Goal Setting: how to make it count

 
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Goal setting has become a very large topic in our conversations these days, especially having just passed New Years Eve (but seriously how is it already February?!)

I have never been one to set New Years Resolutions despite being a very big advocate for setting aside time for goal-setting and dreaming big. For me, it always felt that resolutions would automatically be met with disappointment. It seemed that everyone was always making these insane statements just for the sake of doing it. No plan. No feelings attached or addressing the “why.” Just an unrealistic wish. They usually had the same topic: let’s all pool our resources together and lose x amount of weight in an unreasonable amount of time. Hence, disappointment and unrealistic “goals.” So I just didn’t do them. I didn’t want resolutions; I wanted to set goals and I wanted to reach each milestones. 

Luckily we are hearing more words like “goals” and “intentions” and “plans” as opposed to resolutions these days. It’s not a one-time statement that you put out into the world and just keep your fingers crossed that the box of cookies you ate last night won’t show up on the scale the next morning. 

Say goodbye to all of that nonsense. 

Many individuals feel defeated and disappointed when they don’t reach their goals and blame it on a lack of motivation. Personally, I believe that motivation doesn’t have as much to do with this “problem” than it does with intention. Setting your intentions realistically in a time-sensitive way will set you up for greater success than any statement-resolution ever will. 

Intentions are paired with a desire for change. It’s a positive action that you are wanting to make because of the feeling that it gives you. You have to be doing it for the right reasons or your body and brain know that you aren’t reeeeally in it all the way. It’ll be much more challenging if it’s connected with a more negative intention (for example wanting to lose weight to look better). Intentions need a detailed action plan, a strategy, and a unique formula. Having high motivation with no plan doesn’t get you as far as having moderate to high motivation with a solid plan of action to follow. This doesn’t pertain to just diet plans (because who has time for that negativity in their life!?) but can be applied to all areas of your life such as relationships, professional goals, lifestyle habits, personal behaviours, and health which could include your nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress and anxiety management, mental health, and overall wellness. Changing an action into a positive variable will have greater effects than just changing that one particular thing; it’s going to infuse into other parts of your life. Score!  

A few life topics could be: business (work, career) friends (how is your social life? Your friendships and support system), family (how are your personal relationships), personal passions and interests (do you have passion projects, hobbies, or fun activities that fulfil you), spiritual (interpret this as you wish — it could be your faith, personal mindset, your unique journey in general, mental health), health (are you happy with your physical health and wellness). I encourage you to not only write out your obvious goals but to dig a little deeper and find some other things in your life that could use some improvement and positive tweaks. 

LET’S DO THIS: 

Start by taking out a pen and paper/journal — NO! Not on your phone. There is something so inspiring and concrete by doing this old school (and are we really calling writing “old school”??) and it’s going to help your brain recognize these thoughts, plans, and behaviours and put them into action. On one side of your paper or page write down your professional goals and on the other, your personal goals. Have fun with this! Dream big — don’t hold anything back when you’re writing these things down. This is a space and a time where there is no judgement. This is just for you. And don’t let any little voice in your head say that you can’t attain something. Write it down and see what happens. Trust me. Just jot all of your goals and visions under a multitude of topics. Do not hold yourself back. 

Here are some questions you can write down and ask yourself:

  1. What is my vision/goal(s)?

  2. How/when/what steps I need to take to get there?

  3. What will be some potential challenges?

  4. Attach outcome and process-oriented goals to each intention or dream;
    Outcome: The ideal result, hopeful conclusion, best end for your goal.
    Process: The skills you need, the method required to get you there.

  5. Who can support me in this plan and how will I feel and be supported by them and myself?

  6. What is my plan B if this goal doesn’t jive? (hint: you assess and meet yourself where you ARE in the present moment, make changes if necessary, and move forward).

  7. What will it feel like when I succeed in the little things? When I achieve my big goal?

To execute your goals, you need a strategic plan with details including when, what, why, and how you’re going to achieve them.

But if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed right now let’s take a step back and touch on the basics. Perhaps you’ve never tried goal-setting, let alone actually WRITING with a pen and paper and it all seems a bit overwhelming. Sound about right?

Rewind. Take a deep breath.

GOAL-SETTING 101:

For me, goal-setting has always been apart of my life. Even if I wasn’t writing out a detailed mind map of my dreams and planning the step by steps, I was always mentally noting the things that I wanted to accomplish during the day, the night before, or the morning of. I think a lot of us do this well. Whether it was going to the gym, making sure I wrote out my study notes, spent an hour reading before bed, cooking a meal with extra leftovers, or making time to catch up with friends, I feel like my motivation to “get things done” has always been high.

Yet it has been the constant and consistent planning of these goals that has helped me get where I am today. I believe that goal-setting has given me the extra edge to set myself up to achieve my professional, athletic goals. I have always always dreamed big (when I was 7 I announced that I would be going to the Olympics in whatever sport I eventually decided on). I would draw out a pyramid scheme with my biggest goal at the top and that honestly would keep me motivated day in and day out (okay… most days, nobody is perfect!). I understood as a young girl that everyone has big dreams and goals and there was a large chance that other people were going to have those same goals as me.

So what could I do that would put me ahead of the game?

Plan. 

Strategize. 

Write down and implement step-by-step goals for my day to day.

So many individuals forget this piece: consistent goals are the KEY to success. 


 Here are a few common reasons why goals fail: 

  • Unrealistic timeframe | ie. “I’m going to lose 50 lbs. in 1 month”

  • Unrealistic in general | see above example…

  • Lack of detail/vague | ie. “I want to lose weight”

  • Not associating your goals with a feeling

  • Lack of a clear vision or plan

  • Lack of accountability and measuring outcomes

  • Lack of support

 
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Attain goals, don’t just make them…

My strategy (ie. what works for me) is breaking down the year into seasons. This means that every three months I give myself the time and space to sit down and reassess my goals, my visions, and my plans. I understand that life gets in the way which is why I love having these 2-3 months to try and build a habit that will help me reach my goal. Here are some other tips to keep you on the right track: 

  1. Space out goals every three months. If for whatever reason your goals or visions need some changes, prioritize the one that is most important at the time and work towards that — the rest will come later and fall into place. Small tweaks are totally fine and are not “cheating your goal” in any way. Remember to not be hard on yourself if you didn’t reach a stepping stone at the three month mark. I often use this time as a check-in to refocus and prioritize what I need to do. Ask yourself, what can I improve? What barriers got in the way and what challenges did I face? Now that those are identified you can move forward with your day to day and week to week plan, stronger than before. Use this time every few months as a chance to sit and dream (hello self care!!!), be creative, and become reenergized with what you envision your future to be! The sky is the limit! (cliche but still true!)

  2. View challenges as opportunities to grow. No, you don’t have to be defeated and give up (for heavens sake don’t give up!) you simply have to fight through it and refine your plan if necessary. As previously stated, once you sit down and see these challenges written out in front of you, you’ll be able to come up with a better game-plan for the following few months. It’s a very good opportunity to address these challenges; sometimes we don’t even know what is holding ourselves back until we’ve given ourselves the space to sit and feel. We all encounter hardships and challenges in our lives but this is where we see the most change. It’s how we become who we are. Don’t be judgemental when life is testing, instead look at these tough times with curiosity. It’s your own unique path after all and there’s nothing wrong about that! Stay positive. There is almost never a direct path from point A to point B. 

  3. Identify your support systems. If you’re trying to change or create a new habit, get in touch with your support systems and those closest around you to let them know what your vision is, and ask them to hold you accountable during this time. You don’t have to announce it to your entire team or office but having a few close individuals on board and in the know can be a very powerful thing.

  4. WRITE IT DOWN! Want to take it one step further than writing it down in a journal? Tear out a piece of paper, write it on a post it, or design an inspiration card that has your goals or mantras written down. If you see it every day then it’s going to be in the forefront of your mind and without putting forth any extra effort, your brain is going to recognize and pull from that prompt. It doesn’t have to be pretty but the point is to capture your ideas and dreams that are swirling around in your head and get them down in a more organized fashion. I LOVE mind maps because I can use everything from quotes, to mantras, to inspirational words, drawings, and arrows… so many arrows! Let the creativity flow!

  5. Plan. Plan a day to day schedule and then after some time has passed (and you’ve got the hang of it), a week to week schedule. What are you doing to do in your day that helps you take a small step towards your goal? How are you going to feel at the end of the day when you achieve all these little things (such as doing and folding your laundry, making your bed, getting at least 30minutes of exercise, stretching for 15 minutes every morning, etc.). Your daily schedule equates to your lifestyle habits and choices so make sure you are doing the little, mundane things well. All of these little things are going to add up to your month, and then your year. Every little thing counts. 

  6. Identify your motivation and intentions. One of the biggest ways to change a habit is to identify WHO you are doing it for. If you want to become a healthier version of yourself for your grandchildren, or you want to have a maximum one hour a day of screen time so you can be more present with your husband or wife, or you want to commit to seeing a grief counsellor to deal with anxiety because it will give you important tools to help in dealing with stressful situations at work, this is setting an intention to help someone else or to help you achieve a certain feeling. This can be a very strong motivator because it’s something outside of ourselves that we want to achieve. 

    • Ask yourself “why is this goal so important to me?”

    • “What will I gain out of the achievement?” 

    • What is that going to feel like when I make that change? How will it positively affect my life?

  7. Keep your mind focused on the daily acts and the progress you are making day to day or week to week. If you’re mostly thinking about a deadline or due date, chances are you’re going to spend more time and energy being stressed out than doing anything positive to move towards your goal. Focusing solely on your progress is not only going to help you feel more success along the way, it will also help you not get tied up in future expectations. 

    • Daily acts | ie. I will turn my phone off every night at 7pm in order to increase my time with family or to be present with my spouse.

    • Deadline of the goal | ie. I need to lose 20 pounds by the time summer comes around. 

  8. Measure outcomes. This can be done in a variety of ways such as logs, journals, pictures, excel sheets, diary of emotions, etc. You have to find what works for you, what sparks the most joy (my new favourite sentence thanks to Marie Kondo), and what gives you the motivation to dream. If you don’t see any changes after a while, no worries! Time for a little re-focus session to get back on track. Remember this is a non-judgement zone and activity. This is only to produce good vibes and good feelings; we’re giving ourselves the space to dream and chase after it all.

  9. JOURNAL JOURNAL JOURNAL. Write down your current habits, lifestyle, and how you’re feeling regularity (at least a few times a week) so you can track your progress and look back to see how far you have come! This is much different than “measuring outcomes” because with this tool, you get to track how you’re feeling before and after certain changes. Journaling is such an interesting activity because again, it gives you the time and space to be honest with yourself. We make ourselves SO busy that most of the time we don’t even know we’re unhappy, burnt out, or in need of a vision check-in. Allow yourself the space to breathe and write down what you’re feeling. Honestly. Nobody will read your journal (unless you’re like me and forget it on a plane) so this is the time to get everything you want to say out on the pages. Very therapeutic if you ask me.
    In case you weren’t on my instagram earlier this month, I launched a giveaway with the IGetTo Legacy Project to give away two beautiful necklaces. The giveaway was paired with a #GratitudeChallenge where we asked our followers to fill out a blank template (shared below if you want to continue the daily challenge!) on their instagram stories and write down what they GET to do on a day to day basis (ie. raise your kids, shop for healthy foods for your family, fold clothes, be with friends and family) and who they ARE (ie. I am strong, motivated, a great sister, brave and honest, etc.). It sparked so much joy (Marie!!) and inspiration for people that I’ve received so many messages saying that they were now incorporating this into their daily routine. When it comes to journaling it is so important to get out everything you want to say — all of the negative and heavy thoughts. But if that’s the case, remember to journal about the good things too. Perhaps ending a journal entry with one “I Get To” and one “I Am” statement, will also help transform your days and eventually, your entire life. #GratitudeChallenge. Try it out.

    AND! As a gift to everyone we are teaming up to bring you a discount code for ALL of the necklaces in their Etsy shop. Click here to shop all of their items and use code: KYLA15 for 15% off! We hope these necklaces bring you daily joys.

  10. Have fun with it! This is not suppose to be a depressing or stressful activity. It’s where you can give yourself the time, space, and dedication to dream big, set goals, and plan for the life that you want to be living. You get to be in control of how you want to feel and take steps towards feeling fulfilled, happier, and healthier each and every day. And you’ll find out that all of these great things aren’t achieved at the end of your outcome-goal. It’s going to be the little things that you’re doing with more purpose on the daily that give you joy. It’s going to be the daily, mundane acts that you become reacquainted with that give your day structure and purpose. The small goals don’t have to be tedious. Everything we do should be cause for celebration.

 
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Nobody is perfect and just because you don’t achieve a goal in a certain amount of time DOES NOT mean that you will not achieve it. I never write dates on when I want to achieve something as I am solely focused on the process of getting there. If it takes me six months longer than I was hoping to achieve something, that’s okay. I’m not stressed because I have the confidence in myself that I will reach my goals one day and am focusing on the process-goals every few months and the time I give myself to check in and see how I am doing. 

Over the years I have realized the importance of overall health. Holistic Health has become a huge part of my journey and I have only just begun to scratch the surface. I have to work really hard at this because for so long, athletics and physical health have been the predominant focus in my life, FOR my entire life. However, when life gets in the way, sometimes your body screams stop! If you aren’t taking care of your overall health and wellness then you’ll undoubtedly have road blocks in the future. Mental health and injuries have started to appear in my life and I am suddenly forced to focus more of my time and energy across all fields. Physical health is just one thing to focus on but there is still emotional health, spiritual health, and mental health. All equally, if not more important. I encourage you, as you move forward in this goal-setting journey, to not solely focus on the physical attributes and goals you have; that will only take you so far. Life hack: being solely focused on this goals will not help you live a happy, fulfilled life. 

Use these goal setting activities to find out what is important to you. Write out all the things that are in your life (as mentioned above things like: business, friends, family, personal passions, interests, faith, spiritual journeys, health, etc.) and see what comes to the forefront of your mind. You might be surprised. Give yourself the space and time to dive deeper. We fill our calendars with so many things and say yes to just about anything that I think we’ve lost touch with ourselves a little bit. Give yourself the space to prioritize what is important to you and make a plan to help you achieve the changes and the goals you want for your life. 

And as always, let me know if you try out any of this goal-setting! Maybe it’s brand new to you or maybe you’ll only take away a few key points — regardless, I’d love to hear from you. I love following your individual journey and the #GratitudeChallenge filled me with so much inspiration and joy, so thank you for that.

Happy goal-setting my friends! And remember, be nice to yourself. 

xo Kyla

 

 

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