You’ve probably heard the sage advice “Write down your goals”.
In almost every personal-development book or blog I’ve come across, it’s always up there.
But if you’re anything like me, you’re thinking along the lines of..
“Yeah, but, you don’t actually need to write them down. That’s what brains are for.”
Ahh… the naivety.
By not writing them down, we’re shying away from the goal-smashing beasts hibernating within us.
People, let’s talk goals.
Why You’re Wasting Your Time and Effort If You Ain’t Got A Goal
Ok. Lots of us don’t even have a goal. We don’t even know what our goal is.
We might want to “get rich”, or get “in-shape”, or “make friends”. But these aren’t really goals. These are the expecting-things-to-happen-for-us goals.
Let me explain.
Imagine someone’s running up and down a football pitch, dribbling a football. The name’s No-Goal Jim. He wants to get “good” at football, but he has no idea how to play.
No-Goal Jim is dribbling the ball, but when he reaches the end of the pitch, instead of tapping the ball into the net, he turns around and runs back to the other end, where he does the exact same thing.
And this cycle goes on and on and on. End to end, but without scoring a goal. All that effort, but no results. He’s so close to achieving the result (scoring the goal & becoming a better footballer) – close, but no cigar.
“Iain, what on Earth are you talking about?”
Now, on a different pitch, there’s another guy. Let’s call him Bob. (Question noted.)
Now Bob wants the same result as No-Goal Jim. Bob wants to become a better footballer too. But Bob knows his goal. He knows that by silkily tapping the ball into the net each time he runs a length of the pitch, he’ll improve.
So Bob runs exactly the same distance as No-Goal Jim, but makes sure he fires the ball into the net each time he reaches the end.
The moral of the story? Both players put the same amount of effort in. But Bob knows his goal, so achieves the desired result. No-Goal Jim is working his ass off, but gets no result.
You can’t expect to achieve a result with no clear goal.
This might sound pretty trivial, but it’s wise to remind ourselves.
We all want to be successful. But what is your definition of successful? What is your goal attached with being a success? You can’t achieve success without first knowing what success is to you.
We all want to be “in-shape”. But what is the goal associated with that? Is it to eat healthy? Is it to hit the gym everyday? Is it to be able to run a marathon?
Most of us want to earn a lot of money. But what is the goal associated with that? Is it to start your own business? Is it to work your way up in a company?
Red T-Shirt Theory
I watched a video on youtube 6 months back (can’t find it anymore) by Daryl Urbanski talking about “Red T-shirt Theory”.
It goes like this..
Question: How many people did you see wearing red t-shirts yesterday?
“What… that’s just stupid.”
Just answer the damn question.
“Ermm… I dunno.”
Exactly. But you probably did see some people wearing red t-shirts, right?
“Ehh yeah, probably.”
Now, if I told you, “Tomorrow, your goal is to count how many people you see wearing red t-shirts.” You’ll: a) be able to tell me exactly how many people you saw red t-shirts. And b) you’ll notice a ton of people wearing red t-shirts.
Let me repeat. If you make it your goal to count red t-shirts tomorrow, you’ll notice way more people wearing red t-shirts than when it wasn’t your goal.
Why You Need To Start Writing Down Your Goals
The lesson of Red T-Shirt theory is this; Once you make something your goal, you become aware of anything and everything associated with it.
Your brain devotes a few workers to always be on the lookout for goal-related stuff. And what is goal related stuff? Opportunities. Areas for improvement. Mistakes.
Say you want to get the result of earning money, and your goal is to start your own side-hustle. By defining your goal, and committing it to paper, you’ll find that opportunities just jump out everywhere.
The world suddenly becomes a Whac-a-mole of business ideas.
A granny is knitting in the street (who knows) and you see a knitting business. There’s a bunch of massive tyres on a farm and you see a bootcamp fitness business. There’s a house fallen into disrepair and you see a property development opportunity.
All of these opportunities have always been right under your nose. But it’s only until you define and write down your goal that they jump out at you.
Once you make something your goal, you’ll start seeing opportunities everywhere.
And by opportunities I also mean opportunities for improving too. If you make your goal to bake awesome cakes, then your brain becomes super-receptive to anything in the way, shape or form of baking.
If your goal is to lift really heavy weights, and you commit it to paper, then your lift-heavy-ass-weight antennae get fired up.
Other advantages? It commits you. For some reason, the physical act of writing down your goal induces feeligs in your brain like…
“Woahh… shit’s goin’ down.”
No matter how non-committal you feel, no matter how daunting the task ahead and no matter how impossible the goal may seem, the simple act of putting your goal from thoughts to paper changes everything.
It turns a thought (not real), into a written down goal (real). Your “waiting-for-it-to-happen” mindset becomes a “holy crap, I’m gonna go out there and make it happen!” mindset.
Don’t ask me why. Just try it.
Call To Action
Are you ready for this? Here’s what you’ll need:
- Writing implement.
- Piece of paper. (Or some wall)
- 20 earth minutes.
Ok, here’s what I’m inviting you to do to start kicking some serious goals into shape.
Write down your 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year goals. I.e write down EVERYTHING you want to achieve by this time next year.
For your 1 year goals, choose your absolute highest priority.
If you could achieve one thing by the end of next year, what would it be?
Write down the steps you need to take to get there. Write down the type of person you need to become to achieve your goals.
And lastly, stick your goal paper somewhere you’ll constantly see it. On your bedroom wall, on your ceiling for when you wake up in the morning, or on the bathroom door for some inspirational pit stops.
Do this, and consider your opportunity antennae officially primed.
Go for it!
As always, Dream Big Start Small!
Love you all,