Happy Saturday! Let’s talk about setting goals.
There are two phases of changing something in your life. Well, technically three (more on that later) but let’s talk about the first two. These are the honeymoon phase and the marriage phase.
The honeymoon phase is exciting as hell. It’s when you make the decision to do something and visualize all the possibilities. It is the New Year Resolution, a spontaneous opportunity, an inspiring idea that popped into your head and you can’t wait to put into motion. It’s that blog you’re going to start and it’s that exercise plan you’re finally going to commit to. You feel limitless and energized. However, like a literal honeymoon, it is short-lived.
Then comes the marriage phase. You are navigating the reality of your decision: the logistics, the doubts, the ups and the downs. There are challenges that take effort to overcome. You make mistakes and learn from them. Nothing is remotely as glamorous as you envisioned it to be in the honeymoon phase, and that makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong. You realize your goal is going to take a long time to achieve which makes you question if it is worth trying at all.
People quit in the marriage phase. Having an idea is the easy part — implementing that idea becomes difficult. Here are three things that help me make it through the marriage portion of my decisions.
First, tell people your plan. They don’t need to know the details or timeline, but put it into their heads that you are going to do this thing. They never need bring it up again or explicitly “hold you accountable”—although some will—in order for this to work. We as humans like to live up to expectations. So create a space where people expect this thing from you. Unconsciously and consciously you will begin to feel that you must follow through with the goal you set because you have spoken it into existence and have brought others to expect it from you.
Second, relive the honeymoon phase excitement as often as you can. Visualize the end goal. Close your eyes and remember the visceral excitement you felt when the idea first came to you: limitless, energized, activated. Tap into that rather than getting discouraged by the routine and work and challenges that are a necessary part of doing anything. (A lot of people like to write their goals down, which works great. I like to close my eyes and visualize. It is the same process in different forms: both include reminding yourself why you are doing what you are doing.)
Third, fall in love with your setbacks and the things that challenge you. This is where growth lives. This is what separates the people who do things and the people who don’t do things. This is where the magic happens, in the most nonsexual interpretation of that phrase. So change your perspective about setbacks: they are not reasons to quit or “signs” that you aren’t going to make it, they are obstacles that can be overcome and then put into the past. Love the things that make you doubt yourself, because those are the things that will accelerate your growth.
And that's it.
Oh, remember when I said there was a third phase? That’s the fun part. That’s when you are finished. When you achieve your goal, and you get to set a new one.