Archive for goal setting


Paint By Numbers Living

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Setting numerical goals can be both a prison and a liberation. Having numbers to aim for, such as pounds to loose, miles to run, dollars to earn, books to read, fruit to eat, phone calls to make or words to write, can either turn into a “should”, leading to resentment and often giving up, or can help to motivate us or help us to adjust our course, as we work towards achieving them.

What makes the difference is our attitude and how conscious we are of our choices.

Here’s an example. Yesterday, I found an old exercise in one of my journals. I’d listed the things I wanted to create in my life. Then I allocated an amount of money to each of them, so I could see how much I needed to earn, on a daily basis, in order to have them.

I’ve done this type of exercise on a number of different occasions but it has never been that useful to me. That’s because I know that much of the lifestyle I desired couldn’t simply be bought. So, despite my best intentions, I’ve always ended up feeling the exercise was a bit pointless.

Today, I decided to experiment with a different approach. Instead of just writing off this process as useless, I asked myself how this exercise might help me rather than if it would.

I know from past experience that setting a numerical goal in a numerical context can be a great motivator. For example, when I wanted to pay off my credit card debt I drew up a graph with 3 different coloured lines. Two represented the amount I owed on two different credit cards and the third represented the total debt. The lines went from the left hand side of the graph showing the amount I currently owed to zero at the point in the future by which I wanted it paid off. Every month, after receiving my credit card statements, I plotted the actual amount that I still owed.

Having a visual numerical representation of my progress inspired me to keep going and to beat the goals I’d set. The second month, which was one with a lot of family birthdays, was the only one  when I didn’t meet or surpass my targets.

So, in this situation, where my goals were easily quantifiable, making them measurable was hugely successful.

However, not all goals are quantifiable and even when they are, the way in which they are achieved is critical as to whether they feel like a prison or a liberation.

Creating a desired future lifestyle is never going to keep you motivated if the journey to it’s creation is filled with stress, striving or struggle. So it’s important to remember that the numbers are a tool – something to aim for – but they are not the destination.

The destination is the process. It’s about the journey itself.

So, bearing that in mind – how might the exercise of monetising a lifestyle be helpful?

1.  It gives me something concrete that I can measure my progress against.

2.  It gives me something concrete that I can measure my results against, so I can adjust my course if I’m no longer on target.

And . . .

3. When I have the experience of working towards the results I can see if I enjoy the journey enough to make their pursuit worthwhile.

Categories : Creating My Life
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Connecting the Internal to the External

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Continuing the story from my planning from the present and combining past and future posts . . .

The exciting news is . . . I’m in! I’ve been accepted into Ed Dale’s mentoring programme and the first 1 : 1 session is on Thursday.

The first step was to create a pre-start questionnaire which was a little unnerving since a number of the questions didn’t really apply to my situation. I’m feeling a bit nervous about how Ed will view my approach but am also not going to waste any energy worrying about it in advance.

As I said when I applied:

I am fascinated by what makes people “tick” and why some of us are successful and others not etc. etc. AND I am fascinated by technology and the internet. I would love to be able to combine the 2.

That is the area I’m really interested in – where the 2 worlds collide. How can you be successful when it’s not lack of information/a system that’s the problem. It’s your habits/beliefs/behaviours/personality etc? And, can the “you” bit be built into the learning process? How can technology help us do that?

Apart from combining two fields I enjoy working in there is another exploration that’s important to me and that is living from the inside out versus living from the outside in.

My previous attempts at setting up an internet marketing business have been externally focussed. That is, the motivation has been the money I wanted to earn (external outcomes) and the tactics that would get me there. To be fair most of the courses are taught this way and after trying and failing at a number of them I realised that my failure wasn’t due to what the courses were teaching but to a lack of consciousness about what I was doing and why I was doing it.

I’m not alone. Thousands of people have spent thousands of dollars chasing the internet marketing dream but relatively few have succeeded. The money and the ease with which it can be generated attracts us but it is often an habitual reaction to the idea that money will make us happy. Even if that were true, we don’t stop and consider whether or not the promises of the get rich dream is what we want anyway. So we find ourselves chasing a dream that’s not really ours and then feel upset when we don’t succeed.  The consequence of  focussing exclusively on external goals without matching them to our internal values makes it impossible to keep going when the going gets though. So we abandon whatever we’ve been trying and move on to the next shiney, new toy.

Having tired of that I moved back to coaching last year but unwittingly kept loosing the plot when I made the same mistake, albeit in a different arena. Setting exclusively external goals was a road that led to low energy and confusion. But it also led to great learning.

So combining, the lessons of the two I can say that a lack of external structure leaves me directionless, listless and feeling unfulfilled while “enforced” structure, by way of a plan I’ve concocted (or bought) for it’s own sake, leaves me bored , unable to keep my commitments to myself and feeling unfulfilled.

So, I am approaching my year of mentoring differently.

Part of the deal for acceptance on the programme was to agree to create measurable, specific goals. Starting out they will be about building a subscribers list of people who are interested in exploring and consciously creating their lives and who enjoy reading and commenting here.

The mentoring will create a framework within which I can explore and challenge those beliefs/stories I tell myself that hold me back. The numbers will give me something more concrete to measure and to challenge myself with.

Even before the programme started I confronted the discipline of writing (or lack thereof) and committed myself to my 15 minutes a day goal.  And, I noticed my tendency of constantly waiting for something else to happen before I begin and have made choices to start anyway.

I see this year as an opportunity to learn from a master in his field, to take a curious peep into a world I know little of, to hang out with interesting and inspiring people to challenge myself and to keep stepping outside my comfort zone. Internet marketing then becomes the structure within which I can experiment and dance with life. I am excited about what I will create.

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I’ve been sitting in a cafe for about 40 minutes but I haven’t produced much that I could put on my blog or elsewhere. But that’s OK right? My commitment from learning discipline was just to write for 15 minutes about anything I fancied, not to writing a blog post or article or even something I thought was half decent. So, actually, I’ve had a resounding success. But that fact passed me by and I’ve been feeling worse and worse because I wasn’t producing enough.

Earlier this morning I imagined myself going from cafe to cafe, writing copiously. I’d moved the goal posts in my head and not noticed. So, when I found myself struggling to write more my energy began to drop.

Last Thursday, I’d deliberately set a goal (just 15 minutes writing) that I felt I could manage easily. But I’m used to struggle. I’m used to hard, to goals being hard won. I’ve made a habit of it.

But I caught myself in time. I kept my commitment to 15 minutes writing so, hoorah, hoorah! Today my writing was a resounding success!

Categories : Creating My Life
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Planning from the Present

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Returning to my blog after a fairly hefty absence, I discovered a comment, left by Chieko, on one of my “I don’t know what to do with my life” type posts, asking “How was your 4 week period?”. Hmmmm. I thought. What 4 week period would that be then? So I went back and looked.

On August 22nd I wrote a post which finished with:

“So, this is what I am going to do for the next 4 weeks. I am going to experiment with creating my life from where I am and without knowing where I’m going. I’m going to pay more attention to what is present and, when opportunities occur which I’m not sure about I will say “yes” rather than “no”.

Bottom line I’m going to have 4 weeks off from being concerned about not knowing what I want and see what happens.”

Well, the truth is, I seemed to have forgotten this idea pretty quickly, referring back to it just once more a few days after the original post. But it still appeals and it still inspires me. But more about that later.

On Oct 15th I mentioned a new project which I intended to write more about but which also seems to have been forgotten. And then there was the final burst – a new 28 day challenge I set for myself which would last until my return to Phoenix and the end of the Coaching School. But . . . you guessed it . . . that fizzled out too.
So, in answer to your question Chieko, my 4 week period disappeared down my good intentions plug-hole, while I was wandering off to pastures new. Actually, I wasn’t so much wandering off as lying down – literally!

The last time I posted, on Nov 13th, I said:

“So, now I have a choice, do I want to stay stuck and pretend to be playing the game or will I take the next step and create a plan? I choose to re-engage in my project and create a plan. So, once again, I reset my commitment to enrol 10 people on my 6 month coaching programme called – ‘When You Don’t Know What You Want – Make It Up!’.”

Hmmmm. Dropped the ball on that one too. I think it was the word “plan” that finally did me in because I had another really low period and even took to my bed for a few days. Not to worry though cuz, here I am again. Once more into the fray and all that.

So, back to that perennial question, where to from here?

Well, I think I can safely say that creating a 6 month coaching programme, right now, is a step too far for me. I don’t want it enough. But coaching itself is most definitely not off the agenda. It’s just the form it will take that’s uncertain.

Having a plan was enough for me to take to my bed and yet I’m finding that being without direction is equally demotivating. However, I think I may have found a way to have the best of both worlds and it involves returning to what I said in August: “I’m going to pay more attention to what is present and, when opportunities occur which I’m not sure about I will say “yes” rather than “no”.

More on that in combining past and future . . .

Categories : Creating My Life, Mood
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Little Struggles are Toxic Too

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One of the rules I set for myself in creating my 28 Day Challenge is: “I will not struggle nor suffer”. Now, when I wrote that I was thinking of the times I’d gone round and round in circles, sometimes for weeks on end, trying to work something out or make something happen. And one thing I am sure of is that struggle never gets me anywhere but stressed, frustrated or feeling depressed. Hence, the rule.

So, on Day 1, everything was fresh and exciting and I was open to possibilities and very much living in the present. I set my goal and then let go of it, while I got on with the business of taking action from the  moment – just doing the next thing. Eveything was hunky, dory. The next thing came and went, listening to the audio of  ‘Creating the Impossible’, responding to emails, putting my intention out into the world by writing about it etc.

After lunch I wasn’t sure about the next step so decided to go for a walk and then go for a coffee where I would brainstorm some ideas of what the coaching programme might actually look like. But just as I was leaving I received an email from my coach, responding to my 28 day challenge. It said:

“Gillian. For one thing, you’re a very persuasive and beautiful
writer…you can really express yourself well….SO create
a POWERFUL letter of invitation…I filled a mastermind
group of 20 people at $10,000 each, and I did this
twice, by sending a letter.”

So, there was my next step.

I went for my walk, went for a coffee and sat with my pen and paper made my first stab at a letter of invitation. Now, what was interesting was, I don’t really know what a letter of invitation is but I just settled myself down and wrote. My first few attempts weren’t good but I reminded myself that  “this is just a game”, “I don’t actually have to run a seminar if I don’t want to”, “this is all in the future and all I’m doing is playing around with an idea right now”. Then eventually a “letter” began to emerge and I had fun creating it.

So, fast forward to yesterday, when I listen to the next Impossible Challenge audio and settle down to do the next thing. But yesterday’s “next thing” just didn’t seem to flow and, I realise now, that that was because I’d unknowingly already decided what that next thing was. My invitation letter was only half written so I’d simply assumed that the “next thing” would be the completion of that. And, all day, on and off I struggled with trying to write it. But it was very subtle. I wasn’t sitting down and saying to myself “this letter must be finished” but I was, unconsciously, thinking that and, as a consequence I probably missed an easier “next thing”. And by easier I simply mean, one that flowed more. And, I didn’t get much further with the letter.

So, today I reset my commitment to  enrol 10 people on my 6 month coaching programme called – ‘When You Don’t Know What You Want – Make It Up!’ and I reset my commitment to doing so without a struggle – be it little or large.

Hmmm. So what’s the next thing? . . . Breakfast. Easy!

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Gillian Pearce – Life Moves


About Life Moves

Life Moves is an unfolding story of my journey to discover and create what I truly want from life. I hope you will find my writings helpful, inspirational, encouraging, amusing or, at the very least, usually worth reading. Please feel free to comment on any posts about which you have an opinion. Or make one up. I do it all the time and it can be very dull, alone in cyberspace.

Bon Voyage!