Growing up, I never had a problem being self-motivated. I was one of those kids that liked the challenge of completing a task and enjoyed working hard to attain a goal. After college, my over-achieving tendencies followed me straight to Los Angeles where I worked in the mecca of type-A personalities, the Entertainment industry. When I decided to leave and follow my true passion, starting my own fitness business, I continued to work hard to build a brand that I was proud of. However, I began to notice how challenging it was to not have structure. I didn’t have a teacher, my parents, or a boss telling me what had to be done. Even though I had a steady flow of clients and taught classes at several studios, I started to feel stuck. I didn’t feel like I was moving towards anything. I realized how much I had relied on that extra pressure, that person to please to find my own self-motivation. It wasn’t until I met with a friend to chat about goal setting that I realized what I was lacking.
As we started talking, I recognized two important things:
*I WASN’T WRITING MY LONG-TERM GOALS DOWN.
*I WASN’T ALLOWING MYSELF TO SET GOALS THAT MADE ME FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE OR THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY LEAD TO FAILURE.
After these realizations, it reinforced that I didn’t actually need someone else to direct me, I just needed the proper system to inspire me and hold myself accountable. I also needed to put aside my perfectionistic tendencies and be okay with failing every once in a while.
As I started visualizing what I wanted out of my life and writing it down, I felt like my old over-achieving self again. I was excited, and life no longer seemed so mundane. I felt more clear-minded and focused and less overwhelmed with how I was going to achieve those long-term aspirations. I was ready to conquer the world one goal at a time!
Here are FIVE EASY STEPS to get you started on your way to setting goals that will lead you to your most fulfilling life!
FINDING BALANCE: We’ve all heard of those people that have an incredibly successful career, but have been divorced four times. It’s important to find a balance in ALL aspects of your life when it comes to goal setting. Don’t just focus on your career, focus on your mental and physical health as well as your relationships and personal aspirations as a human being. That’s going to lead to your most fulfilling self.
START BIG, go small: Start with a large goal that might take you a decade or so to achieve. That goal might seem overwhelming or unattainable, but if you set several smaller goals to reach that scary one, it doesn’t seem quite as foreboding.
LESS IS MORE: It’s proven that setting around 2-3 long-term goals in each area of your life is better than setting a laundry list of different goals. You can then add-in the same amount of short-term goals that will get you closer to those bigger ones. It’s even good to write out a clear vision of where you want to be in 5 or 10 years so that you can visualize precisely what will bring you the most fulfillment and happiness. Remember, there will be bumps, challenges and changes along the way, but that’s what keeps it interesting!
PLAY IT S.M.A.R.T: This acronym is a great reference tool when writing out your goals.
- SPECIFIC: Be as precise and concise as possible.
- MEASUREABLE: You should be able to track your progress and measure the outcome.
- ATTAINABLE: Make sure you’re setting realistic goals that you can attain based on your individual capabilities.
- RELEVANT: Identify goals that are most important to your definition of success and happiness.
- TIME-BOUND: Write a specific by-when date to create a sense of urgency and importance.
EMBRACE FAILURE: As Albert Einstein notably said, “You never fail until you stop trying.” Failure is not something any of us likes, but it’s something that will make us stronger in the long run. It will make success that much sweeter when it’s attained. Just imagine if Steve Jobs would have quit after his first time attempting to build a computer. Even Thomas Edison joked about the difficulties he encountered when inventing a better light bulb saying, “I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand different ways that won’t work.” Another positive outcome of failure is realizing you might not actually want the goal you initially set. Not achieving that goal allows us to evaluate what we were going towards, or how we were going about getting there. It could be the end goal that needs revising, or it could be the approach we were taking.