10 Goal Setting Tips… that most people don’t talk about.

Posted by Chantal Gagnon on

It's important to go after your dreams in ways that feel authentic to you, and generic advice doesn't always work. Trying out new ways of thinking about your goals may be just what you need. These ten unconventional yet effective methods might be just what you need to go from goal-setting to goal-crushing.

Prioritise yourself. 

Sometimes being selfish is a good thing. 

I've spent my entire life getting ready for school or work and prioritising the most urgent tasks first, leaving self-care and hobbies for the end of the day and at the bottom of my list. I also spent the majority of my life teetering on the edge of burn out. I would be too tired at the end of the day to undertake self-care or hobbies, so I would wind up exhaustedly watching TV and not feeling great about life.

Last year, I decided to try something new. I made the decision to set aside my best working hours for myself. I'm a morning person, so the first couple of hours of the day are when I'm at my most productive and efficient. Rather than working at this time of day, I would go outside, apply a face mask, meditate, attend an art class, read a book, journal, exercise, and so on... Whatever would fill me up with joy and pleasure. And then work and responsibilities would come after. 

What happened? I was happier, healthier, and less exhausted at the end of the day, while still being productive. This is one of the first years of my life in which I haven't had to worry as much about burnout as I had in past years. I finally established a better work/life balance, allowing me to have more time and energy for the people and things that are important to me. I was happier at work and had less stress and frustration.

Give it a go. Be selfish and give yourself the gift of your best hours of the day. 

Progress first. 

It’s about the journey, not the destination.

You can have the most ambitious goal, but if you focus solely on the destination alone, you will likely become overwhelmed before you ever begin. It is very easy to fall into a negative mindset where you can only see how far away the mountain is and what you have to climb to achieve that goal. Monitoring your progress rather than merely focusing on the endgame, is more beneficial in attaining your goals as you focus on enjoying the journey and reflecting on how far you have come. 

Fear of success.

Yes, this does exist.

Science suggests that your fear of success may be greater than your fear of failure. A fear of failure looks like this: "No one will read the book I will publish, and if they do, they will despise it," whereas a fear of success looks like this: "When I publish this book, I will lose all of my privacy and will be judged;   people's expectations and perception of me will change.”   Engaging with your anxieties of achievement — beginning with recognising and confronting them for what they are — may help you develop a more mindful and productive relationship with your goals.

Be too ambitious.

Reach for the stars and beyond. 

You may set "stretch goals," or targets you know you won't be able to achieve, by focusing on your long-term ambitions. The objective behind this science-backed goal method is to reach for the furthest star. Even if you don't get all the way there, you will still accomplish a lot more than if you were less ambitious.

The key to this method of goal setting is to evaluate your progress and create objectives. Before you establish the stretch goal, consider if you will be happy with yourself if you only reach 70% (or less) of the goal. If you need to fulfil 100% of a goal in order to feel satisfied, this may not be the best goal strategy for you.

Aim for good enough

C’s get degrees.

How many times have we set goals for ourselves just to put them off because we are afraid of not achieving them? More times than I care to count. And then I came across this youtube video by struthless, in which he discusses the 70% rule.

The goal is to achieve 70% perfection rather than 100% perfection. This makes most goals appear more attainable and less frightening and precious. This eliminates a lot of the anxiety and worry associated with setting objectives, making the process much more enjoyable.

This guideline helped me to quit taking myself so seriously in everything I do. Growing up neurodiverse, I placed a lot of pressure on myself to earn 'perfect' grades, do things 'perfectly,' and overextend myself in order to prove to the world that I am 'normal.' When in fact, to be normal is to be average. So goodbye self judgement and criticism, and hello good enough.

If you are 70% satisfied with the outcome of a project, consider it finished and move on. We can spend years perfecting something. This method of thinking has aided me in starting my business, completing many tasks and every blog post I have written. My bedroom will never be perfectly organised or like a photo from Architectural Digest magazine, but I feel like I can move on to fun things when I am 70% happy with it.

Count backwards.

The 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 method.

The 5 is for 5 years. Begin by deciding on a five-year goal. What do you want to be doing in five years? Consider the larger picture and be inventive. Keep in mind that we tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a year while underestimating what we can accomplish in five. In five years, you may make a lot of significant changes in your life.

4 is for 4 months. Consider this the first big step in achieving your 5-year goal. In four months, where do you want to be to get you closer to your long-term goal?

3 if for 3 weeks. This is a more manageable period of time. Because this is fresh and exciting, it's natural to want to bite off more than you can chew, but keep things reasonable.

2 is for 2 days. Because it's important to get going, this strategy breaks down your long-term goals into steps you can take right now. Just because you want to achieve a goal in 5 years doesn't imply you can put it off for 4.5 years.

1 is for 1 hour. The point is that this immediate goal gets you started today. Ideally, it gets you started right now. The time has come to take action. Stop talking about how you want to go after those goals, and start going after them.

Welcome rejection.

Every rejection is one step closer to a yes. 

The concept behind pursuing rejection is simple: if you want to gain a new job or publish a book, you must realise that you have no influence over whether people say yes to you. However, you have control over how many applications you send out and how carefully they are put together. Set a goal of collecting X number of rejections and be proud of each one since it means you are still working towards your goal and not giving up.

Draw a map.

Make your own road map to success. 

It's time to get the coloured pencils and markers out. Create a physical map of your objectives for yourself. Make a visual representation of how you plan to attain your goals. Allow space on the map for you to alter and add to it as you go on your journey. This will help you in making a roadmap for success, as well as keeping track of your progress.

Draw something on the day you accomplish anything that will help you get closer to your goal (even if it's tiny). You will be able to see a visual representation of your progress, and it'll be a beautiful way to congratulate yourself and reflect.

Define your fears.

It's time to have a conversation with your fears.

Consider what you've been putting off for the "right moment." What is preventing you from achieving your goals? What are you afraid of? Author Tim Ferriss advises writing out the worst-case scenarios that may occur if you fail. Then consider what you'll do if they occur and how you may avoid them.

This is what Ferriss refers to as "fear-setting," a technique that can help you escape the cycle of self-paralysis. He attributes all of his   biggest triumphs and biggest disasters averted to fear-setting.

Prioritise joy.

Let’s choose to have fun.

Our list of goals might reveal a lot about our self-perceptions and where we believe we fall short. They can have a negative impact on us, making us feel anxious, stressed, and inadequate. It's important that happiness is integrated and woven into our list of goals and dreams.

What will bring you joy? How can you incorporate happiness into each of your objectives? You'll be more likely to enjoy both the goal and the journey if joy becomes an integral part of your dreams.

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