Last month I left my 9 to 5 to embark on a full time journey in my coaching business. I knew it took some cojones (yea, I said that) but I have a habit of not wanting to spend any time unhappy. Plus, I work best under pressure!
I started out mapping out my plan. Setting my goals for my business and what I would need to do to hit those goals. I let myself dream crazy big. Go big or go home, I always say.
Once I had my ideas and started mapping them out, it occurred to me….
This was different than the other goal setting stuff I’ve seen before.
You know, the kind that tells you to make them S. M. A. R.T. : Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
I’m not saying those things don’t work, but they are too…. Relaxed.
I see people set goals a number of different ways. Some people lay it out strictly with what the end result will be.
They want to lose 10 pounds.
That’s it. Pretty straightforward, right?
Then, there is a second group of people.
These are the people who have build some success hitting goals and they used the SMART formula. (You know, Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.)
Okay, that seems good. Right?
I say wrong.
Although a SMART goal has it’s purposes, that is not how I think you should set goals. Doing it that way doesn’t tell you anything about what to do! It just states your dream in some timeline that seems like it could possibly come true.
Wishes. Basically just wishes.
Goals have to be something you can control.
I will lose 10 pounds in two months.
I will make $10,000 by May1st.
I will build my business social media account by 1,000 by such and such date.
None of these are things you can control.
Yes. Even the weight one. What happens if you gain some muscle and your weight goes UP but your body fat goes down? Fail?
What happens if you do everything you can and still aren’t losing on the scale? Your goal, and success is tied to that outcome.
What if your social media account doesn’t increase the way you want or you don’t make as much money as you want?
Setting your goals this way doesn’t tell you what to do. It just tells you what your dream is. When your timeline hits, you either made it or didn’t but this isn’t the way to spend your life, with no plan.
Here’s how to set goals so you CRUSH it in 3 months instead of 12.
Set S.M.A.S.H Goals.
- Hold Accountable
Lets go over in detail how to crush those goals.
Step 1: Seeing
You have to have a clear vision for what you want. Not just some willy nilly, ‘Some day I’d like to…’ you have to REALLY know. Be clear. If you can visualize it in your mind, you can have it in your life. Write a sentence, write a paragraph, or don’t write it down (yet) at all. Whatever it takes to make it clear in your head for you, do that. Are you clear on what it looks like to you? Okay, onward!
Step 2: Mission
Define your mission. This is all about feelings. This is not a one liner. This is a paragraph, or a page or a book. This goes back to have creating a super clear vision of what you want is crazy important to you.
Now we are going to write it down but not in the way you are used to. We are going to write down what you want, from step 1 and then lets start thinking forward. We are going to journal about the END result.
- How will it feel?
- What will be different? Describe it. If it’s lose 10 pounds, then why? “To fit into my new dress on vacation in May. I will feel amazing and happy. I will feel successful. Self confident.” and anything else that goes into that feeling when you reach your goal.
- Write how you look and what is around you at the time you are wearing it. Is it ocean smell? Or are you in the mountains? What are your surroundings like?
- Pretend you are a set designer for a movie and map it ALL out. Get clear on what this really looks like.
Imagine yourself at the goal. You can read way more about this here, and I highly recommend going through this exercise to really start building out your dreams. It’s more than smart.
Now that you have your mission, make your goals action oriented in step 3.
Step 3: Actions
The biggest mistake I see people make, as a coach, is setting goals that they really have no control over.
Instead of ‘lose 10 pounds’, how about setting the goal into something actionable.
No longer is your goal something that you are wishing for, but it is the thing you are doing to make your dreams happen.
“I will do high intensity interval training (HIIT) 4 times a week’.
See the difference?
Setting your goals this way puts YOU in the drivers seat. It makes it clear at the end of each week if you are on track or not. It is something you can see and check off, not just something you are hoping for as you drive toward and then end up at the end of the road and realize you aren’t there. Or maybe you aren’t even close.
Take the vision of what you want and build it out into actionable steps.
This may be really easy or you may have to do some thinking and get it all out on paper. It may be more than one step. Maybe you have to do one thing before you can do the next thing.
That’s okay. Build out your steps to reach the finish line, but make sure it’s all action along the way. We are about to turning it up in step 4.
Step 4: Smash
This is where the sweat happens. The grind. The hard work.
I know we sweat the small stuff and waste time getting things done. If want BIG things to happen, if want to put a ‘dent in the universe’, it’s not going to take regular action! We are going to have to smash some timelines.
I went to college and although I graduated 25 years ago, I remember getting a syllabus at the beginning of the semester. It had everything written on it that we would be doing, and I even knew what big papers would be due and when. Guess what I did.
Then I did them a few days before they were due, but I always got them done and handed in on time. It didn’t take me all semester. It took me two nights.
It was a skill and most of my friends had it too. It was ‘success compression’. I could finish tasks in way less time then I actually thought it would take me.
Last month I decided I was going to build out my course for my Flexible Dieting Academy and have it launched and live. I decided 4 weeks was a great goal.
I could plan it out, have time to get the modules built and record them all.
Good plan, right?
So I decided compress it. Put a dent in the universe and so I Smashed time and gave myself 2 weeks.
I was terrified and nervous and I did not waste one minute. (oh, hello urgency!) I got right to work and put things aside that I could. I shared with my family that I was about to super focus and would need their help, and they agreed.
I felt so unsure of the two week timeline that I used every free moment to get it done, and you know what?
I almost had the full thing with a week to spare.
Building the web page to promote it, something that takes me a few hours, took me the remaining week. Why? Because I had allowed myself the time.
We think things take much more time than they actually need to. And if we give ourselves the time, we take it.
If we can smash it out, and have the second task ready to go, we could repeat this cycle over and over again and get more done in three months than most people get done all year AND still have time to take a mental break for a few days between.
To start the Smash, set your end date. Make it reasonable. Now compress it.
You know those 4 HIIT sessions you decided to do in step 2? What if we took the time line from 8 weeks to 6 weeks. Pushed those other HIIT sessions into the other weeks, so now instead of 4 HIIT sessions you are getting 5? What would happen? Could you do it?
Would you see success quicker? Would that progress motivate your further? You bet.
Can you do this over and over again? You might be surprised!
[now.. before I get a bunch of emails. I’m NOT suggesting you do something unsafe or unhealthy. I’m using this as an example of pushing yourself outside your comfort zone because that, my friends, is how you grow!]
What about work? Is there a project you’ve been working on that you could compress and smash out? You can apply this concept to anything that is measurable in your life.
This last step is a real hum-dinger. Super important, let’s look at step #5.
Hold Yourself Accountable. Don’t do it alone.
I have found that success has a direct link to accountability. Some people are able to be accountable to themselves, but not many. Not for the really big things that count. Some get coaches and some find a buddy. Some people join groups and some find accountability by blogging or sharing in social media.
Whatever works for you in one area may not work in another, so decide what will make you stay on track.
The power of telling people your goal, sharing it with your family and asking for help can not be underestimated!
My coaching clients have access to me during the week, and then report in, either with an email for my nutrition clients or a Skype call for my business coaching clients, and as I’ve gone through this process I realized there is something clarifying and cleansing about this ‘check in’ time.
It does a few magical things:
- It gets you back on track. My goal may be 6 weeks, but weekly check-ins keep me accountable and brings me back on track if I’ve spend part of the week drifting away from my action items.
- It allows you to cleanse yourself of whatever happened the previous week. Maybe you drifted. This gives you a do over every week, similar to New Years Resolution time, but every week. If you’ve done great, and stuck to your plan, then it gives you a chance to celebrate what you have accomplished without waiting until your goal end date. This keeps you going by keeping the dopamine rushing in your brain. Yep. Dopamine. It’s the stuff your brain loves to keep you coming back for more. Success breeds success. If you’ve drifted away, this reset catches you before you’ve drifted too far.
S.M.A.S.H is the best way to hit some goals, stay focused and build momentum for more.
How can you start to create some momentum in your life towards your mission? I’m excited to hear what you think about this!
Download the workbook to get started on your S.M.A.S.H goals right now.