Episode 30 – Do This to Be 30x More Successful (and feel happier too!)

I hope everyone had an amazing holiday season and is feeling at least somewhat rested and recharged, ready to tackle 2020.

Our kids are at an age where Christmas was just amazing. We did secret Santa where they each got to pick a present for one of their siblings and I was blown away at the level or care (and the incredible insight they had) in picking out the PERFECT gift for their person. They honestly seemed to be equally excited to present their carefully chosen and wrapped gifts as they were to open their own.

We are all still off, hanging out to recharge and reconnect. I always take a couple of weeks off while they are off  from school which is perfect timing for me after the chaos of the fall at the studio, back to back birthdays and of course getting ready for Christmas. I spent the first week just organizing and purging the house – it was the most freeing thing in the world to find new homes for so much of our clutter, AND my amazing family got on board with giving mostly experiences and less toys/physical gifts, so there was a lot less stuff coming in. So we are headed into the New Year feeling lighter and ready to go.

This is the time of year when everyone and their uncle is making, talking about and posting about their New Year’s resolutions. All of the things we want to change and improve in the next year – which is awesome, except that resolutions are really rigid. They are the decision to do or not to do something, while a goal is much for fluid and typically more successful. There needs to be a bit of bend to it in order for us to be successful and keep going because if it isn’t then it becomes a pass/fail situation and we tend to give up as soon as we hit our first bump in the road and “fail”. Goals leave more wiggle room for the inevitable chaos and ups and downs of life. We are working towards something, with the ability to adjust and redirect as needed and as long as we keep that goal top of mind a bump in the road isn’t going to derail us like it would with a rigid resolution.

But as a society we don’t set goals. (I’m hoping that all of you will hear this and go what?! Yes I do! But statistically that won’t be the case)

According to a study by Harvard business school 83% of people don’t have goals, 14% of people have goals in their heads and those 14% are generally 10X more successful than those without goals. And the big one? Only 3% of people actually take the time to write those goals down and THOSE people are 30X more successful than people without goals. Crazy right?!

Now take that a step further with another set of statistics – so less than 3% of people have written goals, and less than 1% actually review them each day. You are 42% more likely to actually achieve your goals if you write them down. Guys, this is crazy. With statistics like that how can you NOT set and write down goals?! I can’t imagine someone saying hey, if you take this pill each day you will automatically become almost 50% more likely to get what you want and you will be 30x more successful than you are now, and then saying “nah, no thanks, taking 5 minutes out of my day to take a pill isn’t worth it”. Umm no, we would be jumping ALL over that! So why aren’t we setting goals?

There are probably a bunch of reasons, with fear and doubt likely leading the pack. As usual those are our biggest enemies in this arena, but I suspect based on my own experience that some of it is based on goal setting dying off as we age. As teens or young adults we have SO MANY goals. There are so many things we need to achieve in order to become a real adult – get an education, start a business or land a great job, get a house, find a partner, get married, have a family. Obviously this is going to vary wildly from person to person – not everyone wants those things – but likely they have something else to fill that slot with.

As we continue on we check each of those things off our list. For me I did it all backwards and out of order – I started the business, then got education, then found the partner and got pregnant, then LOST the partner, then got back together and got pregnant again (someday I will tackle that whole story too because of all of my relationships, the one with my husband was probably the most interesting, but for now lets keep going) so I got pregnant again, then we got a place to live, and then finally with all of our beautiful children in tow we got married.

I was ecstatic. It was the PERFECT day. It was so much fun that our kids used to ask us if we could please get a divorce so that we could get back together and have another wedding. And I was so happy to have that last box ticked off my list. I was so completely and totally happy for all of 2 days. 2 days of joy and then I got slammed by the most overwhelming, bathroom floor seeking bout of depression of my life. My poor husband was expecting this blissful honeymoon phase and I become a complete mess of despair, anger, tears, and hopelessness.

I had heard of the post wedding blues, but honestly I didn’t think there was any chance of it affecting me. I wasn’t the typical bride. Actually I had handed off a ton of the planning to my talented and creative family because I was too busy with other things. I completely bought into the idea that this was something that affected wedding obsessed bridezillas and that wasn’t me because I thought I was focused way more on the marriage and relationship than the wedding itself.

To make things worse I felt completely ridiculous, and unjustified in my sadness. I had achieved everything I wanted, I had everything I had been working towards, wanting and wishing for and NOW I’m miserable? It makes zero sense… except for the part where it makes complete and total sense. The joy is in the journey. The joy is in having something to strive for and work towards. I hadn’t created any big goals past that point – and honestly the overwhelming majority doesn’t – and I had nothing left to really look forward to.

Interestingly, there are three chemicals that are responsible for creating the feelings of happiness in our brain. They are oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. Dopamine is the one that is relevant here because it is actually released when we are ANTICIPATING something, not when we get it. So when you are craving a cookie and you feel SOOO good getting that cookie – it’s the anticipation of the cookie that is making you feel that fabulous dopamine hit, not actually eating the cookie itself. Goals will have the same effect.

As soon as I figured out the issue and started setting new goals for my future, I started to feel the weight of that depression lift, and soon I was back to myself again. So from that experience I will add to the statistic that setting and writing down goals will not only make you 30X more successful than your goal free friends, but it will also give you a sense of purpose and add joy to your life.

Now to address some of that fear, doubt and overwhelm that prevents us from setting the goals in the first place. To some degree you kind of just have to acknowledge it and decide you don’t care. Push through and do it anyway, and then the fear loses some of its power.

But another thing you can do is to be conscious of how you are setting goals and how it makes you feel. Remember a few episodes back, Episode 26 on Busting Overwhelm? (If you haven’t listened to it, either pause this, go listen and come back or go listen as soon as this one is done) I recommend doing a brain dump and getting EVERY SINGLE THING that needed to be done down onto a piece of paper and then systematically going through and taking things off that you were going to decide not to do, prioritizing, delegating, outsourcing, and then finally tackling the list yourself. I want you to do almost the same thing when you are setting your goals. Take a piece of paper and drop every single thing you want to accomplish onto it. Dream huge, let your brain run wild, and write down everything without censoring or judging yourself. No one needs to see this paper, it can be as wild as you want. The point is just to let the ideas flow and let whatever it is that you are meant to do, whatever sets your heart on fire, find its way out because we tend to overthink and it can stamp out our actual dreams, causing us to follow the wrong path and end up lost.

Once you have your ridiculously glorious list, section it off into 3 categories. Personal, relationships, and work.

In personal will be all of the goals that you have to improve yourself this year. Self care. Education. Health and wellness. Mental breaks. Routines and habits. Anything and everything that you will do to recharge, improve and take care of you.

By the way, if one of your personal goals is to read more and learn more then I am going to strongly suggest downloading a free trial from audible because It is going to make tackling that particular goal a million times easier. Audible allows you to listen to your books, just like you are listening to this podcast, so that you can consume content on the go – while driving, walking the dog or even taking a bath. You can get a free one month trial with your first audiobook completely free by going to www.audibletrial.com/updraft.

Under relationships will be all of the things pertaining to the important people in your life. Family, friends, spouse or significant other. Maybe you are working on building new relationships, working in the ones you already have or fixing past fall outs, new parenting strategies, planning a family vacation or a getaway with your special someone so you can reconnect – whatever that looks like put them into the relationship category.

And last we have the work category. Fill it with anything you want to accomplish in your business or at work. Income goals, new ideas, outsourcing plans, website updates or brand revamps – all of that goes in the business category.

Ideally there should be goals in each, so that you are heading into a balanced year. Having all business goals will cause the other two areas to suffer and you will end up feeling burnt out. Having only relationship goals will likely leave you depleted and a little poor, and only personal goals will leave you lonely. So balance it out!

Looking at each of the goals in each categories, be super aware of how they make you feel and then start cutting things. Cut out the things that you don’t actually want, but accidentally wrote because you were trying to please someone else or make yourself look good to others. Cut out things that fill you with a dread. If there are goals that make your heart sing but feel 100% completely and totally overwhelming then break it down into a bunch of mini goals that lead to that place. Honestly, this is usually one of my biggest sticking points – I want the goal or the result of the goal but it seems huge and daunting. Cutting it down into small steps that lead down the same path takes away the pit in your stomach and allows you to actually move forward.

Prioritize the goals by considering what is most important, what is time sensitive and what goals would help you to accomplish the other things on the list. Put them in order, and if you are feeling extra ambitious grab a calendar and start plugging in the dates you are going to work on them, or have accomplished them by. If you are setting dates to accomplish then you will also want to add some reminders into the calendar to let you know that they are approaching so you don’t end up blindsided as it sneaks up on you.  

If you want to take things even further and become even more likely to achieve your goals, make progress and be more successful then research is telling us that writing them down daily and reviewing your progress is a MUST. It keeps you motivated and reminds you of what you are working on and why. It eliminates the risk of the year slipping by with nothing changing and having you setting the same exact goals (or resolutions) at this time next year. Now I will admit, this is not something I have managed to pull off in the past, but it is definitely going to be high on my priority list to start that as a new habit in 2020!

See you next week!

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