Goal setting is one of my favorite topics. As someone who felt powerless to her health for decades, learning to set and attain goals gave me a sense of peace that I could make a difference in my life. When I started to see a real difference in the areas that mattered most to me (my mental and physical health), I was hooked. I love goal setting.
I know that for many, setting goals can be overwhelming and maybe even discouraging. Over the years, I learned how to balance pushing myself towards my goals and giving myself grace when my body was PHYSICALLY unable to do what I wanted it to do. That’s right….YEARS. Just like anything else, goal setting takes time to polish and to feel confident in. Whether you are new to going after your goals or you are a pro who needs some inspiration, here is what I have learned in my journey for healing my body naturally.
Choosing The Right Goals For You1. Find People Who Inspire You
In general, I am not a fan of comparison. Even if it’s for a “positive” reason, I have a hard time believing that comparing myself to someone else will do anything other than make me feel bad about where I am (or worse! Make me feel boastful!). However, I do think there can be wisdom in finding inspiration in other people’s stories. I mean, that is why I started this blog! To provide you with the most information I can and hopefully give you steps and encouragement through testimony and science.
Have you ever noticed there is slim difference between finding hope in someone else’s story and planting seeds of bitterness or jealousy? I know this might seem a little strange to discuss in a blog post dedicated to goal planning, but hear me out. Simon Sinek preaches this idea that I love: stop trying to be number one. If you want to do good work, trying to be number one "is not only short-sighted, it’s self-sabotage" (Sinek, The Infinite Game). To all of my overachievers out there; for your 2020 goal setting, stop trying to be number one.
Why does this matter? Because one of the first steps I believe in for finding goals and crushing them is finding and surrounding yourself with people who inspire you. You cannot do this if you become paralyzed by comparison fatigue. Comparison fatigue will rob you of your ability to become your best you and have you quit your goals before you even begin. BE SMARTER THAN THAT.
Before you even decide what your goal is going to be, try finding 3 people who inspire you, that you want to be more like, and find commonalities. Make a list of the commonalities and start to hone in on the ones that are most important to you. Specifically related to health, this could be things like they eat foods that bless their body, they encourage others with their health journey or they have defeated serious illness naturally.2. Identify Your "Why"
It is important to do this step (finding people who inspire you) before you choose the goal you will be focusing on because it allows you to reflect on something deeper than the goal itself: your why. Why do you want this goal? Why would reaching this goal make you more like your ideal version of yourself? Why would it add to your life? Why would you keep pursuing it even when it’s hard? Your why is your anchor. As you compile the important similarities between the people who inspire you, ask yourself why they inspire you and why these similarities matter to you specifically. Find the overarching why and use this to identify your goals.3. Choose Your Goal
Pick 1-3 big goals you want to reach this year. If you are a goal-setting expert, pick five! But if you are timider and reaching your goals isn’t something you have muscle memory in yet, start with 1-3 goals. Even if this is the very first time you have ever attempted to reach your goals ever, I don’t want you to shrink your goals to something small. There will be small success you can use to build your confidence along the way, so don’t be afraid to make your big goals BIG. Don’t sell yourself short.
Creating Your Road Map1. Find All Possible Touchpoints
Now that we have identified the right goals for YOU, it’s time to plan how you will get there. One of the ways I think people get stuck in a process that isn’t actually achieving their goals (and therefore lose motivation altogether) is they focus on one way to achieve the goal and just repeat it over and over even though it is not getting them closer AT ALL. Before you embark on reaching that goal, stop and list all of the possible touchpoints and ways that you could reach your ultimate goal.2. Educate Yourself
Just because we have identified several touchpoints and you now have permission to try a thousand ways to start going after your goal, that is not an excuse to try something for one day and bail. Meaning, you do not eat a salad for lunch and by dinner decide it isn’t helping you get towards your goal so you completely rule out salads and go back to eating pizza. Having several touchpoints gives you permission to be creative and learn the journey that works best for you. Be cautious not to start using it as a way to create excuses.
One of the best ways to combat excuses is to educate yourself. When it comes to your health and reaching your goals, ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance gives you a way out, it can make you feel limited and it robs you of being prepared for when things get hard. Get educated. If you really want something, learn all you can about it. Fill your time with resources that get you closer. Listen to podcasts, read blogs, ask questions. I do everything I can to find the best research and make it applicable to the lives of my audience (and myself), but don’t stop here! Find all of the input you can (that is credible). If you still want more tailored information, schedule a consultation with me.3. Create A Game Plan For When Things Get Hard
The last step I make sure to include in the beginning stages of my goal planning process is to make a game plan for when things get hard. Anyone who has walked this earth for more than a day knows that life does not always go as planned, nor is it easy. And you know what? That’s not something to complain about! Why? Because we all know it. We have that advantage and so we can prepare to the best of our ability and work on our resilience and adaptability. What a gift.
I usually start making this game plan by asking a million what if’s. BUT. I like to prepare. Playing with these questions gives me a sense of confidence that I am training my ability to overcome. Making your strategy is not so that you can focus on all that is going to go wrong or to be used to talk you out of what you are going to do. That is why it is the last step of this portion. You already have your goals and you have committed to a few ways you are going to start trying to get there. Now this is simply your way of saying “nothing is going to stop me, not even ____”.
For example, one of my many mantras is: "nothing is going to stop me, not even Lyme disease, not even a pituitary tumor, not even (whatever symptoms is rearing its head)."
Once you have identified a few stumbling blocks that might occur, it’s time for you to get serious about what you would do in that scenario. Be honest about how you would actually naturally respond and then be your best advocate. List how you would encourage yourself. List how you would pick yourself up. List all of the things you can do to push past obstacles because you are strong and capable and you have a why that will push you past anything that tries to hold you back.
The other part of this is identifying who your support system will be. We all need encouragement and shoulders to lean on and that can be really hard to be honest about when we are dealing with goals close to your heart. Identify your support system and speak to them about how to help you when things are hard RIGHT NOW. Do this while you are still motivated and wide-eyed. Because when we mess up, we might be timid to share because we are embarrassed that we messed up. Plan ahead. Outsmart yourself. There is no shame in reaching toward your goal and this is your chance to protect yourself from your own discouragement.
Reflecting and Checking-In
Okay, you have your goals and you have started to embark on our journey towards them - now how do you ensure you reach them? The three ways I do this are to 1) ask questions, 2) check-in with my support team and 3) stay inspired. Don’t over complicate the process. Sometimes it is as simple as know what to do, and just doing it.
Questions that I like to ask myself along the journey are:
- How is my current approach working? Is this ACTUALLY getting me closer to my goals?
- Is there a more efficient way I could be doing this? Think bio-hacks!
- Am I on track with the deadline I set for myself? What might I need to do to make that deadline?
I will also do a check-in with my support system about once a month. I personally find the accountability encouraging and I like to ensure I am creating community and relationship and that is only accomplished through genuine connection. When I do a check-in, I like to do more than just talk about how much progress I have made or not made. I like to reflect on my why, celebrate the progress that I have made (big or small) and brainstorm how I might make even more progress over the course of the next month. It is great to have a support system that confides back in you too so that you can encourage them on their goals as they support you with yours!
Finally, as you are making progress and checking things off of your list, make sure to find ways to stay inspired. If you are like me, then you might have a tendency to get lost in the task side of things and forget why you are even doing the tasks in the first place. Losing motivation is an instant excuse and way out of attaining your goals. Don’t let this be you. Set reminders on your phone that give you encouragement and randomly go off during the month. Dream about what it will be like to finally accomplish this goal. Give thanks for what working towards this goal has taught you and how it has shaped you already. You can do this. I promise you can.