I used to think that sitting around, and talking about my future was enough to make it magically materialize, that just having the thought and starting the journey would bring the rest about quickly. It was only years after starting my own business that I realized one key truth … talking about what you’d like to see in your life are just fantasies left on the page if you don’t back it up with action. So how do you ensure that all those beautiful and ambitious goals you set for yourself this year don’t remain dreams on a page? I’m going to walk you through my tested and true 5-step game plan that will give you the tools you need to crush every single goal on your list this year.
STEP ONE | REWIRE THOSE LIMITING BELIEFS
Show me someone who has big dreams but spends their time binge-watching Netflix and I’ll show you someone who is riddled with limiting beliefs and insecurities about what they are capable of accomplishing. Most limiting beliefs reside somewhere in the realm of “I’m powerless to change” and “I don’t have what I need to change.” Trust me, I’ve been there, I’ve felt it, I’ve lived it, and I’ve even been that girl on the couch drowning in episodes of Downton Abbey in an effort to avoid the fear of failure! Think you are limiting beliefs proof? Take a look at the list of some of the most common limiting beliefs below:
- I’m not _______________ enough (skinny/talented/rich/popular/pretty)
- I don’t trust myself
- I need _________ to do _________ (this/that)
- I always fail so why bother trying
- I always quit so why bother starting
- Success if for those people, not me
- They are already doing it, and doing it well, so why should I even try?
Ouch! Just reading that makes me want to crawl under the covers and start Downton Abbey-ing it up! Here’s the problem with limiting beliefs, they hold you back from seeing the great opportunities being presented to you each and every day and more importantly stop you from realizing just how awesome you truly are. I mean how in the hell are you supposed to conquer your dreams if you don’t believe in your own awesomesauce-ness? So how do you do it? How do you turn these dream-crushing thoughts into beliefs that will actually serve your goals? Here’s a trick to get control fast – realize they are just thoughts you’ve developed over time, they aren’t even remotely true and know you can flip them on their ass and rewrite each one to fit the future you want….
“ I can’t do what she does, she’s got something I don’t.”
“ I can do anything I set my mind to, I’m human, she’s human, if she can I can.”
Sure, at first you’ll feel like a donkey, and not quite believe yourself, but if you stick with it, magic will begin to happen and you’ll start believing just how capable you really are.
STEP TWO | THINK BIG
I’m just going to say it… Goals work best if they scare you a little. If saying you’re going to double your income this year doesn’t give you that funky feeling in the pit of your stomach, you probably aren’t dreaming big enough. I mean really, Who wants to achieve mediocrity? Our brains are so smart, they like to be challenged, if you play it safe, you are almost guaranteeing you’ll fall flat on your ass. Lazy goals lead to lazy actions, which lead to lazy results.
A trick I love to play when I’m planning out my year is to ask myself “wouldn’t it be cool if _________ happened by the end of the year?” Whatever I put into that blank space is my ultimate goal for the year, it’s grand, it’s audacious, it gives me butterflies and makes me want to throw up a little bit, but I know if I can conquer that one thing I will have won the battle and feel like She-Ra Princess of Power. Take a look at your goals, and play the “wouldn’t it be cool if ….” game, if your answer doesn’t spark a surge of energy through you, think bigger.
STEP THREE | REVERSE ENGINEER
I used to write all of my goals down on a sheet of paper marked “things I want to do this year” that’s it, just one piece of paper… then I’d sit back and wait for my life to unfold before me. You can’t see me but rest assured my eyes are rolling as I write this because I have no idea how I ever expected to get anywhere with such a vague and directionless “outline”. Luckily, I’ve grown to realize that goals aren’t born from wishful thinking, a glass of wine and a wishy-washy bulleted list of randomness. Goals need structure and systems. Enter reverse engineering -Where you start big and whittle your way down to small tangible, bite-sized steps. Take your big-picture goal (the one that made you want to throw up in step two) and ask yourself what are the four big steps you need to take in order to get there? Those four steps become your quarterly goals. With each of those four steps, take out a page, write the step on the top and brainstorm everything and anything you need to accomplish that step. Isolate the most important items and plug them into your months for the quarter.
This is how it looks:
Goal: Start a blog
- Buy domain
- Get hosting
- Research designs I like
- Design Site
- Write five articles
Now, plug these into your months like this
January Buy a domain, get hosting, research designs I like
February Design site
March Write five articles
Voila! Easy peasy. Now you want to take each month and divide those points into action steps.
In January you might say
Week one Decide on a name for the domain and buy.
Week two Research and get hosting
Week three Research site designs and start a Pinterest board with ideas
Week Four Finish a rough outline of blog site
When you first look at a goal it can seem overwhelming to say “I’m going to start a blog” Your brain races with thousands of things you must do to accomplish your goal, but when to break it down into these totally doable chunks, you can relax and enjoy the process, knowing everything you need to do will get done. Reverse engineering has literally saved me hours of crying into my pillow at night wondering why I can’t accomplish anything, and I hope it does the same for you!
STEP FOUR | PLAN FOR DOWN DAYS
What’s that? You aren’t a robot and have feelings like everyone else on the planet? why, I’m shocked! Seriously though, it’s just not that bright to think that you’ll be able to run at a steady pace all year long without giving yourself a breather. Goals are great, breaking them down into bite-sized chunks? Fabulous. Not scheduling in or allowing for downtime? Goal killer. There will be days that the crapper hits the fan, or days that you feel under the weather, or, you just might wake up in the middle of an existential funk and need some serious self-soothing. I know there have been times when I wake up in the morning and think, all I want to do is watch Downton Abbey (If you’re smelling an obsession, you’re not far off) on those days, I give myself a break, buy some Kernels Popcorn and spend some time with the Crawley’s in my jammies. Just remember down days are just that, “days”, once you’ve had your fill of self-care, plan to jump right back into action and start crushing those goals again.
Another great practice is to schedule in reward days at the end of each quarter. Rewarding yourself for reaching your goals is an amazing way to stay motivated and to keep your spirits high. It’s so easy to have all the gusto of a babe learning to walk in January but to find that same passion in July can seem like a struggle, knowing that a reward is coming for your hard work can really help you say “no” to the friends who are inviting you to that warm, mixed-drink filled patio during summer months.
STEP FIVE | CREATE A NOT-TO-DO-LIST
If you’re thinking no thank you, I’ve got enough lists in my life already! Let me assure you this list is a game-changer. We all have things in our lives that keep us busy but not necessarily productive. Imagine how much more rewarding our lives would be if we rid ourselves of the distractions and menial tasks and instead put our full focus on the things that move us closer to the completion of our goals. What would your life look like in a year if you said no to more waste-of-time’s and yes to things that only served your goals? I don’t know about you but I smell success!
So what kind of things do you put on your not-to-do list? Start monitoring how you spend your time. Spend a few days writing down everything you do at every moment of your day (yes everything, even that cup of coffee in the morning), then review your lists and ask yourself, of the things you’ve written down, which can be automated (like paying bills), Delegated (handed off to someone else ie. maybe your spouse can make dinner a few nights a week), or deleted completely (hour-long phone calls with friends or, your daily habit of 3-hour Netflix sessions).
My not-to-do list has become instrumental in my success, and that’s because I’m human, and just as susceptible to the lure of shiny objects as the next person, I used to think that my creative juices only flowed from 9 am to 4 pm and then my brain was mush, I would shut everything down and spend the rest of the day cleaning my house, watching hours of television and cooking elaborate dinners, all under the misguided idea that my brain couldn’t handle any more creative pursuits for the day, and of course, there was always my trusted fallback, I’ve worked my butt off and I deserve a break dammit! When I started monitoring how I spent my time though, I realized I was riddled with busy work, wasted time and people in my life that didn’t serve my bigger vision. Once I saw that on paper, it was clear I needed a not-to-do list. The beauty of a list like this is that it keeps growing as you do – when you start reaching your goals you’ll find more things you can hand off to others and more things that just don’t fit into your life anymore. So ask yourself, what are things that you can automate, delegate or delete from your life today to make sure you reach your goals?
There you have it, five steps I use to create a rock-solid goal getting year with no excuses. And If one of those goals happen to be new branding, we have a ten-page guide that gives you all the resources you need to create a custom branding you are proud of! I urge you to use these while setting up your blueprint for the year, and remember your mom was totally right, you are special, and you can do anything you put your mind to!
Let me know three things you’ll be putting on your not-to-do list in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!