by Jan Spence
“When I grow up, I’m going to be a nurse!” “A veterinarian!” “An astronaut!” “A dinosaur!”
Then you grew up and became a business leader (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
We tend to set our goals the same way we set our hopes and dreams. We plan big—lose 50 pounds—but then someone brings cupcakes to the office so we give up.
The reason is because traditional goal-setting doesn’t work! We strive so hard to reach for perfection, the smallest setbacks can cause us to stop trying altogether.
But it’s not too late if you just “Dare To Be Different!” Whether personal or professional, reaching your goals can be even easier than resisting those afternoon M&M’s.
Step 1. Discover your direction. Consult your inner GPS and identify your core values. Write down what you value most in life, your “non-negotiables” or how you will be remembered. Then tie those values to your goals. Your personal core values will drive your professional accomplishments. In other words, don’t give up your afternoon M&M’s if you love them.
Step 2. Seize the start. So you decide to lose 50 pounds, but where do you begin? Your first thought might be to stop eating your M&M’s. Don’t. Remember your core values!
Instead, think back to a time when you lost weight and didn’t hate it. Did you go for walks around the office building? Did you take mixed-martial arts classes? Did you dress up like a velociraptor and chase your toddler around the house for an hour?
Whatever worked in the past will work again. The important thing to remember is to get up and do something. Anything. Take action. Once you put on that sports bra, there’s no going back!
Bonus tip! Establish a time budget. You’ve got a set number of hours in a day to eat, sleep, work, commute, shop, cook, clean, squeeze in your hobbies and relax. What can you give up to accommodate the time you need to reach your goals?
It might be a volunteering role at work or school, or your favorite TV show. Align your time budget with your core values and it won’t feel like a sacrifice. Plus, you can record that show and watch it once you reach your goal as a reward.
Step 3. Embrace the experience. You ran three miles three times this week, but then you got a cold and then you had a business trip and then you had to go to your sister’s birthday party. It’s okay. I forgive you. Forgive yourself.
As long as you put that sports bra or velociraptor costume back on, you can still reach your goal. How much time did you spend beating yourself up over NOT exercising? And how much time did you spend celebrating that fact that you ran NINE WHOLE MILES last week? If you reward yourself for your successes, no matter how small, you’ll crave that reward moving forward.
Bonus tip! Share your vision. Sharing is caring, so share your goals with others who will support and encourage you. Find a buddy who will hold you accountable. Look within your community or the Internet for people on the same journey as you. Crazy things happen when you share. People offer help and praise and resources. The best part is all the friends you’ll have to celebrate with when you succeed!
My husband and I had a goal to become debt free several years ago. No, we didn’t sell all our prized possessions and stop drinking margaritas. We tied our goal to our core value—financial stewardship.
We bought a business with the intent to build it and sell it within five years. We faced setbacks and challenges, stress and long hours, and we made sacrifices. But we remembered our core values and never gave up. And we sold the business in only four years and became debt free.
Start today, determine what you want in life, tie in your core values, and take the first step toward a better future!
Jan Horton Spence is an international consultant, professional speaker, trainer and one-on-one business coach. She has used her knowledge of sales, marketing, and business operations to help numerous clients, including Pillsbury, Walmart, and Frito-Lay. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 904-821-9309.