Goal-setting is a prime lesson in “Personal Productivity 101.” It’s one of the most powerful habits an entrepreneur, salesperson—or really any professional—can have, but too often, goals feel out of reach.
Why is that?
At times, it can feel like creating a puzzle without the picture. What’s realistic? What’s feasible? What both fits with what we are currently doing and sets us down the right path?
As coaches, we use criteria such as the SMART model to analyze our goals. Are they Specific? Measurable? Achievable, Time-bound, and Realistic? Sometimes these criteria can feel limiting, and we end up with smaller goals that don’t really move the needle. How do we dream big? How do we create meaningful goals? Here are four approaches to get out of the rut of goal-setting and begin to realize big dreams for a richer and more satisfying life (and business).
1. Take a Trip to Space
Maximize your goal-setting success by carefully considering the space in which you set your goals.
Physical Space: Find a place that inspires you, that has the right level of distraction and visual appeal. Goal-setting should be wrapped up in a positive experience. Setting goals at your desk at work or at stoplights is unlikely to generate powerful results.
Mental Space: Give yourself ample brain space—free from both digital notifications and mental clutter—to set your goals. Goal-setting is not always a sequential 1-2-3 process. Allow room for shortcuts, sideroads, and pitstops on your journey.
Temporal Space: Block time for goal-setting. Time is precious, yet we give it away to anyone more organized than we are. Time-blocking—wherein you dedicate a chunk of time to a single task to increase your focus—is an often-discussed-yet-seldom-implemented productivity tactic. Don’t rush the goal-setting process!
2. Get Your Dream On
What life do you want to live? What does truly living that life look like? What do you want for yourself, your family, and your community? Often, we put a ceiling on our goals. Why is that?
As children, dreams drive us. As adults, dreams can cause us—and those around us—to feel a little uncomfortable. It’s safer to not go for the big dreams because then you can’t fail. Huge dreams can inspire others—or intimidate them.
Give yourself permission to dream big! You’ll inspire others.
3. Get Unrealistic
Your dreams likely haven’t happened yet, or they would have graduated from dreams to realities. When we want to accomplish something we’ve never done before, it helps to start off a little unrealistic.
Take what you think is a reasonable goal and double it. Could you achieve that with your current actions? Is that still on your current trajectory?
If so, congratulations! You’ve identified a goal that will require a quick trip out of your comfort zone. If not, double it again and check. The objective is not to find a goal that is unachievable, but to create one that requires you to shift your actions to a new level. Level up your goals, level up your actions, and level up your results.
4. Brainstorm First—Then Find Connections
Goal-setting is an art first and a science second. Give yourself room to explore.
While using something like the SMART criteria is a powerful way to finish goal-setting, it’s a terrible way to start it. Start with a blank canvas, not predetermined buckets.
Spend some time brainstorming all possibilities before choosing a path.
We are complicated creatures, and all possible connections are not instantly apparent. Lay everything out and then see how it all connects. While using something like the SMART criteria is a powerful way to finish goal-setting, it’s a terrible way to start it. Start with a blank canvas, not predetermined buckets.
Leveling up your goals will level up your life. Sure, it asks more of you. It takes more creativity, ambiguity, and exploration. But ultimately, you’ll set more powerful goals—goals that will change your view of what’s possible and impact how you interact with the world around you.
If you want a cheerleader to help you on your way to making big changes with proven systems and tools to clear the obstacles in your way, we’d love to talk. Click the button below for a complimentary consultation.