I believe that so many of us go about goal setting the wrong way – and that this hinders us on our journey to achieving them.
In this blog post, I offer an alternative way of goal setting. A way that works for me and a pattern I’ve been witnessing in terms of what is working for my clients. A way that I hope works for you. It’s called the DREAMSTORM method and you can read more about it below.
Start your goal setting session with a dream dump. Write down every dream that you have up there in your brain. Brainstorm, no dreamstorm, your little heart away.
Don’t censor yourself. See what comes out.
Don’t be bothered with whether it has a negative tone, or a positive tone. Just let loose. Be wild. Be free. Get it out of your head and on paper.
At this stage of the process, our goals can range from lose 5kg and have a rocking body, to have more orgasims, to give up coffee, to write a life changing book, to have more patience as a mother and wife, to teach my hubby how to help out around the house more.
They don’t need to be pretty, they just need to be out of your head, and in the world, on your paper. The reflection, the working through, the polishing and refining – that can all come later.
For now, just dreamstorm baby, dream dump to your heart’s content.
Now is the time to ponder on the items that appeared on your page during the dream dump.
The more time you take to really tune in to and understand the motivations and truth behind your goals, the more likely you will create goals that are aligned to your aspirations and that will continue to inspire you to act and move toward them.
Some questions to help you really dig deep and reflect on the goals and dreams listed in your dream dump are provided below.
- Reflect on your Why. Why do I want to achieve this goal or dream? What would I gain from it? What am I searching for? Why do I want it?
- Reflect on your feelings. How do I feel now about this goal? How do I want to feel? How do I think I’ll feel if I were to achieve this goal?
- Reflect on self-love. If I were to love my self more, what would this goal be? If I was my most confident and best self, what would this goal be?
By taking the time to reflect on our goals, we become more aware of our motivations behind them, what it is that we truly desire, and what we need to do to get there.
Perhaps losing 5kg is really about being happier and more confident. Perhaps eating less junk food, is really about feeling more energised and nourished.
Based on what you learnt in this exercise, use your reflections to reword your goals.
Make them connected to your inner why. Make them feelings-based. Make them from a place of love and growth, rather than from a place of fear and hate.
In this stage, go through each of your goals and reflections, and picture your future for each of them once they have been achieved.
You might like to write a description, or a story, about what your life would look like once you have achieved your goal. How would it be different? How would you feel? What would you be doing and not doing?
Depending on your goal, creating an inspiration board can also be a beautiful exercise to do during this stage. Create a Pinterest board of images and words that capture how you’d like your future to look. Print these images, and put them on a piece of card that you can then frame and put up on your wall for daily inspiration.
I believe, that taking the time to create a vision of how your life can look when you have achieved your goals goes a long way towards setting a solid foundation around them in moving forward. It can also reveal more clarity around what it is that you truly want. If this is the case, tweak the wording of your goals again.
Use this exercise to polish them up even further so that they continue to excite and inspire you.
Your goals need to be aspirational.
I believe that in order for this to be the case, they need to be worded positively. You want them to be uplifting. You want to feel like you are gaining something wonderful – not like you are giving something up or are losing something.
They need to feel like they are driving you toward your best self, toward your aspirations of a beautiful and full life.
We are all so very different. What inspires one of us, may not inspire others. A word that one person hates and feels dragged down by, is a word that another person loves and is uplifted by. Only you can determine whether your goal is aspirational or not. Only you can decide whether it drives you forward.
Ask yourself whether your goals are aspirational, positive and uplifting. Tweak them again if they don’t feel this way. Polish them up until they do feel this way.
Now it is time to reread your goals and check that they are measurable. Is there a way to know when you have achieved them? Is there a way to know whether you are on track with them?
Sometimes when we go through this beautiful DREAMSTORMING process, our goals can start to get a bit lofty. You can start to lose your ability to measure them. We don’t want this. In order to continue to be inspired by them, you need to know how to judge whether you are on track with them.
Some goals are more difficult to make measurable than others. In fact, some of the best goals around self development can be difficult to measure. As long as you (and any of your accountability partners) are clear on how to know when it is reached, this is fine.
Some examples of beautiful goals that I’ve supported my clients with have included:
- To feel the most happy, relaxed and carefree I have ever felt in my home and life.
- To find clarity and direction in living a life of purpose, passion and creativity.
- To surround myself with people who are living purposeful lives, inspiring and motivating me to be my best self.
- To create a bold + prosperous business that inspires health and wellness.
- To have more of those ugly laugh moments.
- To be the healthiest and happiest I’ve ever been.
- To have a refreshing and relaxing self-care routine.
- To be wildly in love with my wife.
- To look forward to ‘Our Time’ of the day.
- To create a beautiful practice space.
Now these goals do not all have a measurable component – for example, ‘To run 5km in less than 20 minutes” – but we were able to get a clear understanding of how we could measure them and insert a flavour of this in the wording of the goal.
So now I encourage you to re-read your goals. Are you clear on how you could measure them? On how you can know when you have achieved them? If not, spend some more time polishing them now to make them measurable.
Now that you’ve gone all scientific and practical and have ensured their measurable, I want to pull you back up the the stars. Are your goals spirited? Do you feel a pull toward them? A connection? Does reading them inspire you? Make you feel? Move you.
This step is SO important.
If they do not feel like you, if they do not fill you with energy, enthusiasm and determination – they need more polishing.
The more that they move you, the more likely you will move toward them. And ultimately that’s what we want, right – to move toward them, to achieve them, to own them, live them and make them a reality.
So take the time to sit with them, to feel into them, to ensure you truly are connected to them.
In order for goals to be measurable, and for them to inspire and motivate us, we often need to consider the time in which it’ll take us to achieve them.
Is it a long term goal or a short term goal? If it’s a long term goal, can we break it down to shorter term goals to aim for first? For example, if your goal is to ‘Buy my dream home’, perhaps your shorter term goal would be ‘To save a deposit for my dream home’.
It can also help at this initial stage to mark dates in your diary where you will come back and review your goals, create new action steps, or reflect on them further.
I love the overnight test. Put your new goals aside. Get on with your day. Have a good night sleep, and look at them fresh in the morning.
Do they still inspire you? Do they still excite you? Are you still drawn to them? Or do they need some more work? Were there exercises above that you rushed over, that you could return to?
Still love them? FANTASTIC! You’re almost finished with polishing them up, and are inching closer to action time.
I don’t like the word realistic when it comes to goals. It just doesn’t sit well with me. After such a dream storming party it feels like a real fizzle. However, it’s the best word I can think of for the time being.
We do genuinely need to consider whether our goals are realistic or achievable. For example, perhaps “Get married by the end of the month” isn’t the most realistic goal for someone who doesn’t tend to socialise, who isn’t in a relationship, and who isn’t anywhere near even being in a relationship. Perhaps “Have an active, fun, and joyous social life” might be a good start.
However, having said this, don’t let being realistic damp your style too much. I love a goal that is challenging. A goal that pushes you outside of your comfort zone. That makes you believe that the impossible is possible.
Trust your intuition here. Your heart. That inner feeling. Ditch what your head says is achievable. Go with what feels right.
Finally, and arguably most importantly, ask yourself if you own your goals? Are they truly mine? Or are they a result or influence of someone else’s desire?
Do they feel like me? Are they worded in my language, my character, my flare? Are they what I truly want? What I have a burning desire for?
Are they mine? Are they mine? Are they truly mine?
I hope that my DREAMSTORM method helps you set awesome goals. I’d love to see them below if you’re willing to share.
If you’d like further help with creating and achieving amazing goals, check out the over 40 free resources in the Freebies Library that aim to help you soar in business and life.
Let’s soar together,