.

If this garnished even a small chuckle from you, it’s probably because it resonated with you in some small way. Either because you have made the same kind of “time” excuse, or perhaps you know others who make this sort of lame excuse themselves.

Let me dive a little deeper into the content of the conversations I had with my friend.

  1. Almost every time we spoke, our conversations lasted 45 minutes to more than an hour. (I’m pretty sure I could have purchased several pairs of jeans in an hour.)
  1. His focus on our conversations was on his problem (time) not the solution.
  2. He focused the reason for his problem on everyone else.

I think we all have friends like this. They’re great people, but perhaps a little misdirected. My friend is a great person. One of the best I know. He would do, and has done, anything for me. Understand, this is not about character. It’s about mindset.

It’s likely that anyone this story made you think about, has a negative mindset directed at successful people. They may believe that somehow successful people caught a break in some way; they were born into it; or maybe they’re just disgruntled because they wish to be successful but are unable to capture what it is they want.

Being successful takes time.

Yes it does. But that doesn’t mean you need more time for it to happen. Most people falsely believe that in order to take on a new project or endeavor you need to add time to you day. Let’s again take a look at my friend, for example. He believed he didn’t have time to buy a single pair of jeans. The reality is he did. You know he did and so do I. In fact, subconsciously, even he knew he had time.

Then what is the problem?

Your language, mindset and willingness to accept responsibility for your results will determine the level of success you achieve. Let’s look at these time management tips

Your Language

My friend told himself so many times over again that he was strapped for time, that he began to believe it. Heck, even I believed it at first! There is nothing that sucks the time and energy from you more than you own language. The more you tell yourself what you can’t do, what you don’t have the time for, and the difficulties you will encounter, the more you will feel like a salmon trying to swim upstream but losing. Start by telling yourself what you can do, what you are capable of. You will improve your time management and watch your productivity rise. They should start teaching this in leadership training, as it is a part of time management skills but rarely recognized as such.

Be Solution-Focused, not Problem-Focused

Chalk board Problems and SolutionsSuccessful people are such, because they solve problems. The more problems you solve, the more successful you are. But how can you find solutions if all you focus on are the problems? The more you focus on problems, the more they will be all you see. It becomes a habit. Now is the time to create new habits and replace the old ones. Be a solution oriented person. Find answers not roadblocks. Forget about dead ends, and instead look for new paths. But here is the secret sauce… By focusing on the solution you will direct your language to be more positive and naturally solve your language issues! How cool is that? Spending time focusing on problems steals your time. Instead acknowledge your problem and focus on a solution.

Accept Responsibility for Your Own Results!

The problem with blaming others for your perceived problems is you give away your control. Just as with your language, you will develop the habit of blaming others, your surroundings, or circumstances for your results and when you do that you give away your power to change them. The result of that is that you lose direction in your life. Imagine a rudderless sailboat attempting to navigate the wind and currents with only a sail. There would be nothing to keep it on course, giving the wind and current all the control with the sail having little if any influence at all. Keep you and only you accountable for you success or failure. When you own your results, you will clear you pathway to success!

My Challenge For You!

Buy a small notebook or journal and begin to keep a log of your language. Log how often your make excuses instead of take action. Keep a record of how often you own your results. And list all the solutions you find for any problems you have.

Create Positive Language

Focus on Solutions

Own Your Results

Just like changing the food you eat will change your body shape and physical health, so will the mindset you create change the results you have and the time it takes to get those desired results. Your thoughts created who you are today, so it stands to reason that by changing those thoughts you can become a different person tomorrow.

Bearj Jehanian is a Maximum Performance Speaker and Trainer. He teaches corporations, sales teams, colleges, universities and networking groups, how get past mindset roadblocks and hurdles and Break Down The Wall to Their Success Zone. You can find him at www.BreakDowntheWall.com/Bearj
 

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