So you’ve done it all right – you set the big ambitious goal, you went after it and one of three things happened:
You hit it, and realize that it provided no fulfillment. You got the achievement high, and went on to the next thing
You missed it, and feel like you failed. Maybe you feel like “oh I don’t really care” or maybe you feel like “I hate myself and my inability to hit my goals – but either is a symptom of the same thing
You hit it, feel good about it, and are wondering, “Now that I’m here, what next??” What should I do?
Who Cares About Goal Setting – I’m Fine Living in Flow
I loved living in flow. I was always calm, and easy and successful and making tons of –
Wait. No that wasn’t it.
I was frustrated, impatient, and eager to prove myself worthy…..
Flow, or what we might think we are doing, can also be intentional disconnection from our deeep desire to grow and be successful. Really, I was running from my best self – scared of what I could be more than what I was.
It wasn’t flow. It was fear. I wasn’t growing, and I didn’t want to own it. The opposite of flow seemed like too much drive – number tracking, money-hungry wall street guys on their way to millions by ruining their body, ethics, morals and Not me. NO! Not me at all!
Was there a way to be in flow AND set goals?
If you’re like me, you’ve been puzzled by goal setting. We don’t learn it in school, we don’t learn it from our parents usually (unless you’re super lucky), and we don’t get practice at it early enough to make it feel like we understand it.
I struggled with it.
I used to set these goals like earn $1M by 30, or Read 52 books this year, and I would totally fail. This was the flow version of me. “It will happen, the universe will provide.” Then I’d play Halo for 3 hours over some whiskey.
So, then I got into some bigger, badder groups of amazing people that pushed me.
Finally a solution! Accountability, drive, ambition – and UNLIMITED POWER!!! (Say it like the genie from the 1st cartoon Alladin!)
I started crushing it – hitting the goals, fixing my mindset. I highly recommend that anyone really work on their mindset FIRST before you really look at goals at all. So there I was – knocking em down. Taking names. Super Aaron.
But something was off. Maybe you’ve felt this too.
If you’re on the other side, setting goals and making things happen for yourself, maybe this is you.
Almost like, “So what,” I was feeling like I hadn’t ever cared about the goal in the first place. I as doing what the world wanted me to do. I was making money, buying nice things, and falling into the traps of normalcy.
I had to evolve yet again. This was AFTER hitting my goals consistently.
Here’s what we don’t talk about – goals are most often misaligned.
When we have no idea what we’re doing, of course they are! We don’t know how to align them.
Here’s an example of goals that are misaligned for me, that I experienced and dealt with the hard way:
Goal #1: Build a business that makes over $1M in revenue
Goal #2: See 98 countries over the next 3 years.
Can you spot what’s wrong here?
Here’s the truth….
The Truth About Goals and our Deepest Wants
If you set two goals going opposite directions, one going east and one going west, which way will you end up going?
That’s right. No where.
Imagine trying to create a business while on the go. Very few can do it, and truthfully, those that do, often lie about their lifestyle. If you work on the beach, awesome.
But you might not see that someone worked on the beach for 15 hours. Take it all with a grain of salt.
To build a big businesses will take you lots of time. You need to know your customers, talk with them, figure out a product, build the products, attract and recruit a team.
Is that possible while you’re in a new country every week? Hell no.
So, the process is flawed, and you make no progress, get frustrated, and quit.
But it’s not your fault. No one taught you how to do this.
It wasn’t a part of school. Your teachers don’t know it. And no one wants to talk about it.
But I will!
5 Ways to Set Better Goals – Reflective Questions to Ask During the Setting Process
Why do I want this?
Is this your want or the worlds? Do you actually value what you’re going after?
Here’s the thing. If you know your values, this is easy.
The world wants you to look good, be in shape, wear expensive clothes, have a luxury car, live in a mansion. Each of those industries is pushing for you to buy their version of the vision – but you can’t, and shouldn’t have them all. What kind of life is that?
Double down on what you love. I work from home a lot, so I invest in a place with lots of natural light and lots of open space. I don’t buy junk and I don’t spend on silly decor.
I love to travel, so I don’t do much in the states. I can skip the theme parks – Ill go to prague instead, and when I travel, I travel first class. My tickets to London, round trip – $145. My tickets to Prague – $45. Ask me how here.
I like to learn, so I spend a LOT on education. Upwards of 5 figures per year. Last year I spent over $10,000 on education. Know what I don’t buy? Cars that are $60k+, or belts that are $200.
What would I do once I finish it?
Every move must have a purpose. So what is this ones? Will you be in shape? Will you have enough money to invest in something that will last? What’s the plan, Stan?
Most of us set achievement goals Then, we back it up with “When I get to X, I’ll be happy.”
No. You won’t.
You won’t be happy and you won’t stop there. So, I can encouurage you to think differently because once I did, it changed this whole process for me. Instead of setting goals that got me somewhere without a purpose, I started setting long term goals that helped me build.
I met a guy that was running Iron Mans in his 50s. I don’t know that I want to do that, but I do want to emulate his fitness. So, how do I do that.
All that really requires is me to stay in shape – so my goals are now about my process of moving. I set a mile goal and a gym visit goal – not to quantify my weight loss or my weight #gains or something that will inevitably change, instead I double down on what is the intention behind the goal.
If your intention is to get rich, cool! Rock on! Set the goal of starting an income stream, or investing in property. But know the endgame.
Avengers, and the massive success Marvel had, taught me this – if you keep the end in mind, you can build something magical along the way and enjoy every single time you sit down to reflect on what story you just wrote.
What process does this create?
Much like above, we’re back to THE point here.
I’m a big believer in the process and how important it is to success. So, now all my goals are based on building a process that will last, not just one that comes and goes. If I’m building the best lifestyle I possibly can, then I have to avoid diets and go to the root of it all – the behaviors taht repeat themselves over and over.
If you generally don’t like to do anything adrenaline seeking, but set the goal of jumping out of a plane, make sure you understand how it fits in with your future. I get it – you want to prove you can do it. But then what? Will you then write that book? Quit your job? What is the point?
Let’s say you want to start a business.
Start withthe understanding that you don’t build overnight, it will take you a long time and a lot of effort, and you will have to give things up. You will NOT be Zuckerberg in 2 years.
So, if you know that’s true, play long term and build a vision for how you will get there.
The number of people that have quit their dream business building empire because it got tough speaks to how many people don’t work on the process. And when it gets tought, they back out.
Because they don’t believe in building. Just achieving.
If you fail, you must not be good enough. When I fail, it makes me good enough.
Is this sustainable?
Let’s keep building, if you’re going for a one-shot goal, make sure that’s what it should be. Otherwise, if you’re looking to lose a couple pounds, a sustainable goal isn’t so focused on the weight. Again, back to process, we want to create something sustainable. Maybe instead of saying lose 5 lbs, where you celebrate with a dessert made for 3, you focus on something that you can sustain. Maybe 3 days a week, you’re at the gym, or walking/jogging. But it has to be something you can sustain.
Build up, from something small to large, is perfectly sustainable, by the way. If no one gave you permission to start with a half mile walk, and build up to that 5k you’ve wanted to run, I am here and now giving you all the permission you need.
Does it add value to others?
Some things need to be for us. But there is truth in that fulfillment and happiness come from making others happy. What can you do to add value? I like to send books to strangers I meet. I also like to make sure I’m buying dinner and spending time with friends and family. That to me is luxury.
Maybe for you it’s taking the time to see your friends’ kids. Or, it’s spending a few moments with your sister or brother just to make sure they know how important they are for you. Maybe it’s helping a friend with a painting project. Or, maybe it’s hosting dinner parties that connect people.
Consider that others are where you can add value – which in turn will bring value.
An Example of this Progression
I know you want to see how to better do it. SO here’s a quick evolution:
Version 1: (achievement) Put on 10 lbs of muscle
I hit the goal, but felt empty, and didn’t know what to do next.
Version 2: (process, but not refined) Get in the gym 2x per week
But what about weeks I’m away. This didn’t account for lifestyle and change.
Version 3: (refined process) Visit the gym 100 times this year.
This lets me flex on when, how, and why. For example, I REFUSE to do the gym in January. Small gym, big gym, I don’t care. I’m out. So I need something that allows me to grow into a process, and account for change.
I break this into quarter goals – 15 visits Q1, 30 visits Q2, 40 visits Q3, 20 visits Q4. Not nearly as intimidating. And if you did your math there, I’m ABOVE target.
Then again, what do I know. This is just my system.
So what’s yours? I’m curious!
What do you do to set goals now? Drop your tactics that have worked for you below!!!