Three Questions To Ask Yourself Before Setting Your Goal
By: Cortney Morris
According to a Salesforce report from 2019, 57% of individual sales professionals fail to hit their goals. If you look at the real estate sales professional, 90% fail in the business in the first 5 years. The same holds true for a new business, 90% are out of business within 5 years. On an organizational level, nearly 70% of change initiatives fail. Think about that, every year goals and plans are created, yet the majority of people and organizations never achieve them.
Do these numbers surprise you? Why do so many fail to achieve their goal(s)?
Put simply, they fail to make the behavior changes necessary to achieve the goal. Have you ever noticed that your goal achievement has less to do with the plan and more to do with the actions it requires you to take? When I talk with people and ask them, “what would have the greatest impact on your business?”, they always have an answer. They know the actions it will take to create results. Surely, you’ve experienced this in your own way. We all know that in order to lose weight, one would need to exercise more and eat less. Yet, how many still struggle with weight issues? Is the struggle that you don’t know what to do or that you aren’t doing it? My money is on the latter.
Before you start thinking, wait I am still finishing this year, I don’t have time to think about next year!
Keep in mind, behavior change is not a light switch, you can’t just turn it on. In most professions, there is a significant lag time between when you make a change and when that change is reflected in your paycheck. The amount of thought and preparation that goes into goal setting and achievement can’t be understated. Many shortcut this process, giving little to no attention to the meaning behind the goals they set. Is it really any surprise so many fail?
Do you want to know a secret? There is a process to setting and achieving goals.
Two essential pieces of goal achievement are engagement and urgency.
- Engagement speaks to how connected and committed you are to your goal. Highly engaged people tend to have a clear vision of where they are going and what their achievements will mean to their life. When you are highly engaged, you visit your goal, you own your goal, you think about it constantly, which causes you to give your best each day in the pursuit of it.
- Urgency speaks to how important your goal is to you right now. It’s easy to get caught up in the fallacy of time. You may find yourself thinking I have more time today, or this week, or this month. You put things off and negotiate with your commitments because you think you have time. Before you realize it, six months have passed, and nothing has changed. There is no sense of urgency. You know the saying “if you need something done, give it to a busy person”. When you feel like you don’t have as much time, you tend to get more done.
When you are clear and connected to your goal and committed to achieving it within the year, you will naturally start to find solutions to make that dream a reality.
When it comes to achieving your goals, certain foundational pieces will drive your behavior. If these pieces aren’t clear, you could have the best plan in the world, and it still wouldn’t matter. It’s like Les Brown says, “When your why is big enough, you will find your how.”
Use the questions below to create the foundation allowing you to be in the small percentage who achieves their goal(s). If you are unclear on any of these, the likelihood of hitting your goal is slim to none. Clarity is something you create. Invest the time. Create the time and space to find your answers. Trust me, they reside within you.
Three Questions To Ask Before You Set Your Goal
What do I want to experience?
- Take a moment and really think about it. In your wildest dreams, what would you want to experience next year? Money is good for the good that it does. Instead of using money to drive what’s possible, work from the inside out. Put meaning behind your money. Let your dreams and goals drive how much money you make. Write down every idea you have about what’s driving the next year of your life. Where do you want to go? What do you want to experience? Who do you want to become? What do you want to contribute? Make an exhaustive list.
- Get specific. Identify the specifics and details around your list. How long will you be gone? How will you get there? What will you do while you are there? If you’re saving money or paying off debt, what’s the total amount? Will you buy a house? Invest in real estate? If you have a milestone celebration, what would make it over the top? Regardless of what you plan to do, find out the cost and write it down. Spend time researching and let your vision take shape. Don’t worry about how you are going to do it, just have the courage to write it down. The more specific, the better. Spend some time envisioning living out those experiences and let yourself get excited. The vision will pull you forward and understanding the meaning behind your money will drive your actions and create opportunities that, otherwise, would never exist.
- Add it all up. Take everything on your list and add it up to a grand total. Use this amount, along with your cost of living, to drive your income goals for the next year.
Why do I want it? As I look over my list, how inspired am I?
- If it doesn’t get you excited or inspired, it won’t get you into action. Cross anything off your list that doesn’t excite or inspire you. If it is something you know you want, yet you can’t find the inspiration, you need to take a different approach. Our coaches are skilled at helping clients identify the why behind a big goal while removing mental blocks, which leads to inspired action. If the why is unclear, it is nearly impossible to push through the discomfort required to achieve it. Take time to ask yourself, what would that provide to me? Who else would be impacted? With my achievement of these goal(s), what can I be/do/have now that I couldn’t before? Each of these questions helps build clarity behind the why.
- If you already know how to achieve your goals, you’re cheating yourself. If you look at your goals and they don’t challenge you or cause you to stretch to achieve them, you aren’t thinking big enough. You’re built to continually grow through your lifetime. To get peak performance you need to be challenged. Your goal should challenge you. The brain that created the goal, is not the same brain that will achieve the goal. You will grow into your ability to achieve it. If you’re not challenged by what you wrote down, it’s time to expand it. If you need help thinking at a bigger level, reach out to our team or spend time with people that are doing things that you want to experience in your life.
What will I never experience if I never achieve this?
- Most people don’t change because they want to, they change because they have to. They change because they are not willing to sacrifice the quality of their life. Change is uncomfortable. As human beings, we are running on autopilot most of the time. To operate outside of this takes an incredible amount of energy and focus. Any time you want to achieve something you haven’t achieved before, it forces you to get out of your comfort zone and do something new. When you do something different, the chances of failure are much greater. Are you willing to risk a temporary failure for an outrageous life? As you already know, failure is a part of growth. If you study anyone that’s had any amount of success, they will tell you they also had a lot of failures along the way. The difference? They see failure as a feedback mechanism to ultimately allowing them to achieve their goals. They operate from the saying, “You’re either earning or learning”.
- If there is nothing at stake, when the going gets tough, you will negotiate your goal(s). Your goal will become another thing that you thought you would do, and you’ll convince yourself “it’s not that important” or “it’s not the right time” and you’ll put it off another year. And then one year turns into three years or five years. Eventually, you will feel frustrated that you are talking about the same thing year after year and doing nothing about it. So, you give up. This doesn’t happen because you lack talent. This happens because the stakes were never high enough. What will never happen if you never achieve your goal(s)? Can you live with that?
- When you are really in touch with your vision, and you don’t get to experience it, you are robbing yourself and those around you. The more in touch you are with your vision, the easier it becomes to achieve it. I am wildly aware of the fact that my son is 18 months, and I only have 3 more years of not having to worry about his school schedule. That means that right now, I can travel with him as much as I want. I am only limited by my ability to dream and earn. After that, I will only have 13 summers with him before he goes to college. Call me crazy, but 13 is not a lot. The past 18 months have flown by. I feel like my baby is becoming a little boy and I have to ask myself, am I taking advantage of the time I get with him? Am I pushing myself to achieve all that I can to experience my inspired life? What does he miss when I settle for less? Time is marching on and I’m either maximizing it or I’m losing it.
As you think about what you want to achieve over the next 12 months, take a moment to center yourself in the vision. Remember, if your life isn’t about your dreams, it will be about your problems. We can build a plan to achieve almost anything, yet without a commitment to the goal, nothing else matters. When I do this work, I plan a weekend with my spouse, and we talk about all of the possibilities. I am blessed to be in a role where I control my income, and, if I don’t dream big, I won’t push myself as far.
Everything I’ve experienced thus far has started with a simple, what if? Let yourself play the game and be patient. If the ideas don’t come right away, give yourself time, read some books, spend some time exploring different possibilities. If you haven’t done this a lot, it takes a little bit of practice and it will pay off in the end. If this article was helpful for you, I’d love to hear about it. You can reach out to me directly here.
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