Today I’m going to write about goal-setting with your wife. It’s fresh on my mind as my wife and I just finished working on our goals ourselves. I’m no expert in goal-setting, but I’ve done some reading and have some experience, so that’s what I’m going to be writing about. This is definitely something you want to sit down with your wife and do together. It’s a great experience.
Basic Principles of Goal-Setting
Write your goals down.
If you don’t take the time to put it down on paper, it’s a dream, not a goal. What we have done is bought a simple Moleskine notebook (one of these Moleskine Ruled Cahier Journal Kraft Large: set of 3 Ruled Journals) and do each set of goals on it’s own page. Get a little creative, too. I draw a little bit in mine just to keep it interesting. Be careful about setting “too many” goals – it can look bewildering when you approach it later or make it seem more impossible to accomplish. 10ish goals is probably a good number, allowing you pretty tight focus on a few things without being so tightly focused that you miss opportunities.
Make your goals specific
The more specific you can be, the better. It’s also better if they’re measurable in some way. Saying you want to “lose some weight” or “get healthier” isn’t going to help you. Saying “I want to lose 10 lbs” or “I want to run five 5k races this year” or “I want to pay off my credit card” are very specific and measurable.
Put deadlines on your goals.
This is part of the “writing it down” process as well. But it’s an important part. If you set a goal to pay off your house, that’s great. But it’s a hugely different to say “we’re going to pay off our house in 10 years.” That is an aggressive goal. But having that deadline changes how you treat the goal. It will probably encourage you to work a little harder at it. It also keeps it high on your priority list and on your mind. This actually makes it more likely that you’ll accomplish your goal.
Review your goals regularly.
At least yearly. Twice a year works, too. Every year we start our goal-setting by reviewing last year’s goals. Sometimes we’ll review a couple years. This not only sets the tone for the “goal-setting session” but it also serves as some great positive reinforcement. When you have accomplished a goal, put a big red or green checkmark next to it. It’s stupid how satisfying this little action turns out to be. Whenever you know you’ve achieved one of the goals on your list, that’s another good time to review your recent goals so you can focus on hitting others you’ve written down.
Make your goals “stretch” goals.
A lot of people are tempted to create goals that are definitely achievable so they don’t run the risk of failing. Don’t let yourself (or your wife) fall into that trap. At the same time, you don’t want to make goals that are practically impossible, either. Look at what you’ve done already and make an educated guess/estimate of what you can accomplish in the timeframe you set. By creating “easy” goals, you lose a lot of the power of goal-setting to make things happen because people don’t put everything they have into it. If you can create a goal that is achievable but you know it’s going to take a lot of effort, you’re probably in the sweet-spot. And you’ll be surprised at how often you’ll actually exceed your goals when you aim high.
Create a destination postcard.
“What the heck is that?” you say? Well, it turns out to be a powerful tool that makes it much more likely that you’ll accomplish those goals, whatever they may be. What you do is essentially draw yourself a picture of what it will be like when you have accomplished those goals you’ve written down. This is essentially your “Why.” (they talk about finding your “why” in Thirty-One all the time). Why you have the goals in the first place. It could go a little something like this: “When I pay off my house in 10 years, we’ll be able to take the extra money and travel across the country as a family in the summer. I’ve always wanted to take the kids to Washington, D.C., Yosemite, Redwood National Forest, and Disney World!” Then, when you are working hard and making sacrifices to achieve your goals, it’s not just because of words written on a piece of paper. It’s because of a bigger dream that you can make into reality.
Looks like I’m going to have to break this into two posts. Come back tomorrow for Part 2 which will cover applying these principles to your Direct Sales Business and maybe your personal life as well.