How often do you sit down with a blank piece of paper to set goals and really struggle to know what to write?
Well, you’re NOT alone.
I hear this so often, but without setting intention on what we want to do with our beautiful lives, we’re often buffeted and nudged in different directions by people, circumstances or opportunities that happen to be around us.
Or… we feel we’re not travelling forward as we pootle around in the same place.
Setting YOUR goals is one of the most powerful things you can do to start shifting your mindset and being articulate about what you really want – goals with heart, that come from what you most passionately want to create, be and have in your life.
That’s exactly what I’m covering in today’s post, with 3 different ways to help you set your intentional goals – and, even better, take action on them! You'll find your FREE worksheet guide right here.
Dive on in to the video above - or you'll find the transcript below.
I had a really honest conversation with someone recently and we talked about setting goals. She said something that resonated with me – that she found it very difficult to actually set goals.
She knew the goals that she’s supposed to be setting. The SMART goals (the Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely ones), but it always just felt a little bit like paying lip service to them, especially in business.
And… a little bit of guilt would creep in, she’d ask herself, ‘Who am I to be setting these goals?’
Does that sound familiar to you too?
Well, I think SMART goals are great and they have a place, but they don’t actually help you work out what’s in your heart in the first place. That’s what I want to help you with today.
Don't forget, you also have a FREE worksheet to help you work through these steps yourself, and decide which goals you want to take forwards.
Well (rocket science alert!), it’s about articulating what you want.
I know when I first tried to do this, back when I left corporate, I found it so difficult. I wasn’t used to asking myself the question, “What do I really want?”
I’d defer things like,
“What do you want to do this weekend?”
“We could do this or this, I don’t mind. It’s up to you.”
“What movie do you want to watch?”
“I fancy this or this. It’s up to you.”
This idea of being assertive and saying “This is what I want” was alien to me.
Now, with a bit of practise, that muscle has been exercised! I’m much more articulate and clear in my own mind about what I want.
It’s not to say you become annoying to other people about it, but having clarity in your own mind about what you want, rather than deferring to other people is a vital skill for all of us to have.
A few years ago, I was in a business accelerator program and we’d been talking about visioning and were set the task of writing down what our goals were – where we wanted to be in five, ten years time.
I could see the house.
The house was absolutely stunning, gorgeous, floor to ceiling glass windows, views over the ocean, amazing little dog running around in the garden. I loved it.
I could see the house, I could see the wee dog.
My husband was there – which is good! – but I really struggled beyond that. I struggled to put in goals about my business. I could say I’d love to travel more or go out and do more things, work fewer hours…
But I struggled to articulate what I wanted with my business and other aspects of my life.
If you find this is you, I’ve got a few key tips to help you articulate those for yourself.
Imagine that you were to wake up in the morning and you’re about to have your perfect day – everything you could dream of.
Don’t worry about limitations around money, location, time – none of that matters. It’s all possible for you.
What would that perfect day look like?
This is such a lovely visioning exercise to do – just start writing and see what comes out… you might be surprised!
Another way – if you find it difficult to vision a different way of being to how life is now – is to look at what you would upgrade.
Think of all aspects of your life – would you love some of them to upgrade a level or two?
For example, think about your home – are you happy with it as it is? Or are you actually thinking, ‘Do you know what? I really would love to have a garden’ or ‘I’d love to be in this location’ – just make a note of those thoughts.
What are relationships like? Are there any relationships you wish you could change in any way?
What’s your business like? Is your business supporting you the way you want it to? Are you getting enough time off from your business or do you feel like it’s running you?
What experiences do you want to have? What things would you love to go and do, or what things would you like to have? Would you love a new car? A new kitchen? All these things, just get them down.
Don’t have any shame whatsoever in writing down what’s in your heart – you don’t need to share this list with anyone if it feels weird to do this!
Another key way to recognise the things you’d love to upgrade is to look at what niggles or annoys you. If something’s frustrating you, what’s the improved version? It could be the lamp you keep meaning to get fixed, it could be the work tasks you’d love to give to a virtual assistant, it could be the product or service you’re ready to let go of… How could those niggles be taken away from you?
We often take our understanding of what we’re capable of and what life could look like either from what we’ve grown up around, or what our current experience of life is.
If you’ve grown up in a situation, stayed in that situation, you’ll probably think that that is what life is like.
It creates a glass ceiling for you, because anything beyond that seems alien to you. It’s difficult to imagine that really being your life.
One of the key ways to break through the glass ceiling is to start looking for role models who really resonate with you, who’ve taken those steps to where you would like to be.
It could be Michelle Obama, it could be J.K. Rowling, it could be Melinda Gates.
Think about the kind of people or women that you most look up to and admire and think, ‘Do you know what? I love what they’re doing’ – either what they’re doing or what they have.
A really good way to normalize that kind of lifestyle, that way of being in the world, is learn more about them – follow their Instagram accounts, read their biographies.
Just get yourself immersed in understanding that there’s a different way that life can be, so that it feels more normalised for you to imagine moving through your glass ceiling (it’s different for all of us) to the next level for you.
Brainstorm all of this and then we’ll select three to five things that you’re passionate about and run them through the ‘Don’t be SMART, be JAMmy’ filter!
I mentioned earlier the ‘SMART’ questions that are often used for goal setting – they do have their place in the world, but what I keep hearing from clients is that those last two, the Realistic and Timely, are real stumbling blocks for people.
If you’re setting big vision goals, the things you dream of doing – but they’re not your experience of the world yet, and maybe you don’t know anyone who’s done those things – making them seem Realistic to you can be a challenge.
You can hit a mental block, thinking ‘Who am I kidding? There’s no way I can do this, I don’t know anybody else that’s done that!’
That’s not true, by the way, but we’ll come to that in a later video!
The second stumbling block is Timely.
If you’ve got your big vision dream and it’s completely outside your own experience of the world, how would you know if it’s going to take you three to six months or three years?
It’s hard to put quantities on those two, and it can feel like you’re setting yourself up to fail.
So instead of SMART goals, I’m going to encourage you to have JAMS goals and run your ideas through these filters – that’s how you can be ‘jammy’.
The first filter is, does this goal bring you Joy? Does it light you up, does it excite you?
Because if you’re going to be doing something that’s a challenge, that’s a stretch for you, there are going to be times where you’ll feel resistance or frustration – or things just aren’t going your way – and you need something to pull you through that.
Your goals need to really excite you and light you up.
The second filter is Achievable, and I am borrowing that one from the original SMARTs acronym.
The achievable question is ‘Can it be done’?
Now where I want you to be crystal clear here, is that we mean, ‘has it been done by another human being?’
Not, ‘Can it be done by me?’, because you may have some mindset blocks in there stopping you from moving forward, but if you can see someone else is doing it, and it is possible to do, then it’s very likely achievable.
If you say you want to have real wings and fly, we might be struggling a little bit here, but if you can see that someone else has done it – then yes, it’s probably achievable for you.
Again, I confess I’m borrowing Measurable from the SMART acronym!
Measurable is important, to be able to say, ‘This is my goal and this is what it will look like when I achieve it. I will know definitively I have achieved that goal because…’
(In my case, because I’ll have the keys to this amazing house with floor to ceiling windows looking over the sea).
Think about that for your goal as well – what’s the specific measurable thing that will tell you, ‘yes, I’ve made this happen.’
Then the S at the end of JAMS is Steps – particularly, next steps.
Instead of you thinking, ‘Here’s this big, crazy, impossible goal and it’s just not achievable for me,’ what I would like you think is, ‘How can I get there? What’s the next steps that will take me on the path towards this?’.
Next Steps is something that I encourage you to look at every week.
You decide your big goals, you have them somewhere nice and prominent as remainder of what you’re working towards all the time.
And then on a weekly basis you look at your task list and say to yourself, ‘What’s the next steps to take me forward here? What are the next things I need to do?’
That’ll help you keep in lane and on track towards those goals.
(And when all those nice little ‘Squirrel!’ things pop up (you know, like Dug the Dog in the film ‘Up’) and your attention is grabbed a new shiny thing over there, you can ask yourself, ‘Okay, does this fit in with the goals I already have? If they don’t, are they better than the goals I already have – or are they a distraction?’).
Don’t leave this as a ‘nice to do, someday’… Take action and you’ll have a really powerful list to propel you forward.
I can’t wait to hear what this uncovers for you! You’ll find your FREE workbook to go through all these steps here.
If you’d like my support to help you put in a strategy and take action to grow your business, you find out more about working with me here.