As we enter into a new year, millions of people all over the world are looking at their goals for the year. Some for the first time, others have been planned for months. Goals of all different shapes and sizes.
But one thing’s for sure. Most are approaching goal setting and reviewing from a deeply flawed foundation, and then wondering why their goals feel heavy and limiting. Well, I’m here to break it to you. Most of the world has goal setting all wrong. They come at planning out their months, years, decades even from a space of “Well, I SHOULD make X a goal” or “Y seems realistic and achievable, so I’ll set that as a goal” or “I’ll be enough when I’ve achieved Z, so I must achieve it whatever it takes!”
Now, don’t panic if this is you, we’ve all been there, but it’s not too late to make amends. Here are six top tips for ensuring your 2019 goals are meaningful, relevant and genuinely expansive and nourishing for you.
1. You are enough. You are enough. You are enough.
Pssst – you’re already enough. Of course you have big goals, you’re a high achiever. But just know that while sometimes your brain may come up with thoughts to the contrary (it’s just what high performing brains do), you’re already enough. Plan what you want to achieve from that space. That of course, it’s natural to want to do and be more. But you’re already enough.
2. Don’t even think about deciding on your goals based on what you think is realistic, or should do (nor what anyone else is doing).
We all have three brains – head, heart, and gut, and they each have enormous wisdom to bring to the table when making any decision. Tune into your gut and heart and ask what actually feels aligned and exciting for you to achieve this year. It’s important to consult your head brain (the intellectual/rational one, of course), but if you decide on your goals and strategies based purely on your head brain (as we are trained to in traditional education!), it’s a recipe for a boring and/or unidimensional year, at least relative to what you really know is aligned for you and your business this year.
3. If it’s not a Definitely Definitely, make it a no.
Set goals and standards that are genuinely exciting to you, that light a fire in your belly, and if you’re not already, start saying yes to only to things that are a “hell yes!” for you. In all areas — foods, activities, friendships, thoughts, purchases, stuff in your home, everything. Start by making a list of your Definitely Definitely’s (the things in your life that are expansive) and your non-Definitely Definitely’s (the icky things), then the steps you need to take to have more of the former and less of the latter. The expansive things are those that light you up, bring you energy and inspire you, while the icky things will be those that drain, frustrate and/or constrain you. These things have a profound ripple effect. Even if it takes you a while to declutter anything that isn’t a Definitely Definitely, once you have you’ll quickly notice how much simpler and less stressful life feels.
4. Ask yourself what your goals are really about – what’s the goal behind the goal?
For example, if you have a $5M revenue goal for your business, I can guarantee it’s not because you’re really hungry for $5m in cold hard cash. It’s because of what achieving that $5M revenue goal represents to you, and what it will make available to you – both externally in terms of purchasing behaviors, but much more than that – energetically, experientially and socially. For example, it might represent real security for you and your family. Or freedom from having to work with every client that comes your way, or freedom to work only on projects you’re genuinely excited about. Or the ability to travel to your dream destinations. Or you might have a specific home you want to buy in a specific neighborhood. Or you might have a goal to lose (or even gain) a certain amount of weight. Again, know it’s not really about the weight, it’s about that vision you have for what you’re going to be able to do/wear/attract once you’re there. Whatever your specific goals, get honest with yourself about your real why. You’ll feel so much more connected to your goals — and to yourself.
5. Make sure you have goals for each of the areas of life, not just business!
This is a huge one. We are not unidimensional, or even two-dimensional beings. We are multi-faceted with deeply complex requirements, desires, motivations, yearnings and psychology. And without health and happiness, whatever business goals you have are going to feel an awful lot harder to accomplish. Not just that, but you run the risk of burnout which can be very expensive both personally and professionally. To avoid the risk of either psychological or physical burnout, make sure you have goals for not just career/business and finances, but also each of the following areas: health, fun, friends, family, partner/spouse, physical environment, community and spirituality.
Once you’re clear on your goals across these areas, you may want to turn your 360 degree goals into a vision board with specific and clear imagery representing what fulfillment in each area looks like for you. Some people choose to put this in their living room, but you can always put it inside your closet door using double sided tape, if you’re more minimalist or coy. This kind of visual cue is a great way to stay connected to what you’re committed to without revisiting a list, much more easy to relate to, and your brain processes it totally differently (as a physical reality, rather than a list of obligations).
From my work with hundreds of leaders worldwide, I can tell you that leaders who are fulfilled from a 360 degree angle — i.e. not perfectly fulfilled (as if that’s even achievable!), but experiencing fulfillment across the spectrum of life — are those who often perform the best and most sustainably in business. They come at their leadership and business activities from an inspired, inspiring and magnetic space, and this enables them to achieve more with less effort, resistance or stress.
6. Have specific objectives in terms of how you desire to BE.
Who do you know you need to be to meet your goals? Do you need to be a great listener? An inspiring and bold leader? A kind, patient and fun partner? A confident, adventurous and empathetic friend? Having effective ways of being is integral to you accomplishing those tangible goals. Get clear on the characteristics you know you need and want to fulfill on to be your best this year. They might be different for different areas, or you may notice that the same characteristics are pertinent across the board. For example, mine for my partnership, parenthood and business are all the same — loving, playful, curious, patient, kind, adventurous, devoted, protective, open-minded, and flexible. What are yours?
Jaimie is the founder of Definitely Definitely, an organization dedicated to helping leaders consciously create, expand and sustain their dream businesses. She is a certified life, business, wellbeing and leadership coach, and also uses her branding expertise drawn from nine years in corporate marketing with FTSE 100/NYSE listed companies to provide invaluable expertise on messaging and positioning businesses for maximum impact. She was previously with SAP and Thomson Reuters in both London and New York and now lives in Kensington, London and works with clients worldwide.