How to Set Your Big Goals To Stick
So, have you started your New Year’s resolutions yet? I think we all have mixed feelings about this topic, since most of us are convinced New Year’s resolutions don't work -- and statistically, they don't. In fact 80% of New Year's resolutions fail by February. So whether it's December 31st or August 18th, the driver for change isn't the date -- it's the pain point you reach that makes you WANT to make change.
I like New Year’s resolutions, since it's just a chance to reset, re-evaluate and start out fresh: Fresh calendar, fresh outlook, and fresh new goals to focus on crushing in the new year.
Most of you know that I tend to focus on a 90-day year. I don't like the idea of 12-month goals: Twelve months is so long, there's no immediate urgency to tackle your goals. You kind of just “ease into them”. And once you hit a certain point of the year when you “remember” you actually had set these goals but kind of forgot about them, it's late enough in the year for you just push them forward to your next New Year’s resolution.
Ninety days! This time frame is compressed and urgent; and if you start to fall behind, you see it instantly and you know you have to up your game to make your deadline. Not to mention you're iterating fast! You're able to compress 4 years of goals into one. Obviously, there's more to this, but this has changed my life and allowed me to really raise my game.
But whether it's a year of goals, a quarter, a week or a decade, none of these timelines matter if you just keep dropping off. The important thing -- is to stay consistent. To have a routine and to commit. If you aren't committed -- if you don't have that fire under your ass -- it doesn't matter if you have everything else figured out. It's always going to lead to failure. Frustration. Disappointment.
So whether you read this now or in 6 months, NOW is the time to set goals. All it takes is 10 minutes of sitting down and really figuring out:
You could set new goals every day. But if you're not crushing them, it's all for nothing. That's the big thing: We let our goals atrophy. Just like when you break your arm and when months later it comes out of the cast, it's shrunk and it hurts -- it's basically useless. When neglected, your goals shrink. They become pain points.
We all know the saying "Consistency is king". It's no different here. The key to any goal -- big or small -- is to stay consistent with it. Big goals need to be broken down into smaller goals. Smaller goals need to stay on point. The more we stay consistent -- the more we can measure our success. We want to avoid our goals atrophying.
I keep seeing mentions of Bill Gates and how he loves to read books. What I think a lot of people fail to mention is that he doesn't ever pick up a book unless he knows he's going to finish it. He has one rule: He's committed to finishing a book when he picks it up. So much so that there are dozens of books he's always wanted to read, but he's not willing to commit to them unless he knows he can actually see them through.
I think that applies to all of us, why set goals, if you're not going to see them through? Why even try if failure is an option?
I always think this way when students start in my courses. Are you going to stick with it? Are you really serious about your goals? Because it goes without saying: Anything worth doing doesn't come easy. And do you want to look back at something you committed to and think, "Man, that was tough, but look at me now!"? Or do you want to look back at another thing that you started and gave up on?
It's tough but the hard part of accomplishing anything isn't starting it. It's finishing it. And when we do get that initial resistance, we need to look at it not as, "Man, this is hard!" but "WHY is this hard?" -- and what kind of shift we need to make to overcome it. Something typically isn't hard twice. If we put in the time and effort, it becomes easy. It becomes a new skill. And the next time we come up against it, it's wax-on, wax-off and there is no longer any resistance.
The more skills you build, the more resistance you overcome, the stronger you get. I'm more excited about challenges, I'm more excited about fears. If something is easy, it's because I already overcame that obstacle.
Healthy minds won't allow us to beat ourselves up for long. Have you ever hurt a friend or betrayed someone? Chemically we course correct. We can't keep telling ourselves that we're bad people; so after a while there's a shift -- and suddenly they're the bad person and it’s their fault. Or we impulsively bury the event and the thought of that person whenever they come up. A healthy mind is not going to allow us to relive painful experiences.
It's the same reason we make excuses. We look for the next magic bullet. We avoid diving deep into the real problems we're experiencing because it may be painful. “I don't have time.” “I'm too busy.” “It was too complicated.” “It’s not the right time.” “The economy was bad.” Whatever makes us sleep at night.
The other part of this is to acknowledge that any new skill or goal worth doing -- is going to be littered with obstacles. You need to understand this and expect this. Because if you’re setting goals that have no resistance, you are likely setting the bar too low. More so, we want to welcome the resistance, because as we tackle these, they are likely to be hard. But once we accomplish these, we have acquired a new skill to add to our repertoire, as well as the comfort of knowing that we now have the skills and knowledge to handle it effortlessly.
But the biggest point I want to really stress -- is be selective with your goals. It's easy to set goals, it's harder to see them through. At the same time, it's more rewarding to look back at task that was a lot of work and struggle, and to feel the comfort that you pushed through the resistance and made it out to the other side.
Be selective -- just like our man Bill Gates -- and only take on a goal that you are fully committed to seeing through. If you're more selective and more committed to seriously doing something, you’ll build that habit not to give up the minute something gets tough. Instead: You’ll welcome it!
Again, the obstacle is the way.
So here's the thing: As we get closer to 2019, set your goals! Set big goals but set realistically smaller goals that lead to those bigger ones. Be patient! Don't say, "This month, I'm going to learn everything about visual effects -- and next month I'm going straight to Weta!" Think about what steps you can take that are realistic, that are attainable, that can keep you consistent.
And you know what? If these goals are too easy, then all it's going to do is allow you to start skipping through them faster. But they’re leading you to your bigger goals and there's a timeline involved.
And when something's not working, we need to be able to really lean into it and figure out WHY. Not make excuses, not give up, not look for another solution the minute we hit resistance. Like I said: Do we want to look back at what we accomplished or look back at another thing we gave up on?
Set your goals for 2019! Don't let them atrophy! And check in with yourself regularly to see how you're doing, what you need to tweak, how YOU can stay consistent. It’s okay to make some goals easy or take a bit longer to get to where you're going -- as long as you're moving forward and you never-ever stop.
What are your big goals for 2019?
P.S. I mean it when I ask what your big goal is. Hit reply and let me know! I'll reply to as many as I can -- and I might just hold you accountable to these!
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