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A number of years ago, my BFF was traveling with her Dad to a Notre Dame football game. They had the stupid-early flight out of Love Field Airport, and in true Type-A fashion, they arrived to the airport super early to eliminate the chance of missing the flight (they are my people. Anyone who arrives at the airport minutes ahead of final boarding call makes me want to hyperventilate into a bag and die).
As a reward for getting themselves to the airport early (pats self on back) they stopped at Chick-fil-A for some breakfast. One of the many rewards for being a planner.
Now you should know that this was a number of years ago before Chick-fil-A had a multitude of breakfast options. It was basically just the chicken minis. The only decision to be made was how many, and what you wanted to drink. And when it’s 4:30 AM, the only acceptable drink is coffee. This is not a decision that should overly tax your mind.
My friend and her dad are second in line behind a group of women going on some sort of girls’ trip. They all take turns ordering in a totally normal, everyday, not-newsletter-worthy fashion until it was Carla’s turn.
Carla clearly was not ready to be up at the a$$ crack of dawn. She was buried in her phone and completely oblivious to what was going on around her.
Her friends were trying to get her attention so they could complete their order, stop annoying the people behind them, and get the coffee that any traveler awake ahead of 5 AM so DESPERATELY needs.
Carla finally awakens from her stupor. “Oh it’s my turn?!?! Huh, let me see…what do I want….???”””
*1000 minutes pass…everyone grows the ugly kind of impatient that air travel brings out in people*
After an eternity has passed, Carla’s gal-pal in a VERY loud voice exclaims:
“GET YOUR SH*T TOGETHER, CARLA!”
Cue muffled laughter.
This has now become my life-mantra when I (or anyone) needs to get their head out of their phone/rear end and get their sh*t together.
But why am I telling you this now? You are not Carla…or are you?
You see, dear Carla was only focused on the one thing right in front of her. She was tired. She was hungry. She was engrossed in her phone looking at something that, at the time, probably seemed either urgent (work emails!) or moderately entertaining (cat videos!), but years later was clearly insignificant and likely 100% forgettable.
She wasn’t thinking 10 steps ahead. She wasn’t even thinking 1 step ahead…what will happen when I reach the front of this food line? What in the world will they expect of me?
DUH CARLA. YOUR FOOD ORDER. HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THIS?!
How often is this the case in our own lives though?
We spend so much time being “busy”. We dart from thing, to thing, to thing, looking only at what crisis is directly in front of us:
Max needs new soccer cleats!
I need to fire off one more email!
What are we going to have for dinner tonight!?
How many likes did my Instagram post get?
I need to get a babysitter for Friday!
And hey, I’m not knocking it. That’s all LIFE. There’s no escaping the majority of those small fires that demand our attention all day. But if you’re only looking at what is directly in front of you, you might be veering onto some crazy path that you never would have chosen if you had just LOOKED UP.
But every once in a while, Life gives us the wake-up call opportunity to “get your sh*t together, Carla!” It can happen at any time, but at the turn of a new year we are given the opportunity to get our heads out of our phones/rear ends/day-to-day stuff that consumes our mind, and to LOOK UP AT THE CHICK-FIL-A MENU BOARD THAT IS LIFE.
This is why goal setting is so important. If you let the daily fires run the direction of your life, you may not love where you end up.
But friends, there is definitely a right way to goal set. And it’s not “manifest your dreams” and sit around waiting for them to happen. A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Let me show you how I set goals. I’ve been honing this process for more than a decade, and while my life isn’t perfect, it’s pretty darn close to the dream. MY dream, that is, because your dream life would look totally different from mine. But first, we have to figure out what that life looks like.
Here’s the run down, and be sure to scroll to the end for your free goal setting workbook download.
HOW TO SET GOALS THE RIGHT WAY
There are 3 critical components to goal setting. Most people skip the first two, and only do part of step 3.
3. Looking Forward
You need to look in the rearview mirror to see where you’ve been. What went really well over the last year? What didn’t? What brought you the greatest happiness or the most frustration? Are there common themes that keep showing up month after month, year after year?
If you aren’t looking backwards to figure out what you love in your life and what you want to change, you’ll never set the right goals. You’ll just keep repeating the same patterns you always do. This step will give you clarity into what really matters.
It’s a buzzword for a reason. Our thoughts shape our beliefs which inform our behaviors. We are all walking around this planning running on an autopilot of invisible scripts – stories we tell ourselves over and over so much that we don’t question their validity at all. We don't even know they exist, yet they dictate most of our beliefs and behaviors.
If you want to make any real change in life, it will be 100x easier if you address your mindset before you attempt to change anything else. Don’t fight against your brain, just reprogram it a little.
This is the step that most people think of with goal setting, especially when it comes to New Year’s Resolution time. We declare things like “Lose weight! Eat healthy! More date nights! Be a better mom!”
And we go to the gym for a week, stop yelling at our kids for 38 minutes, eat some pie, and give up.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. And if you aren’t truly motivated by your goals, if they don’t have a deep “why”, they are going to fail nearly every time, because it's always easier to keep doing what we know, even if we hate the end result, than to change.
We need to make our goals specific, meaningful, and actionable.
Losing weight for the sake of losing weight isn’t enough. Losing weight because your happiest memory last year was hiking up a rocky cliff with your kids, but your knees bothered you and you were out of breath from being out of shape and carrying the extra weight. A better goal than “lose weight” might be to “train my body for more endurance so I can go on an adventure with my family to Glacier National Park and hike to the Hidden Lake.” That is specific. It’s meaningful. It gives you a reason to trade in Netflix for a walk in your neighborhood a few nights a week.
Take it one step further and make it actionable. How are you going to make it happen? What routines or habits will you put in place to support it? When can you block time out in your calendar to make it happen?
Each year I ask myself 10 questions as I approach the new year. They follow these 3 components of Hindsight, Mindset, and Looking Forward and will guide you through setting the RIGHT goals that will truly move the needle in your life and create huge impact. Grab your free workbook here to get those questions PLUS two extra bonuses to take your goal setting to the next level.
Here’s to your best year yet!