Ep #3: How to Set Goals
Our purpose on this planet is to become the best version of ourselves. On this week’s episode we are going to talk about the importance of setting goals in our lives, and what it takes to turn those dreams into realities. I believe that goal setting is the most spiritual practice we can partake in, and really the most compassionate thing we can do for ourselves. Setting goals, believing in them, and ultimately achieving them allows us to remove the obstacles to understanding our greatness.
Listen to the show
What You will discover
- Why chasing happiness from a place of lacking is never the solution.
- We need to constantly be asking ourselves to bloom in a bigger way.
- Why you have to allow yourself to dream from a place of abundance.
- How to spend time wanting what you already have.
- Why one of most powerful things you can do is to write your goals down.
- It’s not about what you get from achieving a goal, but who you become.
Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
Welcome to The Life Coach School podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo. Hi, everybody. Thanks for joining me today. I am super stoked here. Today, I’m going to be talking to you about goals and goal setting. I know that this topic seems to be one of those topics that is like eyes glazed over, I have already learned this before whenever it comes to anyone who’s had experience in the self-help industry, and working with any kind of self-help coaching or life coaching, there’s always some kind of goal setting. I’m frustrated by this because I feel like there is this glossing over of actually writing out goals in some of these deeper spiritual, mental type of approaches as if the striving and the wanting to grow and achieve things is somehow not aligned with what we’re doing as coaches, and I really want to turn that around. I think that goal setting is the most spiritual practice. I think it is the most compassionate, wonderful thing we can do for ourselves. Let me just speak to that for a minute because when I get pushed back from clients or from my students about goal setting, and they come to me and they’re like, “Hey. I’ve been working my whole life, I was a workaholic, I’m striving, striving, striving, always just pushing through my emotions and never really focusing on what I was feeling or connecting with myself or being in the present moment, I was always setting goals, and now I feel like I’ve finally found a way to be present in the moment, and I’m to accept that there is really no future and no past or just this present moment that I have. Now, you’re asking me to consider going into my future and thinking about goals. I feel like that takes me out to the present moment and pulls me into more of a unacceptance of where I am in that.” My answer to that is always listen. I am always wanting to teach people to stay connected to themselves. I always wanted my clients to feel their feelings. I’m always telling them that there is no old thoughts. There’s no thoughts that are from your past that you’re pulling into your present. This moment right now and being connected to it is the most important thing, but here’s my thought on this. I think we can and I think we should be in our present moment accept to this present moment and allow ourselves to dream and set goals from a place of abundance. What I mean by that is we are so often taught that what we want in our lives is because of something we’re lacking. If we don’t feel happy, then we should strive to get something to make ourselves happy. That my friends is the problem. That will never ever solve itself, and that’s why there’s always going to be this hamster wheel of chasing and chasing and chasing happiness. Now, if you’ve listened to the first couple of podcast, I have summarized the important concept that all of our feelings including happiness come from our mind, from our thoughts, so there is no happiness that we are going to find in our future that we don’t already have now. That is really important to remember. If happiness comes from our mind and from our thinking, then achieving something or gaining a future goal at some future moment is not going to increase our capacity for happiness, and that you must understand. The point of having goals is not so we can achieve them and be happier than we are today. The reason to have goals is because our purpose on this planet is to evolve … This is my opinion of course, into the best version of ourselves. The way to do that is to constantly be asking ourselves to bloom in a bigger way. I think goals are the best way for us to do that. Now, when you think about a goal or you think about a dream or something that you want to achieve, first, when you first think about it, it may seem something like something that is unachievable, something way beyond your current abilities. That process of dreaming and thinking about that in this present moment is what brings all of the stuff up that is preventing us from believing in a deeper way. This is not to say that we need to arrive there to become a better person. What it means is setting goals and believing in them enough to achieve them will bring up those obstacles, will bring up the things blocking us from our deeper greatness. We’re not going to be any better. We’re not going to be any greater, but we will have removed any obstacles that’s blocking us from knowing how great we are. Now, that is a very big difference. Let me tell you my process for setting goals and why I’d really like to do them. The first reason I already gave you was because it asks me to remove any blockages to me believing that there’s anything that I can achieve. The second thing I like about goals is goals really give your brain a direction. They create a deliberate focus for your brain. Now, in previous podcasts, I’ve talked about how the brain is like an unsupervised child. It will go on, thinking thoughts that may be very detrimental, that may be hurting us, that may be causing us to go in a direction we don’t want to go. Now, if we are focusing on a goal, focusing on something that we want, having our attention and our deliberate concentration on that tells the brain what to do. It provides it with structure and supervision. Now, having that goal in your life, that direction in your life is really just providing supervision and structure for your brain, so I highly recommend that you do that. I really think that you can predict where you’re going to be in your life by what you’re telling your brain to think about. Remember, your thoughts create your feelings which drive your actions, which ultimately give you your results. This is going to happen either way. You’re going to always be creating your results. Results don’t just happen to you, and goals are a way of deciding what you want those results to be instead of just doing it haphazard and letting your brain decide without any deliberate intent. I’m going to go through very briefly the goal process. The first thing that you need to think about is do you even dream? Do you even allow yourself to want? Do you think about the future? Do you plan on what you want to create? Many of my clients come to me and they have done nothing of the sort. They are so busy putting out fires in their life and reacting to everything that’s going on in their life that they don’t have a plan of what they want to create. They haven’t allowed themselves to dream. The reason why and I alluded to this earlier is most of us have only allowed ourselves to want from a place of scarcity, so every time we wanted something or dreamt about something, it’s because we feel the lack of it. We feel like we don’t have it. When we start dreaming about it, it actually causes us pain, because the dreaming is just reminding us that we don’t have it, and it’s reminding us of that feeling of negativity and scarcity and the lack that we’re having. People stop dreaming because they don’t want that contrast, they don’t want to think about what they want versus what they have. The first thing you really need to do is come from a place of abundance. Now, people will say, “Okay. That’s easy for you to say if you have an abundant life,” right? One of the best ways I know how to get to that place of wanting from abundance is to make a list of 25 things that you want. Now, typically, when I give this assignment to my clients, they will make a list of 25 things they want and not one thing on that list will be something that they already have, and so I’ll have them redo the list and I’ll say, “Okay. Every other thing you put on that list, have it be something that you really want but you already have it.” Most of us don’t spend time wanting what we have. We don’t think of wanting as from a place of abundance. We think of wanting as something that we don’t have. The first practice is to really start thinking about things that you want that you already have. For example, I really want to be married. I love being married, and I am, My husband’s name is Chris, and I’m married to him and I want him, and I want to be married, and I really want to have two children, and I do. I have Christian and Connor. Those are my babies. They are not really babies anymore. They are almost 13 and 14, but I think of them as my babies always, and I really want to have two healthy children that are happy, and I do. I really want to have a house that I’ve created and that is designed based on my aesthetic and crown molding everywhere and the color white everywhere. I do have that, and that’s what I want. I want to have a life where I have a lot of freedom to make my own decisions about what I do with my day, and what I do with my weeks, and what I do with my life. I do have that. I have that because I’m a life coach, and because that’s how I support myself, and my husband and I support our family. That’s the first thing. It’s different than just being grateful for those things. It’s a different kind of energy, and you really need to practice wanting what you already have. I like to trick the mind a little bit. The way that I like to do it is say, “I really want to be married, and I really want to have two children, and I really want to take my family to Australia.” Now, taking my family to Australia is something I haven’t done yet. It’s something I want that I don’t yet have. I smush it in there with the thing that I want that I already have. Then, on the other side of that, I could say, “I really want a white Mercedes with tan interior.” Now, that’s something that I wanted a long time, and now I have it. I’ve taken two things that I really want that I already have, and right in the middle, I’ve made a little sandwich. Right in the middle of there, I’ve put something that I really want that I don’t yet have. Go on and do this for 25, something that you want that you already have, something that you want that you don’t yet have, and then go back, so you see that you’re wanting but you’re wanting from a place of abundance. That’s really the first step. The next step is to really get specific. I like to talk about my goals in the first person and in the present tense, so I am going to Australia in 2016, and I am bringing my kids, and I am going to spend 10 days, and I am going to fly first class, and I am going to fly Virgin Air. Really get specific. The more specific you can get, the better. Talk about timeframes, talk about dates, talk about amounts … The more specific you can be, the better. Now, the only thing that you don’t include at this stage is the how, because your brain will want to block you. It will want to knock you down because it will start wanting to figure out, “How are you going to do that? How are you going to do this?” At this point, you don’t need to know the how, so don’t worry about the how at this point. You’re just going to think about the what and the when, and the amount. Now, allow yourself to stretch here. Maybe think a little bit bigger than you’re really ready to believe. It’s okay to push that envelop a little bit. Now, this step is one of the most important steps. You must write it down. I don’t know what it is, I don’t have the research, I know there’s all sorts of crazy urban myths out there about writing down goals. I just know from my personal experience that when you get it out of your brain and on to a piece of paper, it has suddenly become real outside of your imagination. That is powerful. Not only do you write it down so you can look at it and adjust it, and move it around a little bit, but so you can read it every single day. Now, here’s your warning. As soon as you do this, as soon as you allow yourself to want from a place of abundance, and you written down your 25 things, and then you’ve picked one of those and you’ve written a goal and made it very specific, what will happen especially if you’ve stretched yourself with that goal, what will happen is fear, doubt, shame will come up. This does not mean anything has gone wrong. This is part of the process. This is the most important part of the process. If negative emotion doesn’t come up, it probably means that you’re not stretching yourself. You’re not pushing yourself beyond your current comfort zone. Your brain likes to maintain the status quo. That is what it was designed to do. It was designed to be efficient, to learn quickly and to adapt. Your brain will look for what you tell it to look for. As soon as you start introducing new things and stretching it and asking it to go outside of its comfort zone, all of a sudden, those emotions are going to come up because you’re going to have thoughts that you haven’t normally had. You don’t have efficient thoughts to support this goal. That’s the point of having it. It’s not what you get from achieving the goal, it’s who you become. You come up against your fear and your doubt and your disbelief and your shame, and know that that’s part of it. As you process through that, that’s where you learn … First of all, you learn how to process through that negative emotion, you also learn how to pay attention to your own mind as you go through goal setting, and that skill in and of itself is what will allow you to continue to set and be goals. As you set your goal and you start noticing the negative emotion, you will also notice the negative thinking. Sometimes, it doesn’t alarm you because it’s not nasty. A lot of times, the thinking will sound like this, “I don’t know. I’m not sure. I’m confused. Maybe this isn’t the right thing. Maybe I should wait a while. Maybe I should change my mind.” Those thoughts will block you from pursuing your dreams. ‘I don’t know’ is one of the biggest dream stealers of any thought I’ve ever come across. I have so many clients, I have so many dreams, and they block themselves by saying, “I just don’t know. I don’t know how, I don’t know if this is what I want, I don’t know if I could ever do it …” Just know that those thoughts will appear, and with them will come fear, disbelief, doubt, shame. Okay? That’s all part of the process. It doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong, it doesn’t mean you have to change anything. At that point, you really need to have a look at those thoughts, write them down. I do a process that I call ‘The Thought Download’. I start writing down all the doubtful thoughts, all the disbelief thoughts. I know that they’re supposed to be there, and I just write them all down. Then, what I do is I go to the place where the goal is already accomplished. I do a little process with myself where I go into the future, and it’s already done. The goal has been completed, and I look back on the thoughts that I just wrote down, and I address them from a place of the goal being completed. It’s a very powerful process, and I highly encourage you to do it. It’s a lot with that like that quote, “What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?” Think about that. If you go to the place where it’s already done, and you’re looking at yourself now saying, “I just don’t know how to do it. I just don’t know if this is the right decision,” you will be able to meet your mind from a place of knowing. That is powerful. Then, from that place, you write your action plan. That’s the how. Now, if these negative thoughts keep coming up and blocking you, you have to stop, go back, address those thoughts, have a look at them, really evaluate them and know that they’re just thoughts that are choices. You don’t have to believe them, and that they’re presenting to your mind in an effort to protect you. It’s an illogical process that happens in our brain. We have to acknowledge it and pay attention to it, and then we go right past it. Once you’ve arrived in your mind at this place where that goal is already accomplished, then you do the action plan backwards. What I like to do is I like to assume the place of my future self that has already accomplished this goal, and then I tell myself how I accomplished it. If I want to make a million dollars, I start where I’ve already made it, and then I tell myself how I made the last 200,000, and then I tell myself how I made the last 500,000, and then I keep going back, back, back. You will be so blown away by how much wisdom you give yourself within yourself. By just being able to check out of all those negative thoughts that you’re having, you will have so much more knowledge than you even know. Now, there may be instances and there probably will be where there will be things that you just literally don’t know the mechanics of. You don’t really know how to record a podcast, or you don’t really know how to set up a website, or you don’t really know how to make a sale. Those are the specifics of instead of these generalities, “I don’t know how to make a million dollars.” You do know. You just write it down, you do the math, this is how much money you need to make, this is how many sales you need to make, this is how many people you need to sign depending on what you’re doing, and then what you can do is access your own mind and say, “This is how I’m going to figure it out. This is what I really genuinely don’t know, and here is how I will solve that not knowing.” It will be very clear to you, because it’s like what Marie Forleo says. She says, “Everything is figure outable.” I love that. It’s really true. If there are things that you haven’t quite got your finger on, then that’s part of your action plan is to learn how to do those things, and it’s really important to break them down into small steps. If you have a year-long goal, you need to break it down by month. If you have a 25-year goal, you need to break it down by the year, and then down by the month, and then down to the week. The more detail you can give yourself about your action plan for your goal, the better. Now, obviously, when I’m teaching goal setting, we take this all down to the nitty-gritty detail and we get right down to it. I want to offer you one more thing that I think is really powerful when you’re doing an action plan. One of the things that I like to do is what I call a ‘Do goal’. When I have a goal, the example I like to use is like I have many clients come to me and say, “I really want to meet the man of my dreams, and I really want to start dating.” I’ll say, “If you’re really serious about it, if you really want to find someone that you enjoy spending time with, how about you go on 200 dates in the next year?” I’ve suggested this to more than one client. Some of them are like, “I’m not really sure that I want to date someone that much, like I’m not really committed to that. That doesn’t seem like a good idea.” Other clients will say to me, “Wait a minute. If I went on 200 dates, I would probably go on a lot of really bad dates, but I might increase my chances of going on some good dates,” and “I’m totally committed to finding someone, and that’s what I’m going to do.” It’s so fun to watch them and do that because one of the things that’s great about goal setting and especially do goals … One of my master coaches said it funny one way. She was talking about do goals, and I said, “Did you just say do goals?” Now, we call ‘Do goals, do goals’. What it is is you just set yourself up so the chances of not getting your result are so slim to none, like if I need to find one person to work at a certain position at the school, and I interview 300 people, the chances of me finding someone for that job are pretty darn good. If I’m only willing to interview two people, I’ve just lessened my chance. The do goal is something where I’m pretty much guaranteeing I’m going to find someone for that position, and that’s the same for all of us. If you really want to be able to run a marathon maybe, then maybe your do goal is to run 10 miles a day. I mean, I’m not suggesting … First of all, I’m not suggested anyone run 10 miles a day. I’m not running a marathon any time soon, but I’m just suggesting that you think bigger and what you can do is if you set yourself up with do goals that you know you can do and you know will get you the result you want, your motivation level will go through the roof. Just try it out. Play around what could be a do goal for a result you want, what could be a do goal for a goal you have? Maybe your goal is to go to Australia like one of mine is. How much time and energy are you willing to put into researching it? How many calls are you willing to make? How many airlines are you willing to research? How many contest are you willing to enter to help pay for the air fare? What are you really willing to do? What kind of do goal do you have for the result you want? Now, the other thing that I want to add, and then I’ll end it up here because I could talk about this all day. One of the things that is so amazing about setting goals and really doing some do goals too and some action plans to achieve those goals is not necessarily what you achieve when you achieve the goal, but what Dan Sullivan calls ‘The Strategic By-Products’ along the way. As you are going through the process of achieving your goal, you’re overcoming your doubts, your fears, you’re taking actions, you’re putting yourself out there. You are going to have things happen that wouldn’t happen otherwise. You’re going to meet people you wouldn’t have met. You’re going to have experiences you wouldn’t have experienced had you not have this goal. If you take the example of my client who’s on her … trying to go on 200 dates, she will meet 200 new people. She will probably go to new restaurants, new places. She may not date all of them, but she may make some new friends. She will become a different version of herself. Even if she doesn’t meet the guy at the end, the process of going through that do goal, the process of taking that action will bring her into more of who she is because she will have to overcome so many fears, doubts, frustrations … I mean, can you imagine how many dates she’s going to have to go on that are going to be miserable? What will she learn about herself, about other people, about dating … What will she get really good at? That is something you can’t really anticipate before. You start working towards your goal. When I started really determine … When I was really determined to lose weight, I had no idea that within that process, I would learn how to manage my mind. I would learn how to connect with my feelings. I just wanted to lose weight. I had no idea that I would then write a book about it and then start helping other people about it, and then I would start a career around it, and then I would build a school to teach other people how to do it. Those are all strategic by-products I have from the goal of wanting to lose weight and not just the goal, not just having the goal, but taking the massive action that I took to figure it out. That’s what I want to invite you to do. I want to invite you to dream, I want to invite you to be really specific and write it down. I want to invite you to allow the fear, shame and doubt to come up, write down the thoughts that come up that are obstacles in your way of achieving your goal, and take all of those thoughts and put them on the side burner while you go to the place where that goal is already achieved, and you access the wisdom of your future self and how you were able to achieve it and then break it down into an action plan, and then pimp out that action plan by making it a do goal. In that process, whether you achieve that goal ultimately or not, you will become a more clear, clean, in touch, evolved version of yourself because you will have to go through the process of facing yourself and seeing yourself by pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. That is something I want for all of you, and I really want to encourage you to not just stay in your comfort zone because who you are and who you actually express to the world will be so much more visible not just to you, but to everybody else if you’re willing to continuously set goals, write them down and overcome the mental obstacles that appear in our way. There is nothing that you genuinely want that you can’t have. What you want is really important information. In fact, I think what you want is the GPS direction to the life that you’re meant to have for your very best self. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you about goal setting. I’m going to add some resources there into the show notes, and I would love to hear please in the comments put your goal, your want what you have chosen for yourself down there in those comments and I will read every single one of them. For sure, I will be cheering you on for anything that you genuinely want in your life. It’s been my pleasure to be with you today. I’ll talk to you soon. Thank you for listening to The Life Coach School podcast. It would be incredibly awesome if you would take a moment to write a quick review on iTunes. For any questions, comments or coaching issues you’d like to hear on the show, please visit us at http://www.TheLifeCoachSchool.com.