Do You Know These Three Goal-Setting Secrets? (Most People Don’t)

Sai de Silva, via Unsplash

If you ever see me in real life and happen to compliment me on something I’m wearing; I will be unable to stop myself from blurting out where I got it, so you can go get it too.

You: “Hey, Kate, nice sweater!”

Me: “Thanks, I got it at Nordstrom Rack!”

I just can’t help myself. (Even though it is starting to embarrass my daughter.)

There are a few next-level things I’ve learned about goal-setting in the last year or so that have been working so well for me that I feel compelled to share them with you (even though I know you didn’t ask). I hope they help you get pumped about what 2019 will bring.

Goal-setting secret #1: Write your goals down (and then re-read them regularly)

Writing down your goals (instead of just thinking about them) is so important! It gets them out of the realm of wishing and into the real world. It’s like saying to yourself and to the universe, “This is what I want.”

What makes this step even more powerful is to actually, you know, read them again. This helps you a) remember what they are and b) take a minute to check in on what you’ve done to work toward them.

That’s why this year I set a goal to look at my goals once a week—every Monday morning (when I’m not ready to dive into working anyway!), and Tuesday mornings if Monday’s a holiday.

Goal-setting secret #2: Give each goal a due date.

As you write down each goal, make sure you attach a deadline to each one. For example: Start working out at least once per week by January 23, 2019. I know it’s scary to write a date down—the ego starts hopping up and down and screaming, WHAT IF IT DOESN’T HAPPEN BY THEN?! WE WILL BE A FAILURE!! But setting a date does a few important things:

  • It helps you prioritize your goals. You’re going have to get started right away on the ones that are ‘due’ in a month; the ones you have until the end of the year can be a slower start.
  • It gives you a sense of urgency. When you see that you wanted something done before the start of the first month and you haven’t even taken the first step, it will light a fire under your butt!
  • It helps make your goal real. You can imagine what it will feel like to have done the thing by that particular day.

Goal-setting secret #3: Allow your identity to evolve.

To be the person who can inhabit a goal—especially one that scares you a bit—you’re going to have to allow yourself to transform in to the kind of person who has or does that thing you want.

If you’re wanting to radically modify your diet, for example, you have to let yourself become the person who makes different food choices.

And that means you’re going to have to let the current way you see yourself (as someone who eats whatever she wants whenever she feels like it) die. That’s not nearly as scary as it sounds. After all, life follows a cycle of death and then rebirth. If you had kids, your childless self had to die in order to transform into a mother. If you paid off a big debt, the idea you had of yourself as someone who owed a lot of money had to disintegrate in order for you to become a person who is debt-free.

To make this process gentler, it helps to acknowledge and release the person who you’ve been up to this point. I like to write her a letter and thank her for her service and all the things she helped me do and be, and then tell her that I’ve got it from here. Or, to write a letter as my future self, thanking me for doing all the things I did to make her goals come true. It might sound crazy. But if there’s a goal you tend to make again and again but never seem to make any headway on, you’re probably not fully willing to let yourself become that new person. It is safe to evolve. There’s so much goodness waiting for you when you do.

I’ll Show You My Goals… Show Me Yours?

  • Finish estate planning by 3/1/19
  • Start doing some form of high-intensity exercise at least 1x week by 1/21/19
  • Read 52 books by 12/31/19, keep a list
  • Participate in meaningful activism at least 1x month
  • Train myself to leave 10 minutes before I “need” to
  • Further organize my schedule to protect writing time and practice time
  • Speak up more–with friends, family, community
  • Start a book club by 2/1
  • Look over goals 1x week
  • Pitch a personal essay by 2/15
  • Take kids downhill skilling by 3/1
  • Launch How to Be a Better Person podcast by 3/15 (whee!!!) (lots more info about this to come but I’m doing this with a partner and co-host whom you are going to love!)

What are some of your goals for 2019? I’d love to hear. You leave a comment below, or direct message me or tag me on Instagram (@katehanleyauthor).

I’ll share a brief round-up of them in the next blog (anonymously, if you wish) so you can see what we’re all up to this year.

And if you’re still wondering what your 2019 goals should be, my book, How to Be a Better Person, has 401 possibilities for you to consider! You could even make it a goal to choose one of these suggestions a week to focus on, whether that’s writing a mission statement (page 147), leaving a love note in the cereal box (page 113), or taking a Sabbath (page 72). Available anywhere books are sold, including Amazon, or buy a signed copy here.

Photo credit: Sai de Silva, via Unsplash

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