A New Approach to Goal Setting

I tend to get excited about a lot of things. 

On one level this works for me. I like the positivity and energy I get from feeling like life is a giant buffet. 

Unfortunately there are some major downsides to this perspective. One of the places it causes issues is in goal setting.

Having too much to choose from and in this case, making a long list of things you want to do and change – can be paralyzing. And completely unsuccessful.

In fact, the research tells us that this is one of the biggest reasons people don’t reach their goals. They have too many

This is tricky, since January is the time of year where we are MOST aware of the things that need to change. In other words our list is LONG. The usual suspects according to a recent Forbes’ poll of 1000 US adults, are:  

Improved Fitness (the top goal for 2024)

Improved Finance

Improved Mental Health (the top goal for 2023)

Losing Weight

Improving Diet

A fairly close 6th is making time for loved ones. People must have missed the Harvard Study on Happiness that would make this #1, but I digress. 

 In my world, I also hear clients and friends focused on:

📲 Minimizing social media consumption

🍷 Minimizing consumption in general

📘 Learning something new

🙏 Strengthening faith

✈️ Increased travel

🗂️ Progress @ work

What’s true across the board, is the pressure we feel to have resolutions at all. According to the same article, 62% of people feel the stress of setting them, with women feeling it slightly more than men.

I get this. 

Several years ago I launched head-on into a Whole 30 detox on January 1st without doing much prep. It turns out that going from the most sugar you’ve had to the least amount in just a few days was not a great recipe for clarity on a new client presentation January 3rd. The brain fog was real and I made multiple mistakes. Lesson learned.

When we want to change everything, often we end up changing nothing. It’s disempowering and makes progress extremely difficult. When we’re not making progress, we tend to quit. Hence the failure of most new year’s resolutions and goals.

So how do we approach a new year?

First, we have to be willing to do something different. Change can be an amazing thing, no matter what direction you’re heading. Think in terms of experimentation. Knowing you’re setting a goal for a season and realizing that you have the agency to CHOOSE and to change it, can mean staying with it vs abandoning it altogether. Getting data can be a goal in itself.

Once you’ve set the goals, you’ve got to have a WHY and HOW to make it happen. We’ll get into these next week.  

For now, as you consider what it looks like to grow and change in 2024, simply start by thinking small. Challenge yourself to 1-3 goals. DEEP over wide means progress and nothing’s more motivating than that.

Keeping your list small enables you to focus, prioritize, and allocate resources more, increasing your chances of winning. In a culture that’s all about quantity, quality delivers in totally new ways.  

Going small is counter-cultural, and it may just be the change you’re looking for.

One of the other keys to achieving goals is telling someone. I’d love to hear yours and why you can’t wait to do this new thing in your life.  

EMAIL ME at [email protected] to share, get information on our programs or book a consultation.