I was listening to a great podcast by Alana Helbig of Podcast with Heart, where she interviewed Sarah Jensen from the Rock Your Goals Podcast. In their fun, loving, revealing conversation, Sarah discussed the concept of flexible goals. Oh my goodness!! This really hit me square between the eyes. I grinned and thought, “this is so me! This is exactly what I need to hear!” I immediately recognised myself in her words and thought, that’s it, I am working with flexible goals from now on.
So, What Is A Flexible Goal?
I am so, so good at setting goals. I can set them like no body’s business. But more often than not they mean nothing to me. Why? Because I usually don’t have a real basis for setting the ‘number’ and the ‘due date’ except. I just think I'd better give myself a deadline for it because that's what you do. Deadlines don’t work for me, at least on big goals. And they don’t work for Sarah either. Instead, Sarah sets flexible goals. Her example in the podcast was that she was writing a book. Her goal is to write and publish her book. However, she currently doesn't have a deadline for the book. She said that if she sets a deadline super early, then the fun goes out of it, she loses focus, and ultimately achieves nothing. However, if she sets herself a big goal without the deadline, she finds it's more fun to work on, and then, as she progresses further down the path, she will know when she is ready to set her final deadline to ensure she gets the book finished. The big difference, she doesn’t set this deadline at the start. She keeps things flexible.
Don’t you just love this idea!! Now, of course, this concept may not work for everyone, and it probably doesn’t work for all goals (although, I’m beginning to think a version of the concept could actually work for all scenarios). However, for me, the idea that you can set flexible goals really and truly takes the weight off.
I have a goal to write a fiction book. I’ve had this goal ever since I can remember. Many times I've set myself goals to have a certain amount written (usually the whole book) within that year. How many times have I achieved those goals? Never. Not once. As soon as I set the “write a draft manuscript by the end of 2015” goal, I feel overwhelmed, unmotivated and really unsure of myself. However, if I now say to myself, “start writing that book this year, and keep writing as much as you can” then gee, that is totally doable. In fact, I’ve already started writing that book! And now I don't feel guilty that I got sick for two weeks over Christmas and New Year and thus made absolutely no progress. I don’t feel any sinking feeling wondering when I’m going to find the time to write my 1,000 words a week (or whatever arbitrary number I’ve set myself in the past). Now I know I just have to keep writing. As much as I can, for the whole year. That’s it. Ahhhhhh.
I also have a goal to launch a standalone Personal Concierge eCourse this year. Sometime this year. Not by April, or June, or December 31st. I just need to launch it this year, and as I am getting closer to the end of the creation, I can start to set myself some deadlines. You now what, I’ve already mapped out the core modules, and I’m feeling quite excited about beginning the development process. I have no pressure! It is going to be fun!
So how about you? Do you have any big goals that you’ve set yourself, but now find yourself breathing in sharply and the beginning of a headache coming on? Why don’t you try and be a bit nicer to yourself. Why not test out this flexible goal theory. Are you waiting to launch until your website is done? Why not launch, and get your website ‘done’ when it gets done. Have you set yourself the goal of getting 5 new clients in one month? Why not set yourself the goal of getting 5 new clients, and perhaps, when you get your third or fourth client, you can push yourself to get 5 by the end of that month?
I’m not asking you to leave the deadline totally open ended, simply so you have a good excuse to not actually do anything. It needs to be a goal that you really want to achieve, and is totally doable. I’m just asking you to be a little bit flexible with the when and the how, just while you give yourself a chance to get started.
What do you think? Would flexible goals work for you? Or are you just laughing as you’re reading this, knowing full well you’d get absolutely nothing done!
Me? Well, I’m about to get back to planning my eCourse. And I think I might open my story again and write a few lines………..