Stay on track (or get back on track!) with your goals
Setting goals is exciting, isn’t it? There’s a thrill, a rush. Research says you actually release endorphins when you set goals because you picture the results and it makes you happy. Crushing your goals is really great too. Obviously. But it’s somewhere between the start line and finish line that really gets us. It can be so frustrating. This is where most people get discouraged and sometimes give up.
Step One: Set Goals that connect your head & heart
As a therapist, my job is to help people reach their goals. Earlier I shared a secret recipe for your 2019 goals to help create meaning and instant satisfaction. The trick is to connect your head with your heart. Here’s what I mean. Your head is very clear with what it wants (new kitchen, promotion, another child, lose weight, etc.). It’s not as clear what our heart wants and we miss this step. What our heart wants is why you want your goals. For example, you may want to lose your baby weight—but, why? Is it because you want to feel more connected with your husband, feel more valued, more respected, do you want to make a difference? There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s just an important (and overlooked) part of setting goals. Spoiler alert: You don’t have to wait to reach your goal to get what your heart really wants.
For me, one of my biggest goals was a bigger home. It took a long time to reach that goal, which was super frustrating and hard. When I realized how long it would take, I challenged myself to dig deeper into my goal. I made myself answer the question why do I want this bigger house? I realized it all boiled down to wanting to connect with friends. I love hosting. I love bringing people together. So, I decided to host a killer annual holiday party right then and there. I started this tradition in my sweet, simple, small home. And, it was a total hit! When I gave the toast at my first party, I cried. I cried because it touched my heart to have so many friends together – and I didn’t have to wait until I had my goal. I work on this idea with clients all the time. It’s cool because it works for anyone, with any goal. It just takes some time to figure out what your heart really wants. Once you connect your head and your heart, you create satisfaction and meaning, which helps to stick to your goals.
Step Two: Use a Simple Tool to Stay on Track (or get back on track!)
Today, I’d like to share a critical tool I use to keep you on track with those goals. It’s a principle called, the invisible result. This principle is from Jeff Olson in his book, “The Slight Edge.” He is a genius that has made millions over and over again. One of the reasons why he creates success in a predictable way is because he understands this principle.
Jeff says, “The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is in the simple choices they make everyday. Successful people take simple and positive actions that are repeated over time. Unsuccessful people do the exact opposite: they make simple errors in judgment that are repeated over time.”
You already know what you need to do to live a great life and be successful. It’s not the knowledge that’s a problem. It’s the doing it that is the problem. It just takes simple, positive actions taken over time. But, why is it so easy to give up on our goals then? Why isn’t everyone healthy, wealthy with warm relationships? It is because most people are not aware of the invisible result.
For example, if you eat healthy and exercise today and tomorrow you step on the scale and see no difference. Maybe you even gain a pound. Maybe you even do this for a month or two and don’t see results. This is when most people will tell themselves it’s not working and not worth the effort. But that is a lie! If you don’t see results, you need to apply more time. If you eat healthy and take care of your body every day for an entire year—you will see results. This works for any goal. Apply consistent effort, small steps, over time and you will see results. Period.
What it takes to be successful, happy and healthy is just takes simple easy actions. The problem is that these things are easy to do, but they’re also easy not to do. If you decide to skip working out one day, you don’t drop dead of a heart attack. Neither will you if you eat a big burger. But, if you do these simple errors over time, it will impact your health. The results—good or bad—are invisible for a while, but after time they will show up.
A Lesson From Trees
Nature knows this. The biggest trees on the planet start as just a tiny seed in the ground. It takes a long time before they even sprout above the earth. They just keep growing until it is a breathtaking, full-grown tree. The tree doesn’t get discouraged. The tree doesn’t take a month off. The tree doesn’t decide it’s not worth it and quit. The tree just simply grows a little bit more each day. We just need to be like our tree friends.
The Slight Edge is an idea that every little thing you do is either moving you toward your goals or away from them. There is no in between.
When you feel discouraged, because that’s part of the process, remind yourself results take time. Think of our friend the tree. If you take a tiny step toward your goal, it does make a difference, even if you don’t see it. If you are off track, all you have to do is take one step toward your goal today. And, do it tomorrow. Just get started.