The New Year is at the door! No doubt, the majority of the world has already thought about resolutions. Promising as they may sound, resolutions can actually set one up for failure. Today’s episode provides a sharp contrast between stating a resolution and setting a goal. However, goal-setting is way deeper and achievable than merely saying or thinking about what we want. Arlene provides tips on how to set up a goal the SMART way. She also provides applications of setting up goals both in our personal and professional lives. Still, what if things don’t work out the way you want them to? Today’s episode also gives wisdom to look at failures with a constructive frame of reference. Knowing the difference between resolutions versus goals, and success versus failure, can make a difference in the quality of our lives. The SMART method for setting achievable, life changing goals is knowledge that works all year round for short- and long-term goals. Tune in and find out how to set up for a successful and fulfilling year.
“Resolutions by themselves set us up for failures, but goals with action steps set us up for success.” -Arlene Gale
00:56 The Perfect Set-Up for Failure
05:45 The S-M-A-R-T way to Set Up Goals
15:55 How to Set Up Personal Goals
21:00 How to Set Up Professional Goals
23:08 What If You’re Failing?
26:55 Is Your Goal to Write a Book?
01:03 “Making resolutions is setting ourselves up for failure.” -Arlene Gale
02:22 “Resolutions or dreams that come without any action plan are simply illusions and don’t serve any purpose. They do not propel us forward and they do not set us up for success.” -Arlene Gale
05:16 “Resolutions set us up for failures and goals with action steps set us up for success.” -Arlene Gale
23:47 “Failures, sometimes, shines the light on what is missing. So it’s not a failure; it’s a gain in knowledge or information. Don’t be afraid to fail.” -Arlene Gale
25:09 “instead of giving up, give yourself some grace.” -Arlene Gale
Arlene Gale is an expert in helping people tell their stories to build business. She combines decades of business marketing, communicating, and writing expertise to direct clients past damaging business mindsets, myths, and misconceptions toward powerful and profitable business-building success. Arlene is a top notch business strategist. She has helped hundreds of clients, in a variety of industries, earn millions of dollars in business as a result of writing & publishing credibility-building books. She helps clients duplicate these results from start to finish, including writing book proposals earning main stream publishing contracts, before the book is written. If it needs to be written, Arlene can do it, and do it in such a way that it generates income. She has written thousands of feature magazine articles, hundreds of business plans establishing short- and long-term goals, written and produced hundreds of television and radio advertisement, and more.
Website: BookWritingBusiness.com and ArleneGale.com
Arlene Gale: Welcome. Today, we’re talking about the myths and mindsets, and comparing the ideas of making resolutions versus setting goals. When we approached the end of one year and get close to the start of the next, people start talking about, or thinking about, and planning to make their new year’s resolutions. But I kinda want to drop this on you, in my opinion, just making a resolution or making resolutions is setting ourselves up for failure, which also brings me to talk about one of my biggest pet peeves.
Ready? Here it comes. When people say things like, Oh, dream big. Well, you gotta be successful by having big dreams. Yeah, that’s what it takes. Well, to that advice or wisdom, I just have to say, or bah humbug, because dreams in and of themselves are illusions. Dreams by themselves without any kind of action plan have no basis in reality. Resolutions and dreams are based on illusions of the future, based on what we visualize that we would like to have happen. The ideas, the pictures we have in our minds on what would happen in a perfect world, this is what we’d like to have done, for example. Well, there’s deep seated hope in these illusions, but again, in my opinion, resolutions or dreams that come without any kind of action plan, or action steps, or a way to execute how we’re going to get from here to there don’t really serve any purpose. They do not propel us forward, and they do not set us up for success. But for some reason, people set resolutions every year.
Some people even set the same resolution over and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. The same resolution. Huh? Are you one of these people? I bet you know some people who are quote one of these people. Well, I have to confess, I really do because there are times when I’m one of those people. So in an effort today to be completely honest, and vulnerable, and transparent, I need to tell you this. My goal today in discussing this topic of the difference between a resolution that you make for yourself versus setting goals with action plans is as much a reminder or a warning for me as it is to have this goal that I want to provide some insight and direction for you. Because I’m not perfect, I’ve never claimed to be perfect. And if you want verification of that fact, let me know, and I’ll give you my teenage son’s phone numbers because they’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not perfect, and that’s okay. I can live with that.
And it’s good to have these kinds of reminders to help set me back on a good footing in moving in a positive direction. So the bottom line is that, if you’re wanting to set new year’s resolutions versus goals, if you just want to sit around and dream versus take action, I request from you is to stop the insanity, because doing the same thing over, and over, and over again, expecting different results is really the definition of insanity. Most of you have heard that before, right? So how about we make a pack? What’d you join me in this pack? This goal that instead of setting resolutions, let’s set goals. Because again, the problem is not so much in the resolution itself, or the dream itself. The problem is that neither a resolution nor a dream have any action steps to move us towards our goals. So instead, let’s create goals and let’s create action steps to go with those goals so that we can be successful. You in this packed with me? Because resolutions set us up for failures, and goals with action steps set us up for success.“Resolutions set us up for failures and goals with action steps set us up for success.” -Arlene Gale Click To Tweet
And after all, isn’t that what each of us want is to be successful? So let’s start here. Let’s be smart about goal setting. Yes, I said it. Let’s be smart about goal setting. And while that is absolutely true that we need to be smart about the goals that we set and the action steps that we plan to take. Smart also is an acronym for setting goals, and so I want to talk about the smart method or smart process for setting achievable goals. So first of all, smart, if you break it down to the acronym, the S stands for specific. The M stands for measurable. The A is for achievable. The R is for relevant. And the T is for tying based. Because great goals that set us up for success, that are achievable are well-defined and help us to focus.
Let me give you an example. If you have a goal without a measurable outcome, it’s hard to hold yourself accountable to that goal. It’s hard to see ourselves or set ourselves up as winners. For example, let’s think about sporting events. Is there a point for two teams to play in the Super Bowl if there’s no measurable outcome, we can’t tell who’s won or lost. There’s no scorekeeper, and it doesn’t matter if we’re also talking about the world cup of soccer, or if we’re talking about the world series in any sporting event, have we achieved our goal, or has the team achieved its goal, if it plays in one of these highest games, but there’s no score, there’s no measurable outcome, I would say no. What do you say? Let’s use this example too. If you have a great cookie recipe, or a recipe that’s been handed down for generations, and you absolutely love it, and you want to duplicate it, you have all the ingredients, you have all the right measuring tools and everything, but your recipe you discover doesn’t tell you what the temperature in the oven should be. It doesn’t tell you the amount of time that those cookies should be in the oven, so you’re most likely going to end up with either raw cookies or burnt cookies. Neither one of those are good, and that’s why every one of these steps in goal setting is smart for you to pay attention to and to set as part of your plan. So let’s break these down a little bit. Let’s start with specific, specific really has to do with the who, what, when, where, why of goal setting. For example, who needs to be involved in helping you achieve this goal? Is it a spouse? A child? A coworker? Who is it? Because part of identifying who needs to be involved in setting the goal is to discuss that goal with them and get their buy in. Because if you want to go to the beach and scuba dive, and you want to take your spouse with you, and they hate the beach, and they even hate scuba diving more than that, they’re probably not going to buy in, which means that you’re going to have a hard time achieving your goal. In a professional setting, if you have a plan, or if you have goals, an annual budget for example, or a growth strategy for your client base, and your underlings or your coworkers don’t buy into that plan, chances are you’re not going to be able to meet those goals. So that’s what I mean about the WHO and being specific, so that you can set goals that are achievable. Why is this goal, or achieving this goal important to you? What difference will it make in your businesses bottom line, for example. What difference might it make to your relationship, any relationship? Why is this important to you? And how important is this goal? Let’s say that on a scale of 1 to 10, you set the importance of this goal. That’s what it means by being specific.
How measurable is your goal? That’s the M part of smart. To set a goal that’s reachable, there needs to be some sort of a timeline and a measuring tool. For example, if you have a short term goal that says, for example, you’re going to meet it in three months, you want to know that between here and there that you’re on track, so you may have some measuring tool that says, I’m going to check back in to see where we are on each of these action steps every week, or every two weeks. If you have a longer term goal that says maybe you’re going to get from here to there in five years, well, you don’t want to check in on this and four years or even three years, and realize that you got completely derailed because then you’re not going to achieve the goal. So maybe you set a goal with action steps that are doable in 30 day increments, or some might be 30 days, and some might be 60 day increments, but you still have a timeline for measuring that you are staying on track. Maybe there’s a measuring tool that has to do with, if you’re wanting to have client growth, there’s a percentage over every 60 day or 90 day period that you can track. Maybe bringing back repeat customers is something you want to track. Maybe a bank account is something, or bank balance is something that you want to measure over certain periods of time. So what are you going to do to create boundaries to make your goal and your action steps measurable? The A stands for attainable or achievable. Do you need to first set a goal, or an action step within the goal that will require you to learn a new skill, for example. Do you need any new tools in your business toolbox to move towards the goal? Or any tools, or any outside help that you need to seek in strengthening a relationship, for example.
These little steps are things that, sometimes when people are setting goals, they create action steps, and they know they want to get from here to there, and they have an idea of some of the steps they need to take. But when they look back or they measure, they realize their goal is not attainable because they’re missing something. Maybe in a professional environment you need to learn a new technology. Maybe you need to grow your business by taking on a sub category or a secondary category of a target market. So that’s what kind of things you need to look at to make sure that your goal and your action steps are achievable. Is your goal relevant? Does this goal make sense in the short term or the long run in your personal or professional life? And can you reassess the relevance of this goal based on changes in finance, or personal relationships, or other things going on in your life? Because absolutely, you know what? You’re going to have a well defined action plan, and then life’s going to happen, and life’s going to derail you if you let it. So instead, you need to reassess the relevance of your goal. And it doesn’t mean that this goal needs to come off your plan. Maybe it just needs to have the dates or the measuring tool revamped a little bit. And then finally time-bound. Each one of the goals should have boundaries related to realistic timelines. And that’s what makes the difference, again, between resolutions or dreams versus goals. Resolutions and dreams are just wishes, they are illusions. Goals come with action steps that are implementable, that are time bound. So time bound means setting deadlines. If it’s a short term goal that maybe completed in two or three months, make sure that you hold yourself accountable to that two or three months.
Don’t drag it out for six months just so that it’ll be easier for you to do, for example. No cheating, because what you’ve done is you’ve cheated yourself from achieving that goal and other goals in a more timely manner. If it’s a longer goal, again, set up checkpoints to make sure that you’re still on track. Because after all, if you have a goal that has action steps that will take you a year to achieve, or two, or three, or four years to achieve, you don’t want to get 90% towards that timeline and then realize that you got derailed three, or four, or five months, or a year earlier. It’s a whole lot easier to come back on the right path if you’re not too lost. So all of these elements of the smart formula, the specific measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound will allow you to set goals that fulfill your dreams, that help you achieve your resolutions by developing an action plan. So we’re going to talk a little bit more after this break about some hints in creating smart goals and smart action steps, and maybe even some of the pitfalls too. So stay tuned. We’ll be right back to Mindset Meets Mastery with Arlene Gale after this short break.
Welcome back to Mindset Meets Mastery with Arlene Gale because today we’re going to have some specific examples applying the smart method to your personal or professional life as we move forward into the next year. We’re going to talk about personal and professional goals. Let’s start with an example of what a personal goal might be. Maybe you want to save money, we all want to save money, right? I mean, the only thing we need more of is time and money, right? Everything else would be so much easier, but we’re going to talk about how you saved money, for example, with the goal to buy a new car, a more reliable car, or to put a down payment on a house, or maybe take that dream vacation to celebrate, I don’t know, milestone birthday, or a big anniversary, or maybe you’re planning for a honeymoon in the next year or so. These are all great examples of personal goals. So let’s start for example, just using the vacation. Maybe a vacation has been something that’s been out of reach for you, but you do have that dream destination. So how do you use the smart principle, the smart method to be able to achieve this goal? First, you think about who’s going with you, and you ask them, Hey, you want to go on this vacation with me? You want to go on this honeymoon? And then you discuss where do you want to go. You pick a location or two, and you come to an agreement. For example, one of you likes the beach, one of you likes the mountains, one of you wants to go tour Europe on bicycles, and another one wants to go sit on a cruise ship. Maybe the ultimate deciding factor on where you go and what you do is based on the budget. So the first thing is to come up with your top two, even three destinations, places. Select a time, timeframe, or a date that you want to go.
Do you want to go on the wintertime, for example. Would that be January or February? Or do you want to go in the summer? Would that be July or August? So a timeframe at this point is if you’re flexible is a good thing to have in mind. Then comes that pesky creating a budget. How are you going to get to where you want to be, your transportation? Is it by airplane? Are you going to take a cruise ship? Or are you going to do a driving tour of Europe? Or of the United States? What is the transportation, and what does that likely to cost you? That needs to go on the budget. What is the lodging gonna cost? Are you gonna carry tents with you and stay in parks? Are they entry fees? What are they? Are you going to stay in a hotel, or a bed and breakfast? Or are you going to go on a cruise ship and lodging already included in that transportation budget? What are the tours, or the location, places that you want to go see, or things that you want to do while you’re on the vacation, and what are the costs? Make sure you include your budget the food per day costs plus the number of times, the number of days that you’re going to be gone. Include other things like maybe you need a budget for clothing. If you live in a hot location and you’re going someplace to go snow skiing, then absolutely you’re going to need some clothes. If you’re talking about you live in a winter wonderland that’s very, very cold, and instead you want to go someplace warm for that winter, there needs to be a budget for clothes. So let’s say you do all of this and you determine that your budget is going to cost you about $5,000 So if the departure day is a year away, then you divide that budget by 52 weeks, and that’s how much you’ll need to save each week in order to make this happen. Or let’s just say in a year you’re going to make your airplane reservations, so you need to have this money saved by that time. There are a lot of variables, but the point is at least you’re starting to create concrete action steps to gather information to get you from here to there. So let’s say that you decided to save X number of dollars per week, and in a month, or every month you decide to check your savings account to see whether you are able to achieve that goal or not. If you were then, yay, keep going, keep gathering information and setting plans in place. You want to figure out when is the best time to buy your airfare tickets? When does the cruise ship book? So you have the amount of money you need when you need to do those things. If you’re not on track, then you need to go back and examine why you’re not on track. Where is that money going instead? If it’s you had some sort of a medical emergency, then the response is give yourself grace and push your deadline out a few months if you need to, or increase the amount of money that you’re going to save to stay on schedule with your goal. There are a variety of ways to handle it, but if you don’t know why you’re off track, you can’t get back on track, or you can’t extend the track to get you to where you want to be. Now, this simple formula, or this simple process works if you are setting a professional goal too. So let’s say for example, a professional goal might be to move out of your home office because it’s getting cramped, and you want to expand into a brick or mortar location.
Or maybe you want to open a branch location in a different city because where you’re working right now, your current branch location is working out great. Maybe there’s a need to hire an assistant or more employees. Maybe you want to have a destination retreat this coming year for new and existing clients. There are these and so many other goals that you can implement on a personal level, or a professional level. So the goal is to use the smart process and break these goals into action steps, into bite size pieces. That’s the bottom line, bite size pieces to achieve your goals. Let’s say for example, in a professional environment, you are an expert in a specific marketplace, and that marketplace knows you, loves you, and hires you, but now you want to expand by going into an additional marketplace, and that’s great, but what goals do you have to set to be able to move into that marketplace? Or maybe the goal itself is moving into that marketplace, so what’s the action step? What are the new technologies you might need to learn to move into that additional target market and expand your business? So technologies, what are the specific applications of your expertise that are specific to this new target market? Where do the people in this target market hang out? Where do they get their services? Where do they get their products? Who do they buy from? So in other words, who is your competition? By taking that one goal of expanding your business place, and then adding action steps, and gathering information is going to help you along the path to success. So you might be thinking to yourself, but Arlene, so what happens if I did all of these things you’re suggesting I do, and I set up the smart method of achieving goals with tangible action steps, and I’m failing. I’m not getting any closer to reaching my goals.
Well, you know what? Thank you for asking that question cause it’s a great question. So the first thing I would say to you is, and this is a big thing, so hear me please. When you’re setting goals, and creating action steps, and you feel like you failed at something, first of all, reset that mindset because failures really are only opportunities to learn, to reassess how you get back on your path and achieve your goals. Failures sometimes shine the light on what is missing. So it’s not a failure, it’s a gain in knowledge or information. So don’t be afraid to fail.“Failures, sometimes, shines the light on what is missing. So it's not a failure; it's a gain in knowledge or information. Don't be afraid to fail.” -Arlene Gale Click To Tweet
Don’t be afraid to step back, and look at what you’ve laid down as your action steps, and review them, and see maybe there’s something missing. Maybe there needs to be an additional item put in there. Let me give you this example. If you create an action step that you’re going to walk every day to increase your strength and stamina, that’s the goal. The action steps would be, okay, I’m going to do this outside every day. But what happens if it rains, or it snows, or you get sick, and you can’t walk every day? You’ve set yourself up for failure, so how do you reassess? How do you get back on target? One way maybe that you create a plan B, where is it that you can go inside to walk, so you meet your goal. What if you set that you’re going to walk every day and you get sick, and so you just give up. Life happens and you gave up. Well, instead of giving up, maybe give yourself some grace and say, you know, I’m feeling better now and I’m going to get back to this goal, but maybe walking everyday is not realistic.“instead of giving up, give yourself some grace.” -Arlene Gale Click To Tweet
So I’m going to start by walking three days this week, and maybe next week, and instead of walking a mile or two miles, I’m going to start with a half a mile for the next week and go up to a mile the week after that, and stay there until I feel like I can grow my goal to two miles. Let me ask you this question too, have you set a goal to walk every day and you own nothing but high heel shoes? Maybe that’s a missing action step in achieving your goals. So look at things like that. Maybe some of your goals or some of your action steps are not being achieved because your priorities have changed. The relevance of this goal is no longer as high as you thought it might be when you first started out. Maybe the timeframe just needs to be extended a few months because you’ve achieved some of the action steps, so you’re further along the path in achieving this goal than you were a few months ago, but you might need to extend the process a few more months. All of those things are perfectly viable ways to set yourself up for success. So I really truly hope that in this episode that I have expressed my frustration with the idea of setting new year’s resolutions, or just sitting about and having big dreams. Instead, I hope that I’ve encouraged you to write down your goals and set up your action steps using the smart method so that you can move from here towards your goal one step at a time and achieve success. And I want to add this one thing and ask you, is writing your book or writing your story, something that is on your goals list. How about doing that this year?
So I invite you to go to bookwritingbusiness.com, that’s B-O-O-K-W-R-I-T-I-N-G-B-U-S-I-N-E-S-S.C-O-M, and go to my workshop page because I have in person workshops, scheduled throughout the year, and find out when the next one is, and join us for that. Where you will come and develop a foundational marketing plan so that you are going to write a powerful and profitable business building tool that’s going to increase your credibility, and gets you out into the workforce to address the target market that you really want to approach. Also on bookwritingbusiness.com, I have a couple online classes. I have a self paced video based online class, look into that, that you can do in your pajamas from anywhere in the world, and it has homework assignments to set you up for success. The other thing is to look at my workshop, or my online class that is an online small group workshop. When is the next one starting? Because that might be the next step for you in achieving your book writing goals. So again, go to bookwritingbusiness.com, check out my in-person workshops and my online classes. I look forward to connecting with you, and if you have a question or need more information, you could send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and with that I’m going to leave you with this thought. ‘Don’t let the world dictate your story. Be mindful of the stories you tell yourself about what is or is not possible. You get to choose to write your own story every day.’