In my last blog, I examined what is essential to goal setting and achieving, and concluded that “telling others” was the most important and essential action you can take. Yes, it is important and necessary to set big, hairy, “stretch” goals, while also being realistic about your current “as is” state or condition. And it is important to be specific and detailed in describing your goals, and to break them down into smaller, “bite size” steps with a time-line, milestones and “by-when” dates. And, it is good to identify a first step you can do right away to get your motivation flowing. But the most essential element for achieving your goals is telling others.
Telling others makes your goals “real” and makes you accountable for achieving them, transforming your goals from “hopeful wishes” to serious commitments. The people you tell are going to ask how your goals are coming along, and this provides motivation to expend the effort needed to achieve your goals and to avoid having to admit you’ve fallen short or given up. If you tell others about your goals, it means you’re serious and “determined,” and if you don’t tell others it means you’re not. It’s that simple.
Telling others also has some unanticipated and unexpected benefits. If you tell others you know have worked to achieve the same or similar goals, you can ask for advice and obtain crucial information that often turns out to be the difference between success and disappointment. Telling others also inspires them, based on your example, to set and begin working on their own “stretch” goals.
What should you tell and share with others?
- First, tell others about your goals, seek their advice, and ask them to watch your progress, cheer you on, and hold you accountable. The importance of this cannot be understated and bears repeating. People who are serious about goal achieving do this.
- Next, tell others about your achievements and successes. Especially tell those you asked to hold you accountable, so they can share in your victory and so you can thank them for their support. Tell others outside of your accountability circle, as well, to inspire and motivate them to “follow in your footsteps” and to set goals of their own.
- Finally, tell others about “what’s next.” Getting better, growing, and learning are lifetime pursuits, and goal setting and achieving are key drivers of that process. A goal is set, the effort is expended, and the adversity and set backs are overcome until it is achieved. But achievement is not the end. You should always ask “what’s next?”
When you take on big, important, stretch goals, you may feel “braggadocios” telling others about your achievements and plans for “what’s next.” But this is bad “advice” from your little voice: so don’t listen to it! Instead, tell others honestly and humbly about all these things, as doing so is essential for both goal achievement and inspiring others to pursue and achieve their own goals.
When it comes to “what’s next,” the possibilities can run many directions. To illustrate some of these possibilities, I’ll use a personal goal I achieved in 2015. On Saturday, September 26, 2015, I achieved my goal of completing a half-marathon (my first) without stopping or walking, in my goal time of 2.5 hours. So what might be “next” for me in 2016?
- Repeating – A goal may be such a stretch goal, such that committing to repeat is likewise a stretch goal. In that case, the “what’s next” goal would be to sign up, train and run the same half-marathon again, in the same way and the same time as 2015.
- Improving – Many times after achieving a goal, you know you can improve is some respect the next time. Believing that to be true, a “what’s next” goal would be to sign up for another half-marathon in 2016 and, with more effort and hard work, run the race in a time of 2.25 hours or 15 minutes faster than 2015.
- Doubling down – Often after achieving a big goal, you realize you have the potential to do even more than previously thought possible. So the “what’s next” goal might be to double the number of races and run two half-marathons in 2016, one in May and the other in September. Or maybe doubling the distance and training for a full marathon?
- Going a New Direction – Many after running their first half-marathon feel satisfied, and having checked it off their “possibilities list,” may want to go in a new direction, perhaps setting goals for biking, swimming or a maybe a way to do “all of the above” in the form of a sprint or half-iron triathlon!
- Trying again - What if you set stretch goals but don’t achieve success? What’s next in that case? The answer lies in starting over, resetting timelines and expectations and beginning again. You get “credit” for what you accomplished before you “failed,” as long as you start over.
So what’s really next for me in 2016, you may be asking? My 2016 personal goals include:
- Completing two 13.1 mile running events in May and September (double down)
- Reading through the Bible again this time in chronological order (repeat + new direction)
- Completing a 25+ mile bike ride with my wife, Angie (try again)
- Joining some type of singing group (a new direction)
So enough about me. What’s next for you in 2016? Reply and tell us to increase your commitment to achieve your goals and so all of us can be inspired!