To say that life can get a little stressful at times feels like a massive understatement. For me, it’s always the days that I miss my train because my morning routine falls apart, I walk through the day feeling guilty about buying my lunch when there’s a fridge full of food at home, and fall into bed with 1,000 mugs left lying around the house. These are the days when making it through to Friday seems like an impossible task and I’m much more inclined to pile on with unhelpful, goal-ruining habits.
I know that nailing a routine helps me to stay on top of this small stuff, making it endlessly easier to hit the bigger goals. But sustaining healthy habits isn’t always easy to achieve. If you’re like me, and you thrive with a little external motivation, listen up.
Reason Season, our four-week healthy habit-making course in partnership with Swisse Multivitamins, kicks off next week. But, before we deep dive into a well of healthy habit-making modules, we wanted to set you up for success by discussing goal-setting you can actually stick to.
When it comes to understanding goals, routines, and the success that forward-thinking can bring, there were two brains that we were particularly eager to pick: Lachlan Bradford and Robbie Hicks, hosts of the cheeky and insightful, Funny Business Podcast.
Exploring all things business culture, performance and wellbeing with a healthy dose of humour, and interviewing guests like Megaphone CEO Lauren Oakes and indigenous author Allira Potter, Lachlan and Robbie are a trove of well-researched knowledge on goal-setting that works.
Here are the duo’s five best insights for setting goals that will lead to success.
Dream Big But Plan Practically
For Lachlan and Robbie, their go-to approach for setting goals you can actually stick to is, well, setting goals you can stick to. When I asked them how to actually get results they said, “we try to set goals based on what we believe are realistic targets.”
Realistic targets don’t have to mean boring targets. “It’s important to be a dreamer, but goals are all about creating an actionable pathway on how to reach them,” and the best way to achieve this is to start small.
According to the duo, starting with every day, actionable goals is the “key to compounding your wins and building your confidence.” Small successes will remind you that bigger goals are achievable. “Something like remembering to take your multivitamins is an excellent start and will hold you in good stead for the long term.”
Topline Insight: Figure out the small daily goals you can achieve that will give you the good feelings and confidence to build to larger goals.
Sort Your Goals Into Categories
The best way to figure out if your goals are manageable is to break them down into four categories, Daily, Weekly, Quarterly and Big Future Goals. There’s no use setting Big Future Goals like money milestones or a big career change without recognising the small goals that will set you up for success to get there.
For Lachlan and Robbie, daily goals look like “to-do lists that help remove stress from the mind.” Simple things like making your bed when you get up will spark a sense of accomplishment and set the tone for the day. For me, this looks like making sure I eat something before my second coffee in the morning to avoid tipping over into sweaty-palm, over-caffeinated territory and an afternoon energy crash.
Goals will look different for everyone so it’s hard to put a simple metric on what works. The duo note that “when thinking about goal setting, it doesn’t matter if it is daily, weekly, quarterly or big hairy audacious goals. The key is they need to be outcome-based.” The outcome dictates the steps which in turn dictate the category.
Robbie recommends posing thoughts to yourself like “what is it that I really want to achieve?” and “I will know I am successful when,” and then planning and executing the steps needed to achieve the outcome.
Topline Insight: Identify your outcome and category to make your goals approachable and manageable over their timeframe.
Make Sure You Clock The Wins
Another foundation for successful goal-setting, according to Lachlan and Robbie “comes from compounding wins.” By getting some wins under your belt, you can bolster your confidence and take steps towards the heftier goals.
But this only works if you actively stop to clock your wins. The boys are sticklers for casting a retrospective gaze over your achievements, insisting, “make sure you introduce some form of review process. Did you hit your goals? Why? Why not?”
The next step is to learn from your success, “how can you implement the learnings when you set your new goals?”
No goal is too small for this stocktake process, reflect on the empty roll of dental floss with the same pride as finishing the book you read before bed every night for the last month and figure out why these small goals worked for you.
Topline Insight: If you smashed a goal, relish in the win and learn from the success.
Find Moments For Mindfulness And Nip Burnout In The Bud
For Lachlan and Robbie, this doesn’t look like your typical meditation, but they don’t rule out mindfulness as an important tool on the path to goal-setting success.
“Sitting cross-legged with crystals and meditating doesn’t work for us. However, we’re big fans of active meditation. Things like cooking, walking in nature, and going for a swim. Find what gives you energy back in your life and make that part of your daily routine.”
Energy is a huge part of maintaining motivation and reaching for new goals and continuing to smash existing ones. As the duo said when we spoke to them, “you can't pour from an empty cup.” By setting time aside for mindfulness and reflection, you can spot stress and burnout before they arrive.
During Reason Season we’ll delve into different avenues of mindfulness, and the best meditation platforms available. We’ll also look at the best ways to deal with burnout at work to ensure your personal goals and routines aren’t compromised by your professional commitments.
Topline Insight: Slow down and take time to reflect and check in with yourself on a regular basis.
Don’t Make Booze Your Bestie
While I can trawl Lachlan and Robbie’s brains for all of their goal-setting knowledge and give you the confidence to go ahead and smash your personal targets, they kindly remind me that “nothing great in life is easy.” Thanks, fellas.
But they’re right when they say “if you set yourself hard goals, be prepared to do the work.” And with hard work, sometimes comes hard failures, but it’s important not to fall on counterproductive crutches when this happens. Alcohol is one of these crutches.
“It’s easy to turn to alcohol when you hit speed bumps along your journey but it will only set you back more. It’s hard to get up and action what you need to do with a hangover.”
I’ve definitely fallen into the trap of having a drink or two-too-many when I’m stressed, only to feel way, way worse the next morning and my problems still exist. And I’m sure I’m not alone.
I find making short-term goals for myself is a great way to keep the booze at bay, and during Reason Season, we’ll share tips and ideas for alcohol-free activities and how to set boundaries for yourself when the idea of another night at the pub isn’t feeding your soul.
Topline Insight: Setting goals is great but sometimes failing to reach them can sting, so mentally prepare for the heftier goals to be challenging so the letdown isn’t so brutal.
It’s impossible to sum up the best practice for setting goals because they look so different for all of us. The one thing that they all have in common, from remembering to take your daily multivitamin, to the big hairy audacious life goals, is that they get easier with time. At least that’s what Lachlan and Robbie assure me.
“Becoming a great goal-setter takes practice. It takes time to learn what are realistic objectives to set based on the length of time available. The more you practice the better you will get at setting and hitting your goals.”
When you sign up, you’ll automatically go into the draw to win a local wellness getaway for you and a mate worth $4,000. The first 100 entrants will receive a bonus $30 voucher to spend on Swisse Women’s and Men’s Multivitamins to kick start their Reason Season journey.
Image credit: Funny Business
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