Saturday, November 24, 2007

Goal Setting Workshop Lesson 3 Are We There Yet?

Session Three: What kinds of goals should you have? (Are we there yet?)

So are we ready to set goals yet?

Yes. As my dad used to say, "Ring the tambourine." (When I was six that was hysterical.)

There are seven steps in goal setting. In the next session, we'll work on steps 2 through 4. In the session after that, we'll work through steps 5, 6 and 7. But today we're only working on Step 1:

Determine what you really want.

Today we're going to figure out what kinds of goals you should set and maybe even how many.

In the last session, I asked you to figure out if you worked more to avoid pain or to gain pleasure. Actually, what I asked was...

Are you motivated more by fear of loss or hope of gain?

If you answered that question honestly, you now know a great deal about yourself and how you work. What makes you tick.

And that's going to help you to set goals that will motivate you, but goals which also (I hope) will achieve the purposes you most need in your life!

So, the question is ... What do you need?

On one of his tape series, Tony Robbins gave a lesson on the Power of Why. Why do we do the things we do? He gave an example of something he wanted and continued to ask and answer the question "why do I want that?" ... until he ultimately said, "To be happy."

The truth is most of your goals are created to try to fulfill the overall purpose of being happy. Most of us became parents, wives/husbands, community workers (like volunteer firemen and PTO members) and writers to fulfill an "emotional" need. We all want to be happy. That's why a lot of us end up with ambiguous goals like "Be happy this year."

But though that fulfills a need, it isn't really tangible. It's not measurable. And it's also a state. You can't accomplish "happy" but you can take steps to accomplish something that makes you happy. And those steps are your goals.

So I guess what we could say then is that the first trick to setting goals is to figure out what emotional state you want and then determine the steps you have to take to get it.

Do you want to feel secure, be happy, end the year with a sense of accomplishment, boost your self-esteem, have a sense of purpose or pride by helping a child or one of a hundred other emotion-based bottom lines.

The truth is you don't want to sell a book to get money...Well, you might. Lord knows, I did. But there are other driving forces at work here and when you figure out what it is you really want ... happiness, security, accomplishment, purpose ... then suddenly all those goals like get a book published make sense. And so do your more ambiguous goals like be a "good" mom.

When you isolate your purpose for the year, then you're not just arbitrarily making a 'rule' for yourself. You are trying to fill a need and you can easily figure out the necessary steps to accomplish something that will satisfy that need. And, again, those steps become your goals.

This also works in the reverse.

For instances, when you know that you want security (financial or otherwise) you might realize that the goal of quitting your day job isn't realistic this year. So you wouldn't set that goal. Rather, you might set a stepping stone goal that helps you get to the point where quitting your day job is possible next year or the year after.

So how do you figure out what it is you really want? What are your driving emotions? Your driving needs?

You consider your life roles and your basis behind why you got yourself into those roles.

Why did you get married? To argue all the time? Or to share your life?

If you got married to share your life, then setting the goal of writing 22.5 hours a day impinges on the need of sharing your life with your husband and you won’t do it. Your goal will sabotage fulfillment of your need every bit as much as a desire to satisfy your need will sabotage your goal. In a nutshell, you will drive yourself nuts.

Why did you get your day job? For security? For money? To be able to have somewhere to wear your Gucci shoes?

If you did it for security, or for money, then leaping into the publishing world without a safety net is going to be scary and you might find yourself making excuses for not writing, rather than writing.

Setting goals that conflict with your internal needs won’t just sabotage your life; they can actually be the cause of depression and confusion.

Whew! Doesn't that make sense!

So, I guess we’re now saying the second trick to goal setting is figuring out what you really want and making sure that accomplishing one want doesn't interfere with another want.

Now, before you begin to think this is limiting, let me assure you that you can want lots of things. It's not unreasonable to want to be happy, to be successful, to be satisfied with your performance as a parent, and to be satisfied with your marriage. You simply have to be realistic about it, to balance it, to find a way to make it work.

This might mean that you can only set one writing goal. But, you know what? If it's a good, solid goal, and you achieve/accomplish it ... Isn't that better than setting 50 goals you never achieve?

So your assignment is to give your roles some thought. Get to the bottom line of why you are in the roles you are in and what emotion you hope to get from being the person in each of those roles. Then do Step One: Determine what you really want.

So, go for it...

What do you really want?

susan meier


Anonymous said...

To be truly fulfilled I need to be happy in a lot of areas of my life. My goal is to achieve happiness in every important area without having to sacrifice happiness in the other. This means setting aside a certain amount of time for each task and sticking to it. The problem is I am a great multi-tasker. I can get so much done all at once, but then I find I usually haven't enjoyed any of it.

Susan said...

Virna, I have never heard it put quite so succinctly, but you are correct. Those of us who are good multi-taskers can frequently get a lot done and never enjoy any of it.

I remember scheduling things like playing with my kids. Or an hour to "read for pleasure."


Then I'd be very diligent to read for the hour...but was it really pleasure? LOL