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The surprising truth about goal setting

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If you struggle with goal-setting, you’re not alone. I am committed to setting goals, yet I sometimes battle with the process. I have learned that when I dread some aspects of setting goals, it’s usually because I am not doing it right.  How can you ensure that you’re doing your very best to grow? The answer may surprise you.

If you have struggled with goal setting in the past, it’s very likely that you have suffered from one or all of the following: Your goals are too small, too disconnected, or too private to actually propel you to where you want to go. There’s not enough why power behind them, and there’s too little accountability from others to allow you to reach them. Unwilling to set yourself up for another year of disappointment, you hesitate in setting goals altogether.

This simple framework to follow can help you move toward setting goals that you’ll be excited to review and track.

1. Plan big

What do you want? Now, take it one step further. What do you really want? Most people are afraid to say what they really want. Instead, they cut their dreams to fractions of themselves, and in the process, kill any desire they may have had to actually pursue them.

Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach suggests setting 10X goals. Rather than aspire to make incremental improvements, think in terms of achieving 10 times your current output. Seem impossible? It should. Setting big goals forces you to think very differently and reach outside yourself to enlist the help of others. You simply cannot do it alone. Small goals will not propel you with enough “why power” to make meaningful improvement.

2. Connect

A goal that is not congruent or connected with your other activities is unlikely to get done. For example, if you wish to double your AUM in the next 12 months and you also plan to finish writing your first book, you may be setting yourself up for failure. The two goals are simply not connected with one another unless you have a team in place to do the lion’s share of the work on either project. And if you do have teams in place to do much of the work, you may need to set bigger goals.

Rather than set disparate goals, consider how you can connect your goals so they act like dominos when accomplished. By looking at your practice holistically, from the top down, you may see areas that can be automated or delegated, that can lead you toward accomplishing another goal that much faster, and with less effort. The smaller goals fall like dominos in your pursuit of the big goals, but are always connected to one another.

3. Go public

If you want to fall short of your goals, keep them to yourself. There is simply too much resistance to try to go it alone. But before you tell everyone you know, think strategically. Why? Because some people would like to see you fail. They may not say it to you in that way, but they’re not interested in you accomplishing great things while they do not.

When you go public with your goals, be very clear about whom you’re sharing with and why. The greatest barrier to accomplishing great things is distraction; therefore, your team and those closest to you will be the best advocates for your success. Letting them in on your goals will not only allow them to reduce distractions, but it will also add the benefit of accountability.

The truth of goal setting is this: When you engage in the goal-setting process, you’re creating room in your subconscious for bigger things and you’re envisioning a better, more productive, and more engaged version of you.

That is a valuable exercise that should not be shortchanged. When you plan big and engage those who are closest to you, you give yourself a wonderful opportunity to accomplish more in less time. What’s even more satisfying is the effect you can have on others to help them accomplish more, too. That way, your goals can be multiplied by helping others accomplish theirs. What can be better than that?  


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