52. How To Set Goals In Life & Achieve Them - Evercoach - By Mindvalley

December 28, 2021

52. How To Set Goals In Life & Achieve Them

How many times have you set your new year's resolutions only to give up a few months later or not even get started at all? What tends to happen is that we set goals without the proper intention and eventually lose the motivation to follow through. In...

How many times have you set your new year's resolutions only to give up a few months later or not even get started at all? What tends to happen is that we set goals without the proper intention and eventually lose the motivation to follow through.

In this episode, Master Coach Ajit Nawalkha reframes how we should approach goal setting and shares how to set goals in life that you can actually achieve. Follow the exercises shared in this episode to set your 2022 goals and make them a reality!

Download our free 2022 Yearly Planner and get started: https://go.evercoach.com/ecYF52HT

Why we're misunderstanding the concept of goal setting.

3 key variables to define your goals.

Tools and exercises to set the right intention.

How to set 'AWESOME' goals that you can actually achieve.

Coach Ajit (00:00):
You are listening to Master Coaching with Ajit podcast that inspires coaches to impact the lives of their clients more meaningfully. I am Coach Ajit and I'm known for coaching high performers, entrepreneurs, and leaders. I'm also a serial entrepreneur and author of many books. On this podcast, I am answering your burning questions. I'm also demonstrating and deconstructing behind the scenes coaching sessions.

Coach Ajit (00:36):
And today we are discussing a really relevant question during this time by a fellow coach named Nicola. And the question is how do we set goals? So we achieve them. It's a really relevant question because end of the year usually tends to be that time where we reflect on the year gone by where we reflect on the goals. We may have had reflect on some of the intentions we may have set for the year. And we tend to reminisce on the idea if we were able to achieve them, if we were not able to achieve them, what went right? What went wrong? And so, the end of the year is such a great time to really talk about how can we set goals that we achieved them. Here is the thing about goals. Goals traditionally have been under-tood as these definitive outcomes that we need to achieve.

Coach Ajit (01:29):
That is what all the goal-setting books talk about. They talk about certainty. They talk about you say A and then you create A in your life. That's when a goal is set to be achieved. And then if you do anything short of A, you have not met your goal. If you overshoot A, then you say, Hey, we have overachieved our goal. There is time for double celebration. Now, while they may seem like the right thing in context of companies that people work with, because companies tend to set goals because their market value is determined by them. Their salaries are determined by them. Their future growth is determined by them in life. Goal setting can rather be harmful if it is seen as an absolute destination. So, firstly, I wanna talk about the misunderstanding of goals, goals. Like I said, traditionally are understood as this destination that you need to get to in 12 months or 24 months, depending on how and how long you've taken as a view to set your goals.

Coach Ajit (02:29):
But what if goals were not a destination, they were more like a compass? You see our life as infinite in context of the time period that we set goals for. If you've set a year long goal and you're likely to live for other 30 years, you've set a goal for 3% of your life and the rest of it you've left to unknown. So in context of your 30, 40, 50 years of life left, one year goal is minuscule. It's not important. It feels like it is the end of your world. From the point of view that you're looking at it. But from the point of view of your life, it is a small blip in that entire universe. Your next 40, 50 years of life may have some impact from the year that went by and the year that's coming, but it is not definitive to what your life's gonna unfold into.

Coach Ajit (03:19):
But what we do is we make that year. So definitive, we make that's the destination. I wanna get to the goal because this goal is end all be all for this year and for the rest of my life. But what if your goal was merely a compass, it only gave your direction of travel. What if your goal was what it truly is meant to be? It gives you an intention so you can put attention towards it and walk in the path, walk in the direction that truly will be in alignment with your long term vision of yourself, long term identity of yourself, long term sense of joy, long term sense of happiness, long term sense of meaning and purpose. What if goals were not to be certainty of outcome, but it was to create an intention, set an intention to which the direction that we wanna walk.

Coach Ajit (04:10):
You see right now you may understand goal setting as all about achieving, but what if goal setting was about being, what if goal setting was all about how you live your life on a day to day basis on a week to week basis, on a year to year basis, and the minute to minute basis. But it was about the intention of living in a particular way as a sense of identity. And that brings me to a very pivotal question that you may have wondered as to why is it we don't achieve goals? Why is it that we set these amazing outcomes for ourselves, but we constantly seem to fall behind that. We constantly seem to not achieve the goals. If we were to take the understanding of goal setting in the way we just defined it, which is it's a compass, it's an intention. It's a way for you to know what direction to walk.

Coach Ajit (04:59):
You would also build an understanding that when you are pursuing a goal, you are not pursuing the goal to absolutely meet it exactly as you defined. You are actually using the intention, the compass to find what is the right path for you. And as you take steps further, your path will change. It will adapt to your intention. A Compass's job is to direct you to the path that is the right path for you. And as you make progress, the path may change. So the first question you must ask when you're wondering, why did I not achieve goals? Or why are my clients not achieving goals? Is am I seeking the goal that I set in the starting of the year as my goal today? And if that is the case, was I really listening to the compass of life? Was I really listening to intentions because if I'm comparing or what I set out in the starting of the year without knowing what the year was to bring, can I really evaluate that based on where I am today?

Coach Ajit (06:01):
It also brings our attention to what's the progress that may have happened despite you may not have achieved the numbers, the goals that you set yourself up for. So let's take, for example, you set yourself up to create your first million dollars in your coaching business in the last 12 months. Now you started the year with that goal in mind, and three months in you realized while you could make more money, the way you were creating your coaching business was not giving you joy. You listened to that intention and you redirected your energy to something that gave you joy. You may fall short by half a million by the end of the year, but does that really mean you didn't hit your goal or does that mean that you were true and honest to your intention of living a particular life? So firstly, ask yourself, when you say you didn't hit your goals, when you say I didn't achieve my goals, what did that really mean?

Coach Ajit (06:56):
Did that mean you realigned somewhere in the middle or did it really mean that you were not committed to the process that you were not committed to the goal? And that brings me to, why do we not commit to the goal? You see, psychologically, we, as human beings learn through analogy, we have always learned through analogy. We look at things around us and based on what's happening around us, we look at what is it that seems okay, right? And we tend to borrow it for our own lives. This is how we learned how to cross a road or drive a car. We looked at somebody, we followed it and then learned that particular skill. But you see goal setting doesn't really work when you learn from analogy. Goal setting is a lot more about intention, but when we are borrowing goals from people around us, our family, our friends, people we look up to instead of driving goals from intention, we start writing our goals from what draws our attention.

Coach Ajit (07:52):
If a friend is nearby and they're talking about their beautiful life, we draw attention to what's that beautiful life. And we say, I like that. If a family member comes over for Christmas dinner, we listen to their story and we are really fascinated the way they're parenting. We say that is what I want for my parenting skill. If there's a relationship that we see online on social media channels, we say, that's the relationship I aspire to. That is us learning by analogy. That is us setting our goals by analogy. Now setting goals by analogy would work. If we were being really, really honest in filtering through what we like to see outside and what we truly want for ourselves, we stay committed to goals that come from intention, which are coming from our authentic, true, honest selves. When we are honest with ourselves, we don't just look at somebody's relationship and say, I want that relationship.

Coach Ajit (08:50):
We ask a question, what is the relationship that I want? When we look at somebody's life, we don't simply say, I want that life. We say that is so amazing. They have that life. What is it that I want for my life? What is it that I want for my health? What is it that I want for my parenting skills? What is it that I want for my experiences in life? And that question really invites an intentional answer. An honest answer, not an answer that is just a reflection of the world around us, because that will change and adapt with life. And we will never truly find happiness in somebody else's goals in somebody else's life. What will find true happiness, true joy is by living a life that is truly in alignment with us. Goals are your internal compass that needs to align with your authentic, true self, your honest self.

Coach Ajit (09:44):
And the more honest you get about what you truly want in your life, not because of some social contagion or social acceptance, but because that is what you want. The less, you are likely to fail at achieving your goals or moving in direction of achieving your goals. And that brings me to give you a few parameters that you wanna consider. If you wanna set goals that you will truly achieve. And the reason why you will truly achieve these goals is because they will be in alignment with who you are, not just in alignment with what the role you're operating in the first variable or the first most important thing to set goals, which you will achieve is intention. You need to seek to find where you want to go, because wherever your intention is, it will draw your attention. You need to sit in reflection or take a journal and verociously write what is it that you truly want in your life.

Coach Ajit (10:44):
What is it that you would really seek? If money was not a thing, time was not a thing. There were no limitations and restrictions around you. What is it that you would truly honestly want in your life? Another great way to set intention is to write your most amazing ideal day. This is an exercise where you take a journal and you write down how would your day unfold if it was the most ideal day that you got to live over and over again. Now this is not your day that you will actually end up living every day, but this would be like your perfect day. So go ahead. After this podcast, if you haven't really set intentions for your life on how you want it to unfold is take a piece of paper, take your journal and write in a free form on how would you like your day to unfold?

Coach Ajit (11:34):
How would you wake up? Where would you wake up? How would the air smell? Like what would be on your feet? What would you look into? How would you walk? What would you have first? Who would be sleeping next to you? Would there be anybody sleeping next to you? What would be some of the key activities you'll be doing in the day? What would you be working on? What would you be making? What would be your excitement? Would you do something for health? Would you do something for relationships? Would you do something for yourself? Just your personal self, how many hours you would work, how many hours you would walk and so on and so forth. The idea really is not to jam everything in a day, but to define your perfect day, you see, once you define your perfect day, you would have clarity towards the intention that you have for the life you want to create, because this perfect day would be reflective of what you're truly trying to create in your life.

Coach Ajit (12:26):
And that clarifies your intention. The second key variable for you to define your goals that you will actually achieve is to identify your values. You see very often when we are defining our perfect day, defining our perfect life, we would write things that are very aspirational to us, and that is great, but there's one thing that we will never conflict with. And that is our values. We want to always be in alignment with our values. So what are your values? What are your key values that you wanna live every single day? How is it that you wanna show up for yourself every single day? What are those value systems that you really careful that you would want to have within your day and anything that is out of alignment of that? You would question it and you may wanna not want that in your life.

Coach Ajit (13:14):
I wanna give you an example so you can understand how these values may show up in your life. My current values that I dearly hold close to me is love service, freedom, and health. There is no way there is a day in my life that I would want where I'm not living all four of my values. I want my being to be an expression of love. I wanna always serve human beings, society, my family, my friends. I wanna always live in a place of choice. I have freedom in my life and I always want to invest in my health. And I always wanna become a more healthier version of myself every single day. And because I have these four nonnegotiable values that I must live every day, my perfect day has all four of them throughout the day. I get to live my values every single day.

Coach Ajit (14:07):
And that brings me to the third key element for you to define goals. So you'll achieve them. And that is to seek clarity and alignment. Once you've defined your values. And once you know your perfect day, you need to see if you are perfectly aligned. Do you feel that your perfect day matches your value system? Does your value system match your perfect day? And if that's not the case, what is missing and maybe invite that to your perfect day, because if you don't live your value system every day, a sense of joy will anyways deteriorate over time because you won't get to live your values. You won't get to express your true and most honest self. Once you find the lineman between your perfect day or your intention and your value system. Now you wanna define it as clearly as possible. What is the clarity or the sense of clarity that you have towards your goals?

Coach Ajit (14:59):
You see, most of us make up these goals in our minds. We say, this is kind of what I want in my life, but our minds are really activated. They're always thinking of new, crazy, good ideas. That's dope mean at work all day, every day. And that is why if you want to truly achieve your goals, you need to state it. You need to state it as clearly as possible. And that would mean a few statements, or it may mean a paragraph where you have clearly stated what you're creating in your life. If you wanna take a further deep dive, I invite you to an exercise that is defined in the book called Vivid Vision by Cameron Herald.

Coach Ajit (14:59):
You see, most of us make up these goals in our minds. We say, this is kind of what I want in my life, but our minds are really activated. They're always thinking of new, crazy, good ideas. That's dope mean at work all day, every day. And that is why if you want to truly achieve your goals, you need to state it. You need to state it as clearly as possible. And that would mean a few statements, or it may mean a paragraph where you have clearly stated what you're creating in your life. If you wanna take a further deep dive, I invite you to an exercise that is defined in the book called Vivid Vision by Cameron Herald. Vivid Vision is a great exercise that is designed mostly for businesses, but you can use the same exercise to vividly define your vision of your life.

Coach Ajit (15:45):
So go ahead and use that exercise. You can pick up the book called Vivid Vision. And that brings me the last key element that most people forget. And that is why they tend to not achieve their goals. And if you want to achieve your goal and you wanna set your goals in a way that you want to achieve them, this is very important. Make your goals multidimensional. So if you saw yourself writing the perfect day, and that seemed really more aligned to either money or family or relationships and not really incorporate enough of fun, giving experiences, parenting, and so on and so forth, you may be missing some dimensions that you have not considered that actually will give you more joy. So ask yourself, what are the key things? What are the priorities that I have in my life areas or priorities that I have in my life.

Coach Ajit (16:33):
Usually you would have anywhere between six to 12 priorities in your life, you can use life or category for it. You can use the wheel of life for it. You can use any categories that you feel are important to you, write them down and make sure that your goals are multidimensional. Multidimensional goals allow for joy to really seep in. Otherwise we get so hell-bent on our careers, on how we are perceived in the world that most of our goals align mostly the financial gains or career gains. And we forget about the true joy of life, like growth, family, friends, interpersonal relationships, health, and so on and so forth. So make your goals multidimensional. So four key elements that you wanna consider in your goals, if you truly want to achieve them. The first is intention. Second is defined values. Third is alignment between values and clarity of your statement of where you are going and fourthly, your goals need to be multidimensional.

Coach Ajit (17:34):
Now that you've defined your perfect day, you know, it's aligned to your values. You also have them multidimensional. How do we make sure that the next 12 or 18 months become more achievable, that you actually achieve your goals? So I wanna share with you a filter of seven different elements that you need to have in your goals, which will make them more achievable. The psychological reason of each of this filter to remember the filter easily. I've given the acronym. The acronym is awesome. A W E S O M E. Awesome goals. This is the filter that you wanna take your goals through to really know if you will actually end up achieving your goals or not a in awesome stands for ambition. Your goals need to be ambitious. Most of us try to be realistic, even pessimistic about our goals because of how our past has been around goals.

Coach Ajit (18:27):
If you've been somebody who consistently fails goals or feels like they need to absolutely achieve their goals, you will tend to be someone who is not ambitious about your goals. Here's something that is true about our biology, our mind, and our body, both like a little bit of stress. When you have a little bit of stress, you tend to reach and become better. It is really, really true. What doesn't break you makes you stronger. And that is why you want to add a little stressor in your goals. If your goal seem achievable, if your goals seem something that you could do it in your sleep or with your eyes closed, well, you may be under reaching and you may not be putting in a stress in your mind and in your body for it to be excited about what you're setting as a goal. So your goal needs to be a little bit ambitious, the W in awesome stands for why, why is it that this goal is important to you?

Coach Ajit (19:23):
Why is it that now is the time for this goal to become your reality? The stronger why, the more likely you are to achieve your goal. We very often write goals because they sound good and look good, but we don't associate a strong reason why on why that goal is so very important. And why now is the time you see a sense of urgency to the goal, gives it more power. A sense of it needs to happen today. Makes it more important. A sense of that. It needs to happen today makes it lot more likely that you will actually chase the goal and stay the course when time gets difficult. The E in awesome stands for executable. While there needs to be ambition and a small stressor for you to achieve your goal, you still need to feel this is doable. It is executable. Most of the overly ambitious goals are goals that we don't fulfill, because somewhere along the line, somewhere along the way, we start understanding that we will not actually get the goal.

Coach Ajit (20:27):
Coach Ajit (20:27): And we give up on the goal. And that is why you need your goal to yes, be ambitious, but still feel like it is in the realm of being executed. S in awesome stands for specific, the more arbitrary your goal, the harder it is to achieve. Now, this does not mean that your goals can only be numbers. You can aim for a healthier life. You can determine what would it mean for you to be living a healthier life? You could have specificity on. I wanna be more joyous every day, or I wanna live more happily every day. And what would it mean, or how would you know that you are living happier every day? You may have a specificity on, I wanna focus on my wellbeing. Now you wanna define, what does it look like? What does it feel like to be more focused on your wellbeing?

Coach Ajit (21:16):
The more specific you get, the easier it is for your mind, your soul to follow through and create scenarios. So you actually achieve the goal. So while it may seem like I'm suggesting that goals need to be numbers, that's not actually true. You just need to be specific on how would you know that you are achieving that goal? What is that thing? Firstly, clearly is the thing that you're going for. And then how do you know that you are actually making progress? Oh, in awesome stands for objective. So while you've defined the specificity of goals, you need to have some sort of understanding, or what are the steps you need to take that will help you create the outcome of that goal that are those steps clear enough for you, at least from a point of view of saying, this is roughly what I need to do to be able to achieve the goal that I'm setting out for myself to do M and awesome stands for measurable.

Coach Ajit (22:12):
Can you track on a daily or weekly, even on a monthly basis that you're making progress towards the goal? One of the key reasons why we don't achieve our goals or don't even chase it is because we get so attached to the outcome of the goal that we forget that day to day progress is the only way the daily systems, the daily processes, the daily work that goes in the goal is what really makes the goal come true. And so what you wanna focus on is measurements. What is it that you're tracking on a daily, weekly, monthly basis that is telling you that you're making progress towards your goals? If there's no measurement on daily, weekly, monthly, towards your goal, you will find that somewhere around month, two monthly, you'll start losing focus on your goal because you're not seeing any real progress. There's no measurement that is defined for that goal.

Coach Ajit (23:03):
And lastly, E of awesome is exploration goals. Don't work. If there is no set timeline for it, goals are not achieved. If there is no set timeline for it, work will always fill all the time that you allocate to it. And there is tremendous amount of truth to that. If you give yourself four weeks to achieve something, it'll take you four weeks to achieve something. If you give yourself four hours, it'll take four hours. And that is why having an expiration date to your goals is so very important because your mind will find ways to hijack the timeline and help you achieve that goal in that given time. So this is the AWESOME filter to make your goals a lot more achievable, a for ambition, w for Y E for executable S for specific O for objective M for measurable E for expiration, while you always wanna create goals that give you a sense of achievement, and you want to get to those goals because they have meaning your internal compass is telling you that is what you wanna achieve in your life.

Coach Ajit (24:07):
It's very important to realize that goals still are a compass, which means that if there is no joy and no satisfaction in the journey, the goal itself is not going to give you joy and satisfaction. Happiness. The job of the goal is to stay intentional is to stay as a compass. But if you don't get to enjoy what is today, the goal itself is meaningless. The getting of the goal is meaningless. So seek everyday joy, seek everyday excitement, seek everyday progress. So your goal is achieved one day in my life. I've achieved. Most goals I've ever set out to. And there's one truth. I've learned about goals more than anything is while goal setting is great. While intention setting is great. The most beautiful part of the process is where you do all of this. And then you surrender. You surrender to the journey, the most beautiful part of the process, the most needed part of the process of getting to your goals is surrender, surrender to the timeline, surrender to how it will happen, surrender to why it will happen, surrender to if it'll happen exactly as you are pursuing it or not.

Coach Ajit (25:22):
You see life has so many different variables that there is no real way to know how you will create the ideal life that you imagine, the perfect day that you imagined. It may need lot more elements that you can imagine. You see my current life. My current lifestyle is beautiful. It's exactly as I imagined, but it didn't happen how I imagined it to happen. One of my career secrets that I've talked about on this podcast before, and I've shared with my friends often, I've shared with my clients very often. And because it's such a great story in understanding that you may make a plan, but universe's plan, God's plan. Whatever you believe in this plan is, is different. And usually a lot more powerful. You see, I had set out to create Evercoach and create a coaching empire where I was facilitating coaching in different dimensions of life.

Coach Ajit (26:15):
And I wanted to be expansive, and I wanted to be partnering up with people that I like, and I wanted to do different things and wanted to enjoy the variety of life. But I was so hell-bent because I could only see one way of creating that until my wife showed up in my life. My wife is my greatest cheerleader. She's an amazing woman. She is Dr. Neeta. If you have not heard of her, you absolutely should. And she's somebody who showed up in my life as a tangent. I didn't expect I was a single man at that time, just pursuing my life and my career. And she came as a curve ball and took me by surprise my today's success. Yes, can be attributed to my capabilities and my skill sets and so forth. But I would say a huge part of it is played by my wife's personality, her being the way she supports me, the way she interacts with people around me, the way she keeps me present to my own coaching, the way she creates reality around me, that is supportive of my vision of myself and her vision of herself.

Coach Ajit (27:17):
Like she maintains a true identity and shows me how one can maintain their true identity while being a great collaborator with other people. She's the one that brings many different conversations to the table that otherwise I would have no access to Dr. Neeta was a curve ball that only the universe could plan for. There was no way that a as a coach could have planned for that thought of that, or imagined that that would be absolutely needed for the place I am today with two beautiful kids, a beautiful fulfilled life and an amazing thriving career. So my invitation for you is yes, do all the exercises because that gives you certainty. It gives you clarity. It gives you direction. It gives you the compass. You need, it makes it more real for you, but then remember to surrender because the universe has got a bigger plan and that plan mm....

Coach Ajit (28:09):
That plan's gonna be good. With that, I wanna wish you a very happy 2022. And I would love for you to join me through 2022, as we release amazing episodes of this podcast every single week. And before you go, I actually have a bonus for you. You see, every year we put together a planner for coaches, and I've just put that together for 2022. It's completely free of cost. There's no cost to it. You can download it for free, print it out for yourself. So below this episode, you'll find the link to download the 2022 planner. Go ahead and download that planner for yourself so you can use it in the coming year to create the most amazing, beautiful career for yourself as a coach. If you get a chance, subscribe to the podcast, leave us a rating, leave us a review. Thank you so much for tuning in. I love having these conversations with you, and I'm looking forward to us chatting next week again. Thank you. This is Coach Ajit and you're listening to Master Coaching with Ajit.

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