goal setting

When most people think of the goal setting process, they think of large auspicious goals that tend to occupy a lot of mental and behavioral space. Most of us, when we think of goal setting, think of bigger and more commodious housing, sexier automobiles, vacations, relationships, and any of the other bigger chunks of our lives that we would like to make changes in.

While larger goals are fine and help keep us focused in the direction of our lives’ objective, it really doesn’t hurt to focus on smaller goals; goals that can be accomplished quickly, maybe even in a week.

The two types of 7 day goals you need to set

There are two types of seven day goals that we should set: one is a larger goal broken down into a behavioral step that we can finish this week. By that I mean, if your goal was to lose 50 pounds, your goal this week might be to research gyms. You see what we’ve done here,  we took a larger goal, that of losing 50 pounds, and broken it into actionable steps; the first being to go to several gyms, trying them out and seeing which one we like the best.

The second type of seven day goals is very simple; it revolves around doing something that we know we should do. Let me give you an example. In my face-to-face, multi-week trainings, I asked participants to set a seven-day personal goal. Something small. Something that was bothering them and that they know they can accomplish in seven days. Perhaps it was a disorganized closet or washing the car. The whole idea was to practice the goal setting process, seeing results, and then celebrating your accomplishments.

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

While going around the room and debriefing, one woman in the class said that she did in fact accomplish her goal; it was to remove her Christmas decorations from her ironing board and put them in the closet where they would be stored until next Christmas. I found this to be somewhat amusing since the class was being held April. I asked her where did she do her ironing? She said that she put her clothes in a basket and took them upstairs to the kitchen where she proceeded to iron on the kitchen counter.

I asked her how she felt about looking at that ironing board with the Christmas decorations on it and she said that when she viewed the ironing board, now Christmas decoration storage container, it made her mad or depressed. I asked her a second level question, how long did it take you to put those Christmas decorations in the closet, where they should’ve been for the last four months? She said about 10 minutes. 10 minutes to stop feeling angry or depressed!

Think about the power of goal setting. For four months this woman was feeling emotional overhead every time the visual anchor of the Christmas decorated ironing board was observed. She set a goal to remove the obstacle and in 10 minutes was able to clean her ironing and store it in the necessary location. I asked her how she felt after the ironing board was cleared. With a smile on her face she said, “delighted!” So, a 10 minute behavior, based upon a 7-day goal, transformed her anger/depression into feeling delighted!

As you can see, the power of the whole process is not only apparent in those gigantic chunks of achievement that we want to accomplish, but can also be evidenced in smaller, actionable steps that we can do quickly.

Here’s a couple ideas to move you in the direction of positive goal setting and successful behavior:

1. Set a seven-day business goal and a seven-day personal goal

Everyone has something in their business that they would like to accomplish. Perhaps it’s cleaning out a desk drawer that has for years been a black hole. Perhaps, it’s sorting through the file cabinet purging unnecessary files. Regardless, there is something at work that is most likely anchoring you negative emotional overhead and can be resolved quickly with setting the seven-day goal to change whatever it is. The same thing applies to home. Is there a closet that you’ve been meaning to clean (for several years)? How about that corner of the garage? A room that needs to be painted? Instead of rationalizing why you can’t do it, why not do it?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

2. Don’t only set the goal, schedule it

Put it in your calendar and make it an appointment. That way at the appropriate time you will naturally fall in the habit of action.

3. Stay enthusiastic

Don’t accomplish your goal with drudgery. If you do, you will most likely not set any more goals. Instead, attack your goals with enthusiasm and unbridled abandoned. Because it is that very action that is instilling in you the success attribute of positive goalsetting, one of the strongest behavior modifiers human kind has ever known.

4. At the end of the week analyze your results

What behaviors did you modify to accomplish your goals? What rationalizations did you hold dear that perhaps kept you from accomplishing your goals? Be honest with yourself! Add more of what you should, and delete that which was not helpful.

5. Celebrate your victories

Each small goal is an accomplishment. Each one is a celebration of your successes. While I’m not suggesting a two-week Caribbean cruise for cleaning out your closet, perhaps a pizza for dinner instead of cooking might be in order.

So, there you have it. The idea that all goals do not have to be gigantic, and that small goals are just as important. Success has been defined as the progressive, realization, of worthwhile, predetermined, personal goals. That means that success is based on goal setting and that success is a habit.

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