Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
For this article I wanted to revisit a series of videos that I linked in an article I wrote in December of 2016.
The reason I’m coming back to this article is because as the 2019 year is coming to a close, I am starting to think about goal setting for next year.
If you have been with me for a while, you know my family and I have a ritual of personal goal setting. We’ll certainly be continuing that this year.
In anticipation of that and as I begin thinking about professional goals for 2020, I began searching through the internet for a set of goal setting rules to help inspire and motivate me.
I found hundreds of guru’s all with their own variation of goal setting steps.
None of the one’s I found were as compelling and few seemed to be as sound as the old “Nine Steps for Achieving any Goal” that Bill Bartmann gave us way back in the early 2000’s.
Bill died almost exactly three years ago on November 29, 2016.
In his honor and for your benefit, I’ve summarized the nine rules from Bartmann’s videos. I have also linked the 5 part video series where he shares his life experiences and the life lessons that led him to create the nine steps. I invite you to listen to Bartmann and hear this all directly from him.
Step 1 – Make Sure Your Goal is Your Own.
As Bill notes in his talk, this may seem like a trite first step, but it is an essential one. It’s common for people to drive towards a goal that was given to them by a Father, a Mother, or an influential figure in their lives. Before you set a goal you need to have an open and honest conversation with yourself. Don’t set a goal because it sounds good, or because your Family would be proud. Don’t set a goal because it’s what you think you should do, or because it’s the path you have been on. Set a goal that is important to you.
Step 2 – Make it a Promise
The word “goal” suggests something to strive for or something your work towards. This suggests the possibility that you could fall short of achieving the goal. A “promise” denotes a greater commitment. You don’t break a promise and you don’t just try to fulfill a promise. You fulfill your promises. This subtle shift in language is an important psychological distinction that reinforces your commitment.
Step 3 – Clearly Identify Your Promise
Clarity is very important. It’s not enough to say “I want to be successful” or “I want to be wealthy”. It’s not even enough to say “I want to make a million dollars”. You have to specifically define your promise. The promise could be something like, “I promise to graduate from college with a Bachelors degree in Engineering”, or “I promise to stop renting and buy my own house”, or “I promise to start my own real estate consulting business”. Your promise should be clearly defined and you should be able to point to a milestone which marks the achievement of that promise.
Step 4 – Identify Your Personal Motivator
What drives you? Is it fear? Is it success? Is it comfort? What will happen if you don’t fulfill your promise? What will happen if you do fulfill your promise? This personal motivator will draw you through the times when you want to quit…and you will want to quit. It’s human nature to make excuses and rationalize behaviors for not doing the things that will help you fulfill your promise. Identifying and documenting your personal motivator will help you stay on track. Write down your personal motivator and keep it someplace where you can see it during the times you want to quit. When you feel like you can’t do any more and you want to surrender to your weakness, remind yourself of your personal motivator.
Step 5 – Create a Promise Plan
A promise plan is exactly what it sounds like. It is a an outline for how you plan to fulfill your promise. Every project requires a plan. The more detailed your plan, the better. The more complex your promise the more detailed your plan should be. Schedule time for you to work on your plan. Your plan does not need to be completely worked out right from the start. The plan may even evolve over time. The key is to map out a path. If necessary, map out the first 6 months and then map out the next 6 months. Continue to develop the plan until you have a clear path for fulfilling your promise.
Step 6 – Review your Plan Regularly
Once you have documented a complete plan for fulfilling your promise, you have to review it regularly. Without this, you are sure to sway away from your path. Obviously, the more frequently you review the plan the more on-track you will remain. These reviews also allow you to modify the plan. The path you initially set might need adjustment from time to time. You have the freedom to change the plan, but only if you are reviewing it. Bill recommends reviewing your plan daily for 20 minutes a day at a minimum, but he goes even further. Bill suggests carrying a card in your pocket to remind yourself about your plan every time you reach in your pocket.
Step 7 – Tell Yourself You will Achieve It
Self-affirmations may seem trite in this day and age, but there are many example of successful people who use self-affirming techniques to achieve great things. Don’t allow yourself to doubt that you can fulfill your promise. When those thoughts rear their ugly heads, squash them down by telling yourself you will fulfill your promise.
Step 8 – Tell Other About Your Promise
Sharing your promise with others makes you accountable. This technique is not uncommon, but it is effective. Start by telling someone you trust that you have made this promise and share your plan with them. Tell them how you plan to fulfill your promise and share your timeline with them. One of two things will happen when you share your plan. Either the person will help you see where your plan is flawed, or they will offer to help you with some portion of your plan. Either result will help you achieve fulfill your promise. Once you have shared your promise with someone you trust, then you can share it more broadly. The more people you share your promise with, the more accountability and the more resources you will have.
Step 9 – Visualize the Final Result
The final step in Bill Bartmann’s goal setting approach is to visualize the final results. This is another form of motivator. Picture what your life will be like when your promise has been fulfilled. Will you live in a mansion in a bustling city? Will you live in the a cabin in a peaceful countryside? Will you be revered and respected? Will you live a life of peace and tranquility? Just as the promise needs to be your own, so does the visualization of the final result.
There is one final thing that Bill Bartmann recommends. This above all is his best advice. Regardless of what you do for goal setting or how lofty or modest your goals are, take the time every day to contemplate your life. Consider your path and envision your future. Do you need to make a change? Or are you on a path that leads you to your promise.
What about you? What techniques do you use for goal setting? Have you found a method that works great for you? Tell me your stories.
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