I’ve been deep into building my first course – but I sent the (very abbreviated) version of this post as an email to my list, and I wanted to expand upon it and get it out there for people, because y’all need to hear this. I’m going to tell you why goals are worthless and what to do instead of setting goals.
Why Goals Are Worthless
We’re at that time of year when, in between all the holly jolly holiday stuff, we’re told we need to be setting our goals for the new year – this has been especially true as a business owner, although as a mom, I haven’t been immune to it either.
Don’t get me wrong – I love Christmas and the holiday season in general. It just strikes me as odd that the busiest month of the year is also the one where we’re expected to sit down and be introspective, and think about what we’ve accomplished this year, and what we want to accomplish next year. I find it hard to sit down and review my year when I’m trying to figure out what to do for Christmas presents, where do we have to be and when, do we have the money for a fun family trip, should I make cookies with my kids even though we’re supposed to be staying low carb? But then I’m supposed to sit down and plan out my entire year and figure out what goals I want to achieve in the next twelve months?
But it occurred to me the other day that goals are worthless. It’s nice to say you want to do (x) or achieve (y). But all the cutesy “word of the year” stuff? All the stuff about what you want to achieve, the marks you want to hit? They’re useless – unless you’re putting in the work every day to back them up.
So you want to run a 5K? Cool. But unless you’re tying on your shoes and pulling on a sports bra and heading out the door to go check out the pavement in your neighborhood, that means nothing.
You want to be more organized? If you aren’t filling boxes and bags with the stuff you don’t need, or finding systems that work with the way your brain works (hellllooooo, ADHD), you might as well want to sprout wings.
Goals are only helpful if you’re consistently putting in the work to back them up.
What To Do Instead of Setting Goals
So if goals are worthless, what do I do instead?
You start living the life you want.
It’s one part affirmations, one part “fake it till you make it.”
You don’t want to be an organized person – you are an organized person.
You don’t want to be a runner – you are a runner.
Instead of setting goals, I’m looking at who do I want to be in a year’s time? How is that different from who I am now? How do the decisions I make today impact my ability to be that person one year from now?
Here’s an exercise for you – envision your life one year from today. What does it look like? What are you doing that could craft that life?
Write out your description. Review it every month or so. Remind yourself of who you want to be.
It may be hard to figure everything out – after all, a year from today, some people will have infants (some people will have newborns who haven’t even been conceived yet). Maybe someone in your family will be dealing with an illness or not be there anymore. Maybe your spouse will be unexpectedly fired – or receive a promotion, or be working a different job altogether. So this is more of a guideline than a strict roadmap.
How to Envision Yourself
- There needs to be an element of reasonability with your envisioning of your future self. One of my personal goals a year from now is to make $2,000 a month. Totally reasonable. Making a six-figure income? That’s not as likely to happen though (at least, not this year).
- Consider the circumstances you know will happen in the next year. In my family, we’ll have an eight-year-old in third grade and a two-year-old. We’ll need to purchase a new vehicle. I have things I want to do with my businesses. I have things I want to do with my home. Maybe this is the year I’m finally a person who paints her bathroom!
- On that note – take your whole life into account. What will your home look like? How about your financial life? What will you do in your free time? What will your spiritual life look like? Are there any changes in your relationships?
- Make sure things are achievable. If you’re a hundred pounds overweight, could you lose it all in a year? Yes – but it takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work. Some things just take more than a year – and that’s okay. Your future self will still get there.
Now – if you can envision your future self, and you really want to implement some goals, feel free! In fact, if you look in my resource library, I’ve got an awesome goal planning guide (the Audacious Goals Planner).
Goals aren’t bad – you just need to put in the work to achieve them. Putting that work in to be the person you want to be is a bit of a shortcut. The story you tell yourself is powerful – so tell yourself something amazing for the next year.
What sort of person do you want to be in this next year?