In a perfect world, reaching the halfway point of 2012 would mean that we were halfway through our 2012 goals, right?
But what about if you’re someone who constantly struggles with achieving your goals? Do you know what’s standing in your way?
Do you think your goals are just too big to accomplish?
Do you feel you have bad luck?
Or is it that you just didn’t “want it” bad enough?
I highly doubt it’s any of these. In fact, I would argue that the greatest problem that’s been preventing you from accomplishing your biggest goals is that you’re not thinking small enough.
Yes, you read it correctly: You aren’t thinking SMALL enough.
Goal Setting 101
When it comes to setting goals, there’s no shortage of books, blueprints, gurus and seminars that offer guaranteed results for making your wildest dreams come true.
While the names of the programs may change, they typically follow the same path and process below.
1. Decide what you want
2. Proclaim your dream to your friends and family
3. Set a deadline
4. Break down the goal into smaller steps
5. Identify someone who’s accomplished a similar goal and model their attitude and belief system
6. Believe it’s possible
7. Take massive action
8. Repeat steps 6 & 7 every day
Now there’s nothing wrong with these steps – the steps work. The problem lies in believing that the goals we set are even possible.
Belief is like a muscle; unless it’s developed it remains weak, small and basically useless.
So when we set large goals, we are requiring ourselves to also have an equally large belief system to support it. It doesn’t matter how much we “want it” or how much we “proclaim it” – all that matters is how much we BELIEVE it. It’s this true belief that affects all of our actions.
Big Goals + Small Belief =
1. We set a BIG goal (usually the same goal we’ve been promising ourselves for years)
2. We tell ourselves “I just need to get more motivated” or “I’ve really got to want it this time”
3. We map out what we need to do
4. We take a couple steps…
5. Then SPLAT! We face our first trial or miss our first deadline and spiral off course
Without fail, circumstances seem to pop up out of nowhere. Friends call us with last minute plans, we end up splurging on that late night ice cream, our computer crashes or we find ourselves struggling to keep up with the weekly set of to-do’s we’ve set up for ourselves. This of course leads to guilt, which then shifts to the feeling that it’s a “sign” of some sort – that it’s “not the right time” or “I’ll start again next Monday”.
Unfortunately this kind of thinking can quickly turn a passionate and motivated person into a disillusioned goal setter who finds his or herself setting the same goals year after year, but only producing more disappointment.
So what’s the solution?
Start thinking small!
The Power of thinking SMALL
I began this article with the promise of offering a small solution for a big problem.
We discussed how the traditional method for goal setting works, but is limited by the size of belief someone has in accomplishing that goal. So with that in mind I’ve come up with following solution.
Start with a small goal. I’m talking SUPER small.
This is completely different than breaking a goal down into smaller pieces – I’m asking you to make a small goal.
· If your goal is to “lose 50 lbs”- turn it into “eat one healthy breakfast this week.”
· If your goal is to “start a business” – change it to “interview one business owner.”
Once again, I’m not asking you to break your large goal into small steps – I’m asking you to make a smaller goal. It doesn’t even matter if they’re unrelated to your big goal or dream – just start knocking down goals.
The reasoning behind this is quite simple. You need momentum, and nothing builds momentum like getting a few wins under your belt.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about thinking big and having big dreams, but I also understand the need for momentum and confidence. Accomplishing a goal is a lot better than taking a step, especially for someone who has not been in business of large goal setting and achieving.
The purpose of these smaller goals is not to get you closer to your goal, but to develop the skill of belief. The belief that you can accomplish goals – not steps.
Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.
Six months prior to hosting my first Webinar in 2009, I set a goal to deliver ONE good speech in front of an audience without trembling behind a podium (my first year of public speaking was terrifying for me!). My goal was not to start a 7-figure business.
With that goal in mind I joined Toastmasters in order to get comfortable speaking in front of people. I cringe when I think of those first few speeches, but by the time I got to my 10th speech I received my first standing ovation. That was the “win” that gave me the momentum and confidence to begin teaching the LinkedIn strategies I already knew.
Goal Setting 101 (Revised)
So here’s how the amended goal setting path should look.
1. Review all of the goals you’ve set in the past, but did not accomplish.
2. Identify ONE goal from that list that you’d still like to accomplish
3. Boil it down to a smaller goal – one that you can accomplish in 3-7 days
4. Take action and complete it.
5. Pick another small goal
6. Get it done
7. Do this until you’ve got 3-5 completed goals under your belt. Each of which are a little bigger than the one before it.
8. Go after your big goal
It’s much easier to start moving up a large hill with momentum and the same goes for achieving large goals.
Also remember that true motivation is the result of momentum – it’s a gift. You don’t have to spend money to get motivated, you simply need to get moving.
Keep this one SMALL fact in mind
Remember, I didn’t set out to start a 7-figure business. I simply began doing something to make a few hundred bucks and pay my rent.
That “something” then turned into something else, which then began to gather momentum and then grew into the business I now have today.
I do have BIG goals for my business and life, but that’s only because I’ve got the momentum that gives me the confidence that I can reach them.
Whatever your big dreams or goals are, I challenge you to put them aside for one moment. Go out there and get a few wins under your belt, then take that momentum and go make it happen.
Lewis Howes is the author of The Ultimate Webinar Marketing Guide and LinkedWorking. Learn more about how to grow your business through online marketing strategies by signing up for his newsletter at www.lewishowes.com.