Quick – think back. Way back…about three months ago. What was on your mind?
Could it have been…your New Year’s resolutions?
What goals did you tell yourself you WOULD GET DONE this year?
How about it – how are they coming along? Have you accomplished them already? Are you at least 25% of the way there?
Or have you fallen prey to the waves of “hafta’s” and “gotta do’s” that dash so many people’s hopes of achieving their goals each year?
According to University of Scranton research, only 8% of Americans achieve their New Years’ goals each year.* Pretty sobering, eh?
So, what do you think? Want to be an 8 Percenter?
I sure do. So I have been diligently writing down my goals and trying to keep up with my To Do list every day.
I was doing ok at it…
but man oh, man…did you ever see a To-Do list with teeth?
Sometimes I felt like my goals were eating me alive…without my even getting all that close to the ones that mattered!
All that changed when I met this lovely lady.
Bonnie Pond is an amazing woman. She is an educator and an entrepreneur, has managed several retail businesses, run a battered women’s shelter, and has had her own radio show. Today she is a very successful life coach and career coach, motivational speaker, workshop leader, and the author of The Power of Three, How to Be Happy and Get What You Want in Life (Without Doing Anything Illegal, Immoral, or Unethical).
Bonnie was kind enough to speak with me last month about goals.
If you are at all interested in learning how to set the right goals for you and actually achieve them, so you can get more of what you want out of life without killing yourself getting there, then I highly recommend listening to this interview:
(In case you are wondering, don’t worry – we’re not selling anything here. There’s no pitch at the end, and you won’t be hounded by any pop-up windows. Just good, honest information you can use to transform your business and/or your life.
Yes, I know we are all swamped with such a deluge of information, that it’s nearly impossible to sort out the really important stuff from everything else clamoring for our attention these days -let alone actually get it done. Bonnie’s insights can help with that. So read on, and listen!)
During our conversation, Bonnie revealed her simple formula for getting more of what you want out of life.
I’ve been putting what she taught me into practice, and so far her system is helping me meet my daily goals feeling far more relaxed and happy with myself than previously. Just as importantly, I’m also making strides towards a particular long-term goal that’s been taunting me for years.
Here is an excerpt from the interview in which Bonnie reveals a couple of tips that I’ve found particularly helpful:
How to Turn Your To-Do List into a TA-DA! List
Well, I was really, really interested in having you come on right now because it’s that time of the year when a lot of us look around and think, ‘Oh my gosh. What happened to those (New Year’s) goals? I’m just sort of back in the rut.’ And you have a lot of experience in helping people get out of that rut and really start to reach for the stars.
Yes, and you know, it just is human nature to start beating ourselves up when we don’t reach those goals and so if we can start to set goals a little bit differently then I think there’s some real great strategies and some techniques that make it much easier to realistically get what you want.
One of the things that I see a lot is that people sometimes set goals because of somebody else. (Because) somebody thinks you should do it or (because) you think that ‘I should want to do this’ or ‘I’m going to set this goal to please my family.’
Now, the truth of the matter is if you don’t set a goal that’s meaningful to you the chances are you’re not going to do it.
For example I’ve been bugging my husband to quit smoking for years and years and years, and every year his New Year’s resolution is ‘I’m going to quit smoking.’ And by January 3, he’s sneaking the old cigarettes again. That’s because it’s not meaningful to him. He doesn’t see that that’s something he really wants to do.
So, I’d say the first thing for making a realistic goal is make sure that you know that it’s something that you really care about. If you don’t care about achieving it, if it’s not significant enough to you, find another goal because you’re not going to do it anyway.
You know what, that’s a really great point. There are some of us, myself included, who are real people-pleaser types, and for somebody like that it can sometimes be hard to differentiate what is really your real goal and what is really coming from an outside source.
That’s a great point. Well, here’s something that I’ve always told clients. You have to know what you really want in life, and by that I mean what is your big picture? Where do you see yourself say five years down the road?
The reason I ask people to start with that and spend their time thinking it through is because if you can make a very specific picture in your mind – or even write it down – of where you want to be five years from now, it’s so motivating. Knowing what’s really important to you makes it much easier not cave in to what somebody else thinks you should do because you know what your big picture is. You know this particular person’s goal for you…is just not fitting into what (you) really want in (your) life.
So I think that starting with that big picture, thinking about it very, very clearly is a way to focus in on what’s important to you, not what’s important to everybody else. And I know that pressures from other people are really hard but if you know specifically this is what’s really and truly important to (you) then you know where you want to focus your energy.
Do you have any tips for keeping that big picture in mind and not losing it?
Yes. I actually do and this is one that I have to say I learned the hard way. And keeping that big picture in mind is, for myself anyway, is to write about it as if I’m already there in five years. Make it first person and make it as it’s happening now.
But beyond that, taking that five years and then breaking it down, chunking it up because five years is a big span of time and you can put a lot of goals into that five-year period and then it becomes so overwhelming. So breaking it down into where do I want to be in five years.
Okay. That’s great. Now, what about in three years and what about in a year? And keep breaking it down, breaking it down, breaking it down from one year to one month to one week, and finally down to one day because if it’s one day you can do one day, but if it’s five years it’s like, oh my gosh.
And when it’s a five-year plan, if you don’t break it down further, here’s what happens. You go into someday thinking, I’ll get to that someday, but someday never comes. So (break) it down into smaller and smaller chunks. I just call it chunking it out. Break it down and keep it short, make a daily list.
I’m a list maker but I’ve learned also the hard way about list making. I used to make these huge long lists of things that I was going to do today. My husband would look at it and he’d say, ‘It would take a platoon of Marines a week to do this and you think you can do it all by yourself in one day.’
And I would always feel at the end of the day like, oh my gosh, I didn’t get anything done because I had 27 things on my list. Of course I didn’t get them all done.
I can so relate to that because I’m a to-do list maker as well and I’ve kind of come to that too. It’s like well, okay, let’s just put down the really important stuff.
Yes. And here’s what I suggest to everybody that I work with: What are the three most important things that you need to accomplish today to get you just a little bit closer, even it’s a baby step closer, to where you want to be?
No more than your three highest priority items go on your list. You can then focus your energy on them and you get them done.
Now if you finish them and you’ve got lots of time left, great, make another list of three. But no more than three items on your list because when you do that you see immediate daily progress and we all need to see progress for…if we’re not seeing progress we give up because that’s in our nature to say, ‘I’ve worked on this for a month and nothing is happening. Maybe I’m on the wrong track or maybe my goal is wrong,’ whatever.
But if you can see immediate daily progress that really makes a difference. And what I call those are ta-da lists. They’re not to-do lists. They’re ta-da. So when you get those three things done ta-da, I did it.
I absolutely love that “TA-DA!” because it just changes your whole perception of the list, from one of “oh-my-gosh-can-I-even-get-through-this-today” to “This is the stuff that’s really going to get me places!”
And the sense of accomplishment when you get those three things done can’t be beat. It’s a real motivator.
Now, don’t miss the rest of the interview because there are some real secrets to making this system work that I don’t want you to miss.
For instance, Bonnie reveals specific strategies for how to successfully navigate the “middle ground” of goal achievement (where most people get bogged down and never make it).
She also tells about the super-important element your goals achievement strategy must have to keep going strong after your first few successes (without it, you’ll almost certainly lose momentum).
And, my favorite: the three types of people you need to surround yourself with in order to keep you focused and not just reaching for the stars, but actually getting there!
Take a listen, and try Bonnie’s system for yourself. Then come back here and let us know how it transformed your life!
My monthly e-newsletters each contain a link to full-length transcripts of all my interviews with guests, with annotated highlights for easy scanning. Sign up here for access!
*Be careful what you read into this 8% statistic. Turns out, 38% of Americans never make New Years’ resolutions at all! So statistically, your chances of success just went up substantially if you are one of the 62% who did. Now get hopping, and see if you can’t help us boost that percentage just a little higher! 🙂