Teachers in Business

How to Set a Goal that WORKS

August 10, 2021 Sara Torpey Season 1 Episode 37
Teachers in Business
How to Set a Goal that WORKS
Show Notes Transcript

Having a goal is a good idea, right? 

I mean...it seems like a good idea, BUT. 

Here's the thing. It's easy for goal-setting to go terribly wrong. 

And when it does, we get FRUSTRATED - it sucks to set goals and not reach them, AND doing this over and over again KILLS your confidence. 

Who wants to set themselves up for failure over and over again? I get it. I see you. 

And I'm here to offer you an alternative. 

This week on Teachers in Business I'm sharing how to set A goal - one goal - that will actually work for you. 

We'll talk about why having a goal matters, why I very much advocate for 1 vs. multiple, and how to think about this whole process of setting (and hitting) a goal differently. 

It CAN work, and it doesn't need to feel like banging your head into the wall! 

Welcome, welcome to Episode 38. So let's talk about how to set a goal that works. Listen, I hear you, I hear all the time from people that like, they'll say, setting goals doesn't work for me. Or they'll say, I have goals, I have 14, it's great. I don't know which one matters more. I don't know how to choose what to do. I have a list that's 400 miles long. But I have goals. And then there are some people that are like, I have a goal, I think I have a goal. It's my goal. I mean, kind of, they're afraid to commit. Here's the thing about goals, they seem like a really good idea. But in practice, the way we've been taught to set them is really difficult. It is easy for goal setting to go terribly wrong. And when it does, we go frustrated, we get frustrated. And when we get frustrated, we we obviously don't make progress the way we might if we weren't frustrated. And when we get frustrated by goals, time and time again, what happens over time is it kills your confidence, you stop setting goals, which means in a lot of ways you stop reaching and stretching the way you could be. And really like, I don't want to be set up for failure time and time again, either. I don't want to bang my head into the wall. Nobody does, it sucks. So I hear you on goals. And what I'd like to offer you today on this episode of the podcast is an alternative. We're going to talk about how to set a goal, one goal in a way that can actually work for you. We're going to talk about where they go wrong, why having a goal matters, what this approach is all about. And then what to do when you don't hit your goal, because that's a part of this, not hitting your goals as normal. And that is, that's the thing here, right like that. And society is not what they tell us about goals, like you're supposed to set a goal on it. And that's the way it works checkbox. But we're not going to think about goals as a checkbox anymore. So first, here's where goals go wrong. One of the things that happens, like I said before, is we set a goal, we don't hit it, we get frustrated, when we get frustrated, we start to be mean to ourselves, right? Because it's like, oh my gosh, what's wrong with you? Why can't you do this? Or like, Oh, you should have been able to figure this out? But of course you can't. Or you know, who do you think you are to try to do this, of course it wasn't going to work, then we get disappointed. And we get embarrassed. And neither of those things are things that if we don't sort of acknowledge that they're there, we like try to avoid like the plague, right? We don't want to acknowledge that we're there. We don't want to feel those things. And so we're like, you know what goals aren't for me. That's not, that's not gonna help. Here's the thing, because if you're not reaching for goals, or the next thing in some way, shape or form, then you're disappointed that you didn't stretch. So without a goal, you're disappointed with the goal, you're disappointed. This means that the system is broken, and we need to do something different. So there are a couple of common ways that people set goals, I'm going to advocate for something a little different. One way we've been taught to set goals is to like have a million. Someone somewhere along the way taught us human beings that like it is okay to have 53 goals to make them like a to do list like Santa Santa scroll. And to just be like, Oh, yeah, I have 15 goals I have, I'm going to lose 10 pounds, I'm going to eat healthy, I'm not going to have any sugar. I'm going to grow my business by X amount of dollars this month. I'm going to raise brilliant children I am and then it's like all these things happen all at once. And it's all sudden we're overwhelmed. And we wonder why. Here's the thing. We can't, our human brains can't hold that much. We cannot focus on 66 things at once. That's why multitasking is not a thing. Right? It's you know, all the studies show that us doing three things at once doesn't actually work because our brains literally can't do three or three things at once. It's like trying to think of two sentences at the same time. Your brain can't even do that. Because of its thinking of one sentence. It can't be thinking of the other. So when we're trying to do three things at once things go wrong, which is why having lots of competing goals is really difficult. One of the other common problems is having you know this being in this place where you're like, you know what, this didn't work for me. I can't. I'm out.


Just abject abdicating all the way around. And I understand I understand how you get there, I've been there. I've been there in the last two years. But I also understand the difference it makes for me when I have a goal in mind when I keep it at the front of my face. And when I really do focus on using my goal, to help me make decisions. And then the last way this goes wrong is having a kind of goal, where it's sort of like, your gun shy, right. So it's probably a case where you've been disappointed a bunch of times, you've felt bad, you haven't fit your goal. And you know, you need one. So you hit, you make a goal, and then you decide it's okay, if it doesn't, if you don't hit it, and you're not really committed to it. Like you don't want to be tied to it, you don't want to be disappointed. So you just like, it's just like a goal in name only you don't focus on it. It's like, when you liked a boy, when you were younger, you liked someone, right? Not a boy or whoever, you had a crush, but you didn't want to pin your hopes on it, because you didn't get to wanted to get disappointed, right? This is the same kind of thing. It's like dating. And you don't want to get disappointed. So you don't like put your heart in it, you just sort of guard yourself against the disappointment, and that's not actually going to help. So the alternative I'd like to propose to you today is not only a an approach to setting goals, and I would take the S off that goals because I my approach is to only set one. It's an approach, but it's also a plan for what to do when you don't hit it. Because here's the thing, if you're going to set a big goal, you may not hit it right, the second. And that is where a lot of this breaks, right where we set a big goal. We don't hit it, and we're like, what the hell? Now what I did it wrong? No, you didn't. That's the problem. So like the entire process of how we think about goals means are refreshed because it's old and outdated and crappy. So I propose that you set one goal. And I propose this for a couple of reasons. The first is having one goal instead of 10. or none, or a half assed kind of goal makes decision making and prioritizing a whole heck of a lot easier. It simplifies decision making. So it's like does this help me reach my goal? Yes or no? If you think Yes, great, if you think anything, but yes, it's a no, it's really easy. Having one goal also clears confusion. Like there is no more drama related to it. There's no like, which thing which way is this right? Is this wrong? it like, it's like wiping the fog off the glass. When you're off the mirror when you're getting out of the shower. It just clears away the crud. The other thing that I think is really important and really underrated is that having one clear goal really eases the anxiety that comes with goal setting that comes with making progress as a business owner as anything else, honestly. Because it turns down the noise in all of the other like, it should be this one, it should be this one, it should be this one.


It really tones that down. So it makes it there's less to be anxious about really, and I you know, honestly, as someone who rolls with a fair amount of anxiety as a human, I this approach really changed the amount of worrying I was doing. And, you know, maybe that in and of itself is enough of a reason to just think about setting a goal in this way. I think the other thing that it does, in in addition to easing the anxiety is it stops the rabbit hole kind of spinny stuff. Because you get to go like does this fit with my goal or not? And you know, it's many fewer, hard, sharp, right and left turns because you know your path. It may not be perfectly straight, but you at least know where it's headed. And so that whole like, oh, but look how she's doing it. Maybe I'll do it like that. Oh, but look how she's doing it. Maybe I just like that. You don't need any of that anymore. And that is such a relief I find to not have to follow every rabbit trail from here to Kentucky. Is is a is is a huge time saver. Right. And it's that's the thing, this is a time saver. It's an anxiety either. It is something that's meant to simplify your process and make it feel less chaotic and confusing. Using. So here's how this works. Start with one question. And the one question is this what is the one result you are working to create right now? Your brain is gonna be like, either I don't know, which is your brain lying to you because I don't know is always a lie. You do know you just aren't ready to say it yet maybe, or you haven't found it yet, whatever. Or your brain is gonna be like, No, no, we can't just have one. But here's the thing. If you are in the we just can't have one category. If you have a lot of goals, 99 times out of 100, they all roll up to one. I have seen this with clients time and time and time again, they're like, No, no, I have all these goals. They're all competing. And when we really start to list them out, and look at how they're connected to each other, there actually is an underlying hierarchy to them, that they just haven't seen yet. So if you continue to go back to what is the one result I'm trying to create right now. And in a lot of times, you can reframe this question as what are Why are you working? Like literally, why are you sitting at your desk? What is the whole point of you doing what you're doing? For me, it is to help teachers grow businesses. And for me, it is to create money for myself and my family. Like I have an income goal, I have a number of people I want to help. They are related in really me helping X number of people creates my income goal. So my income goal, income goal is higher on the chain, because that rolls up at the end, that captures the number of people I've helped in it. Right, which is a really interesting thing. There is order in the chaos, it is just a matter of figuring out how it works, of finding the patterns of seeing the connections in you can figure them out. It is possible. It's something I do with people all the time. So if you're like wha How is this all related? And you're not sure, send a message, let's have a conversation about it, because I know I can help you figure it out. It also helps sometimes to have somebody on the outside helping you check your priorities. So the other question, if you have a lot of goals in your life, how do I get to one? The one question is, you know, which goal which result do each of them serve? They are all most of the time, what happens is there's one sort of hierarchy at the top high level sort of Queen goal. And then everything else really is in service to that. It's just a matter of how you see it. Like, for me, me, doing my podcast episode is in service to helping teachers create businesses, which creates income for me and my family. Me posting on social media is in service to helping teachers create businesses, is creating money for me and my family. Me, taking the course that I'm in right now. And doing that work is in service to helping teachers create businesses by helping me be better at mine, which creates income in my business for me and my family. It all rolls up. It's just a matter of figuring out to what most of the time it's some sort of quantity. But that's that's figure routable. Right? As Marie Forleo Forleo says, So, if you're not, if you're like, I don't have a goal, I don't do goals. That's not for me. Think about why? Because honestly, what do you have to lose by having one? And if the answer is you're going to be mean to yourself, when you don't hit it, then like let's keep listening because I have an alternative plan. But it's not going to hurt you to have a goal unless you're going to be crappy to yourself about it. That's the only way it's going to hurt you otherwise, it's just going to do you good. That's the thing. So what are you avoiding? If you don't have a goal? What are you missing out on if you don't have a goal? And how many times are you willing to fail in order to reach your goal? Because if you're willing to fail, why wouldn't you have a goal? Because for me, I find that failure equals learning, right? You can't succeed without failure. So if I'm not feeling that I'm not progressing, and having a goal helps me keep track of that even if I don't hit it right away. It's fine. I'm willing to not hit it, are you is the question and then if you have a loose goal, if You have like a, like a, like, I just keep it over there in the corner to say I have a goal kind of goal. What would you need to think, to truly commit? What would you have to feel to really own your goal and like, wear it like a badge of honor, and keep it at the front of your mind? What if you were truly committed? What would it look like? What would it feel like? How would it work? Because, you know, loosey goosey goals are fine. But they lead you loosey goosey results. And if you're not going to commit, then it's not going to come back to you. That's that's how this works. You got to commit first. It's just like anything else in life, you know, the universe is as engaged with your goal as you are. So if you are kind of like, kinda want that to work, then it's gonna kind of work. And if you'd like kind of results then kind of commit. That's, that's the thing. I mean, it's a little bit of tough love. 


But that's, you know, that's the way it goes. So I'm gonna write that down, because that was a good one for me to share some other way. Okay, so here's the thing, you know how to pick. Now, here's the problem, you're not going to hit it. There is going to be some goal you set maybe this first one, you hit it right away. Congrats, it's perfect. More often than not, though, you're going to set a goal, it's going to be a big, scary goal, and then you are going to miss. And guess what? That is totally. Okay. We are going to start treating goals as a thermometer rather than a checkbox. So think about it. If you think about the league in the town, we used to live in a New Jersey, there was this big mural on the wall for at one of the ymcas that had their fundraising goal. And as they made more money, they painted in the thermometer, all the way to the top of their goal. This is how you should see your goal. It's a really helpful visual, you can think about your progress to the goal as what's filling up your thermometer versus a yes or no checkbox. This is not the point of the goal, the goal is making progress. Even if it's little by little, it is not just check having the box. That's the thing. That's where this all goes sideways, right? Because we, you know, you say I want to make $20,000 this month. If you can't check the box, you feel like you failed. But that sucks. Because if you made a team you did pretty friggin Well, if you made five, you made it a quarter of the way there. So you made progress. But if it's like, well, I didn't get to check the box, you're not acknowledging the progress. And, you know, for students in a classroom, we would never allow them to do that. We'd say Look how far you've come. But for ourselves really glad I made it. I didn't check the box. Hmm. So first, if you don't hit it, don't have a stroke, relax. Think about the thermometer versus the checkbox. 


The second step is to evaluate it has to happen, what's working, what's not working? What do you want to do to adjust? That is the natural course. Decide how often you want to evaluate with your goal. I tend to do it monthly. I have clients that do it every week. I have clients that do it every two months, I have one that does it every quarter, whatever, doesn't matter just matters that you do I find monthly is nice, because then I do more regularly make adjustments and I do evaluate weekly, I just don't always do it based on my goal. Okay, I won't die. And then once you have evaluated and decided how to adjust, recommit. You hear me don't change it. Unless you hit it. You can change it. But if you didn't hit it recommit. You didn't hit it, nobody died. It's okay. Think about I was this is the place where I always think about the Wright brothers, or any other kinds of scientists like think about I don't know think about modern medicine. Think about spaceflight. Think about the amazing things people humans have figured out how to do. Do you think that the first time they didn't check the box they were like up too bad? Guess we're screwed? No.


They did it five times 10 times 100 times 1000 times they did it over and over and over. And every time they made an adjustment and they got a little closer and they got a little closer and they got a little closer until they got where they were going. That is the difference recommitting makes. So you do it is important to sit back and be like alright, here I am recommitting make that an official process. Do yourself a favor and then recommit and go again. It is okay. There's nothing wrong with recommitting and doing it again, you learned you made progress, apply it. That's the idea here. So this is what I would propose for you. So it's decide what your one goal is based on the result you're working towards right now, which is also known as why the heck are you sitting in your desk chair, okay? When you don't hit it, if you don't hit it, start with relaxing to thermometer now to checkbox, evaluate what worked, what didn't and what you want to adjust, and then recommit. The commitment matters because when you're not committed, it's kind of results are created out of kind of commitment the way it is. And here's the offer I want to make to you today. Coaching is one of the most effective tools available to reach your goals. I am the product of this, my clients are the product of this, it is what it is, it's the truth, you can absolutely do this on your own. But you don't have to. And that's the point. If you are tired of banging your head into your desk alone, I am here to help. This is my jam, I am good at taking your crazy 50 goals in helping you focus on one, I am good at helping people commit to the thing that they really want and move forward. This is what I do best, you do not have to reinvent the wheel, you do not have to, you know completely terrible what you're working on right now and throw it out the window, we can look at what's going well and create more success from success. If you want to go faster if you want to work smarter instead of harder, if you would like to make fewer mistakes along the way. That is the point of coaching friends. And here's the thing, you can just go to my website, which is torpeycoaching.com and book a time to talk if you would like to talk and you walk away from our free conversation and all you have is a really clear single focus goal. Great and if you're like hey, I want to work with her. Awesome and if you're like hey, thanks really cool. That's awesome, too. I'm good either way. But what matters is you get what you need. Okay? Because that's the nature of the teacher. So I look forward to talking with you about goals. If you have thoughts about this podcast, send a message you know where to find me on Facebook in my group called teachers in business or on LinkedIn. And if you are feeling crazy and you want to hop over to Apple podcasts and on iTunes, oh gosh, and leave a review and rate the podcast. I would be super appreciative because that's how other people find this. So, happy goal setting. I'll talk to you later. Have a great week.