Effective goal setting is the fundamental key to success and a really cool way to experience the power of your imagination, to practice visualisation and design your own future. Winging it is cool, it’s fun, I do it a lot (I’m not gonna pretend like I don’t) but you can really create magic when you start intentionally giving yourself objectives and purpose, when you start designing, building foundations and dimensions for the fulfilling life you want you want to live. I love setting aside time once or twice a year to really visualise and lay down the building blocks to help me grow, expand and push myself to transform.
Sometimes, setting goals for your life across a whole year (and beyond) can be a bit daunting, and that can create mind blocks, rather than getting excited by envisioning the future. Maybe you know what you want, but you’re worried that goal is too big, and you’re already developing limiting beliefs around them… perhaps you’ve tried setting goals in the past but you’ve struggled to follow through with them and that’s deterred you a little….
That’s why I’m sharing my breakdown on how to set goals and make them happen! (Spoiler alert! We’re not just setting goals, there’s a whole other mix of ingredients that go into this recipe of goal smashing success).
Taking the time to get quiet is something we do not do enough in this busy world. We can get caught up in this idea of just being ‘busy’, but oftentimes we can be so busy being busy that we forget to check in on whether we’re still being busy in the right direction, or busy doing things that actually align with our own unique values and desires! Are the activities you’re engaging in moving you towards your goals? Are your goals even still the same? Have you already met them but, rather than acknowledging that, you’re just bulldozing a little mindlessly into the next?
Before you even begin to set goals for the year ahead, it’s important to make time to reflect on, celebrate and be grateful for what you’ve already achieved and how you’ve grown in the season just gone! It can be so easy to get caught up in moving forward and the future that we forget to be present, or even stop to acknowledge how much we’ve already accomplished. Whether that’s growing in confidence, how you’ve helped others, or booking clients, your fondest memories, people you’re grateful for or what you’ve outgrown. Taking time to acknowledge and reflect on your these things is important not just for celebrating you, but also to help motivate and give more confidence to your future self.
So take time to get quiet, reflect, write down and celebrate your wins. Next, find that quiet again, ready to visualise your future.
Like with anything, if there’s too much going on, it can be hard to consume or create. Setting goals is the same, it’s far easier to initiate relevant and manageable goals when your life is broken down into bitesize categories. I break it down into these:
Next, look at each one and decide whether if that area of your life needs more attention, if you want improvement or growth there, if you could be happier from nurturing one a little more.
**I usually go through each one and break them down further into sub-categories if I need to, for example:
The best, and arguably only, way to decide what we want in the future and how we’ll might get there is to first know where we are right now. So really evaluate and reflect on each one of the categories, how do you feel about them right now? You can even give them a rating out of 10 if that’s how you roll. Where do you want them to be, how can you make them better, or more aligned with your values? What do you need to make happen to be happier, proud of yourself, or create a better life for yourself, with each category by the end of the year?
Now you’ve visualised where you want to be, it’s time to set goals to get there. When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you; that they are important to you, inspire you and are believable for you. They need to be relevant to the direction you want your life to go and have value in achieving them.
You should really know your ‘why’ behind every goal, reasons come before answers, so ask yourself why. Goals should also be clear and well defined: “S.M.A.R.T.” - Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based). Generalized goals don’t provide much direction, so be sure to give measurable properties where you can, such as dates, or figures to give yourself an idea of what to aim for, and measure your degree of success.
For example, if your goal is ‘I want to write a book’, how do you know exactly what to aim for? Something more specific like ‘I will write a book about Facebook Ads, which is a minimum of 150 pages, and the manuscript will be complete, ready for me to look into self-publishing in 6 months time (date marked)’ is going to be way more lucrative for you. If your goal is just “to reduce expenses” how will you know when you have been successful? The clearer, the better.
Goal setting is more than merely saying you want something to happen. Goals become reality when you set your intentions on the actions you’ll take to achieve them - I think many people don’t think to do this, but setting intentions is an important part of accomplishing your goals. They will act as a road map to help you reach your goals, help you show up as your best self and create good habits… and good habits can change your life!
Intentions will also help to take your mind away from thoughts of limitations, or the feeling of lack (which sometimes goals alone can create, when you’re so hyper focused on an end result) and instead onto enjoying the journey.
For example you may have set a self-esteem related goal ie ‘Release negative past conditioning and be the best version of myself’ - there is no waayyyy that’s going to be an overnight thing, that goal might even take years, but an intention such as, ‘I intend to notice negative self-talk and replace it with self-acceptance’ will create relevant habits to help you on your way, and meanwhile inspire comfort in the journey.
To set intentions, ask yourself questions like ‘What can I do to live in alignment with my goal?’, ‘How will I do it, and when?, ‘What do I need to learn?’, ‘What habits do I need to begin…?’’ Intentions give purpose, in the present moment and purpose will always provide motivation.
Straight away, the physical act of writing down a goal makes it feel more real and tangible. Having them written down also makes them less likely to slip your mind, but even better, put your goals in visible places to remind yourself every day of what it is you intend to do! Stick them on your walls, computer monitor, mirror or fridge to constantly remind and motivate you, create a vision board or a cool phone wallpaper with your goal on it - having your goals visible will always ensure you’re on track with your pursuit, and when you can tick them off, that’s even more satisfying!
Bonus points if you write goals as or with affirmations IE ‘I will travel more sustainably’ as opposed to ‘I’d like to travel more sustainably.’
If you’re written a metric sh*t tonne of goals, like I always end up doing, then prioritising one or two goals to really focus on at a time is going to be a smart move to make goal smashing far more achievable and motivating for you.
The order of priority can be determined by many things, perhaps you want to focus on the short term ones first, perhaps you need to look at them chronologically because you can’t achieve one without the other first, maybe you’re more excited about one… Which are most important? Which are most feasible? Which would you love to do the most? Which are short term, long term and life time goals? Organise them in the order you will actually try to attain them. Putting a big tick next to one goal after 2 months is far more encouraging than zero ticks next to any, that you’re only a quarter-way through, after 6 months.
Whether it’s in a fortnight’s time, one month, three months or six months, it’s vital to check back in on your progress with your goals. We’re looping back to step one now, on the importance of making time to get quiet and reflect, because it really is an important part of achieving your goals. Why?
1. To celebrate the progress you’ve made and any goals you’ve met (the ultimate self-encouragement and motivation to keep going, when you see what you’re already capable of you’ll believe in yourself more for the bigger ones)
2. Sometimes we can fall off track, and forget our focus or ‘why’… or maybe you’ve grown and you need to change your intentions or action plan in a new season for a longer term goal, so you can continue pursuing it in an effective way.
3. Make sure the goal is still relevant, necessary and valuable.
4. Good for self accountability
I’ve not done this before, but I know I can often slip into moments of self doubt and imposters syndrome, so this season of goal setting I’m going to leave little notes for myself to remind me of my ‘why’ or how I’m capable, and I encourage you to do the same, perhaps for any goals you can feel limiting beliefs lurking around.
For example ‘I can book _____ client, because I’ve booked these 3 big clients in the past…’; or ‘I am a worthy photographer because I am supported by ______ and ______ who I look up to.’ Or an example of a ‘why’ could be ‘That promotion will give me the financial comfort I desire’
This is the ultimate guide to goal setting, from visualisation through to everything you need to successfully accomplish your goals. Stay on track, but also don’t put too much pressure on yourself… I love goal and intention setting, but I’ve never been a heavy planner, too much planning weirds me out. Oftentimes, some of our best experiences and career moments are the ones when we’re open to all opportunities… remember that conversation with that one random stranger you met in the train station, which led to that event that led to that amazing and unexpected gig? With so much more access, flow and opportunity in this modern day world, it’s an amazing time to be open to the flux.
Go get ‘em!!
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