Saturday, December 29, 2012

Goal Setting. Are You Working the Plan Backwards?

Setting Goals
Setting Goals (Photo credit: planningqueen)

Did you set goals for 2013?  Does it irritate you to have someone ask you that... again? Is your response to the question of goals or resolutions, "I don't do them because they never work?" Did you know that goals aren't supposed to work, you are the one who is supposed to do the work?

Most everyone if asked will say they have goals but for most of us, goals are more like a wish list, something that we might send in a letter to Santa.  You know, a list of things you write down and hope that luck or chance will cause to happen.  Just as those toys magically appeared under the tree on Christmas morning, most of us also think that just because we HAVE a goal, it should come true.  See how that's like making a wish?  

The beginning of the year is an exciting time for me, as I launch a new coaching project and evaluate continuing the other two focus areas of my business:  speaking and writing.  I'm setting goals in all three areas, as well as personal goals in the other important areas of my life.  There was a time when setting goals for myself wasn't even on the radar. Those were the days of wishing I were an author.  Days of hoping I would bump into someone who was an author who could advise me on how to publish a book.  Days of wondering how to break into the world of speaking at conferences.  When did I make the shift?  When I suddenly realized that as long as I waited for things to happen, I could expect to continue living the same unintentional come-what-may kind of a life that I had been living.  Or I could begin living an intentional life where I set goals and deliberately planned my activities to accomplish what was important to me.  

That one shift in my mindset has made all the difference and has created the framework for where I am today.  I'm not sure that almost three years ago when I decided to BE an author instead of a someday-author or a wanna-be-author or a wish-I-was-one-author, I had any idea I'd be able to accomplish so much.  I look back on the journey and while it's been a ton of work it has been exhilarating.  It has also taken a total shift in my mindset to accomplish it, so if you are reading this and thinking, "Well it worked for you, but I'd never be able to accomplish something like that," please read on because I stood solidly in your shoes for years.

One of the most common statements I have heard from others is “I have a story that I want to write but …  There are a lot of reasons that people give for not getting around to fulfilling their dream.
  • Sometimes it’s because they have a family and it just keeps them too busy.
  • Sometimes it’s because they have a full-time job and when they retire they’ll get around to it.
  • Sometimes it’s because they don’t have the financial resources and someday when they make more money, inherit some money or their ship otherwise comes sailing in, they’ll do it.

Do you believe those excuses? Do you make them yourself?  I did. I've made them all and more. All of these statements are just excuses, and not because the person making them is lazy or unmotivated.  They are excuses because you are putting the cart before the horse.

Successful people who achieve their goals understand that to be successful you must: BE DO HAVE. People who are unsuccessful at achieving their goals believe that the order is: HAVE DO BE. Unsuccessful people wait to HAVE the time or HAVE the resources or HAVE the right contacts. Successful people know that in order to be successful you must first change your mindset and BE what it is you want to be.  

When I made the decision to be an author, I started by writing in my journal everyday, "I am an author who is publishing and selling books."  The more I wrote it, the more I believed it, the more I talked about it, the more I searched for ways to make it happen, the more I spent time writing.  Rather than waiting to have what I needed to accomplish my dream, I began by believing and acting like I was the dream.   No matter whether you want to be an author, a musician or a CEO of your own company, you must first BE what it is that you want to be not wait for the dream to appear fully realized.  

Creating the life you want to have first involves being the person you want to be by visioning it, developing goals and then doing the work.  BE the person you are called to be and follow your passion. Here’s the necessary steps:

  • Write a goal and review it daily. Start now to BE the person you envision.
  • DO the necessary steps.  Develop a plan of action steps to reach your goal and accomplish at least one a day.  
  • Expect that you will HAVE the success you envisioned. Don’t wait to HAVE the time, the relationships, the resources, the information or you will never move forward because you are working the plan backwards.

What about you?  Are you BEING who you want to be?  Are you setting goals in all the major areas of your life?  Are you reviewing them daily and visioning the end result? Or are you waiting to HAVE the time, the resources or the connections?  How's that plan working for you?

Want to learn more about goal setting and how to Be Do Have, even with a busy life?  Join me for a free teleseminar on February 19th with Jen McDonough!  Details are here:  Teleseminar

Want to spend an entire day learning more about following your passion and making your goals happen?  Consider attending our Called Woman conference in March and listen to an impressive line-up of speakers who can teach you how to take your dream to reality.  Space is limited so sign up today!!

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  1. Wow, Lynne! Love your inspiration and reminder, too, that I was once in that waiting mode until I decided one summer to just DO it, to just write and see what happened. For me, it was a such a freeing experience. Now, five years later, and a whole lot wiser, I see my book in print. Thanks be to God!
    May everyone who reads your post here be inspired to BE, DO, HAVE!
    Blessings and love!

  2. Great point Martha, you really have to take action on your goals even if you are unsure of the outcome in order to achieve success. Just look what you've accomplished!

  3. I have to admit, I have a mixed relationship with goals. I sometimes think that they distract me from paying attention, to being present. On the other hand, when I want to get things done, like getting my book published last year, then goals and steps are essential.

  4. I think we all do Galen. I think of goals as a destination. Sometimes we like to hit the interstate and get there quickly. Sometimes we like to wander along the backroads and enjoy the scenery. Both means of travel have value. Either way, we need to know where we're going so we know when we get there.

  5. Lynne,
    This is a wonderful post especially at this time of year. I think it's extremely important to see what you want and to recognize your ability to make it possible. It is so easy to make excuses, actually, easier than actually doing anything about it but we both know wishing is not believing. You must see the vision and as you say work the plan(backward). It's the only way to get to where you wish you were.