Holistic Goal Setting (Organize Your Overwhelm Part 5) | #24

Today I’ll share my holistic goal setting method. This is part 5 of my series on goal setting, and how it can help you organize the overwhelm of your life and set you up for success at any time of the year⁠⁠, so please keep listening. In this episode:

  • Types of goals
  • Why goals fail
  • My holistic goal setting method

Scroll down for more and links to listen.

Holistic Goal Setting
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You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, and more. Find links to all the apps here. You can also read the transcript for the episode, too (you'll find it at the bottom of the page).  

After you listen, comment below and let me know: What would be or is your one goal? What is one thing you would change or work towards that would help you the most?

Here's a graphic to help you visualize the different types of goals I mention on the show:

Types of goals

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[00:00:00] Today, I'll share my holistic goal setting method. This is part 5 of my series on goal setting and how it can help you organize the overwhelm of your life and set you up for success at any time of the year so please keep listening.

[00:00:36] You may write alone, but you are not alone. Inside the Writer's Soul focuses on how personal experiences can inform your writing and help you speak from the soul to really connect with readers and other authors as well. Your writer's soul doesn't need to take the writing and publishing journey alone. Join me, your host M. Khan, and let's move forward together.

[00:00:38] Hello and welcome! Today we're going to be talking about goals. Now throughout this series, I've focused the first four parts on shifting your mindset a little bit around what you think about time, what you think about success, and today, we're going to get into the actual goal setting part. I'm going to talk about different types of goals, I'll speak a little bit about why goals fail, and that will lead into my holistic goal setting method.

[00:01:04] So types of goals. Let's take a look at the definition of a goal first. So it's an aim or a desired result or the object of a person's ambition or effort. And that's just the definition you find when you look it up on Google. But what does that really mean? So there are different types of goals out there. You usually don't think about it unless you've worked at maybe a corporate environment where you've heard of these before. But I'm going to talk about three main types here: an outcome goal, a performance goal, and a process goal.

[00:01:32] An outcome goal is basically the result that you're working for or working towards. It's your overall goal. I'll use the example of someone running a marathon for these goals. So let's say your main goal is to run a marathon and finish in the top 100. That could be your outcome goal. If you're an author and outcome goal could be to publish your book.

[00:01:54] Now a performance goal are the things you need to achieve that outcome. So it basically drills down a little bit further. And these could be something physical. It could be technical. It could be functional. It could be related to your mindset or your lifestyle. Any of those things. So if we use the marathon example, performance goal would be to maybe meditate for an hour each day to get in the right mindset before running, or developing a meal plan for before and after training each day. For an author, a performance goal could be taking extra time to brainstorm or get into the right mindset before writing.

[00:02:30] Now the third type of goal is the process goal and these are the things you need to achieve performance. So it drills down even further. And I'll have an image on the blog that will help you visualize what this all means. So if we use the marathon example, a process goal would be to move any morning meetings so that you could have time for your meditation, or maybe you create a dedicated space in your house to meditate. Another process goal would be to research which foods are best for your training and how to keep track of the foods you're eating to see if you're aligning with your meal plan. For an author, a process goal could be creating a writing space at home, writing a thousand words each day, or spending ten minutes brainstorming before you write so you get the most out of your writing session and move other things around to make time for that.

[00:03:18] But now let's go back to that original definition of a goal. Is a performance goal or a process goal, are any of these really goals at all? I'm gonna say something a little bit controversial and say, no, not in my opinion. I don't think these are the goals that you should be working towards. What I'd like you to start thinking about is how to reframe your definition of what a goal really is in order to achieve success. So what I'm really saying here is that most traditional goals are actually projects. There are things you do that help you get towards your overall goal, but they're not each individual goals. Creating a meal plan to help you run a marathon and help you train for that marathon is a project that you need to do to achieve that goal of being able to run a marathon and finish in the top 100. Writing 1000 words or creating a dedicated space for your writing is just a project you do to achieve writing a book. So not everything is a goal.

[00:04:12] And I think that's where we get held up because we'll think about goals at the start of the year maybe, or even at other times of the year. Well, after thinking about it, I suddenly have 10 goals on my list and this suddenly seems overwhelming. And then you might not even start any of them, or you might start one and then feel dejected because you didn't really do all of them. It's because the goals you're thinking about are actually just projects you need to complete. So you're not focusing on what the right goal actually is. So what you need to do is redefine what a goal a project in a task is.

[00:04:44] So think back to the three types of goals I mentioned. The outcome goal, the performance goal, and the process goal. Now rethink what those actually mean. The overall goal that you're working towards would be that outcome goal. The projects that bring you closer to that goal, that's gonna be your performance goal. And the tasks which are the individual elements of your projects, those could be your process goal. So it's kind of like a pyramid. Your goal is at the top. That breaks down into projects, and those projects break down into tasks. But there's only one goal at the top that you are working towards. In my opinion, a goal should be what you are working towards. Not the projects and tasks you're doing to achieve that goal. I think that's one of the biggest mistakes that I know I personally made was thinking that all of these big projects were actually goals, but they weren't. When I didn't complete a project or it got delayed, I would feel so dejected and disappointed in myself because I thought that meant I'd failed at a goal. But I hadn't. Not at all. And neither have you. The reason I was having difficulty achieving success was because I was focused on the wrong goal. The goal should not be the individual projects that you do. It should be the outcome that you're looking for.

[00:05:55] So now I'm going to share with you my method for goal setting success. Think again about that pyramid. You'll have your goal at the top, which breaks down into projects, which breaks down into tasks. So my method is to have only one goal at the top. Only one goal. And that is my main focus for the entire year. That's it. Only one. Now you might be asking, how can you only have one goal? Don't you have so many things that you want to accomplish for the year? And aren't there so many different things you want to finish? Would those all lead up to the goal? And you'd be right. I do have a lot of things I want to do, but what's really a goal and what is more of a project or task that I need to do? I needed to reframe my thinking about what a goal really is, what a project is, and what a task is. The goal should not be the individual projects that you do. It should be the outcome that you're looking for.

[00:06:44] Now, in the last episode, we talked a little bit about defining what you need for success and that Be Do Have method to help you get there. But what is the one outcome that you're looking for this year? What is one thing you can do that would help you the most? Having one goal, one outcome I'm working towards means that I am hyper focused on what I want most. It is the one thing that would make my life better that would improve my life the most. This year, it's the one thing that I am most worried about right now. The thing I most want to change in my life. That's what an outcome goal should be. That's what your one main goal should be.

[00:07:20] And just because you're working on one overall goal does not mean that your projects cannot be diverse. Projects can be a variety of things. They can be technical, they can be mindset related, they can be physical, or lifestyle related. As long as they all help you achieve that one goal and you'll be surprised how many projects will fall under a single goal. Sometimes we get in the habit of picking projects that stifle our goal and actually don't help us achieve it. Not because it's not related to the goal, but maybe because it's too related. For example, as an author, you can't just think about how many words to write on the page. You might need to do research. That's a technical project or you might need to get in the right headspace in order to write a certain scene or even to write it all. And that's a mindset related project or task you can't ignore. Some of these technical aspects or the psychological or mindset aspects that are still involved with you being an author and those could still be projects and tasks that you're working on that help you achieve your overall goal or the outcome you're looking for.

[00:08:19] Just because your goal is one thing doesn't exclude everything in your life. It's absolutely the opposite. This is a holistic and inclusive approach to goal setting. So often goal setting is about things you need to do. But what would make the greatest impact in your life right now if you could change one thing in your life? Personal, professional, anything? What would it be? In my opinion, we can't and shouldn't separate our work selves from our personal selves because we're only one person. We need to consider all facets of our life when creating a goal, and we need to be conscious and intentional about the goal we set. We should set a goal that makes our lives better because that is the ultimate outcome we should all be striving for. Not just doing projects, not just doing tasks all the time, but doing projects and tasks that make our lives easier in the end and that improve our lives in some way. Thinking about goals this way will help you focus on the things that really matter to you and avoid those projects and tasks that don't add value.

[00:09:17] We also become more selective and restrictive with our time in a positive way when we think about goals like this. One of my favorite quotes is that 'You can do anything but you can't do everything" and that is okay! You can do anything, but you can't do everything and that is okay. You should be more selective about how you're spending your time. If you think back through the rest of this series, we've talked about what productivity really means, about how valuable your time really is, and you've already started thinking about how you ideally might want to spend your time. In the last episode, we talked about how you define success. How do you become that person that you really want? Be that author you really want? To be setting a goal is just another way to think about the value of your time and the value of what's filling up your time.

[00:10:08] Now, you might be asking, well, how do I decide on what this one goal is? Just start thinking about what would make the most difference to you this year or this month or this week. Remember, even if you achieve a goal, you can always pick another one. You don't need to start off setting multiple goals because you think that's what you're supposed to do or what you need to do. Think back to the last podcast where you started to think about that person that you wanted to be and you started thinking about how you could get there. While you were thinking about it, what struck out to you the most? What was really maybe the goal you are looking for? Was it to become a sustainable, full time author, for example? Was that your goal? Then you can start thinking about the projects and tasks that will help you get there. In the next episode, I'll talk more about how to prioritize those projects and how do you decide which ones to work on first, so stay tuned. In the meantime, be sure to head to the blog where I'm going to talk more about my one goal for the year that I might not even finish this year, and we'll talk about where all of my books, writing, publishing them, all of those fit in my process. The link to the blog is in the show notes.

[00:11:17] Now I want to hear from you. What would be or is your one goal? What is one thing you would change or work towards that would help you the most? Head to the blog or join our community on Facebook to let me know the link's in the show notes. I'd also be very grateful if you could leave a review for this podcast wherever you like to listen. Thank you.

[00:12:10] Thank you for listening to this episode. Check out the show notes for links to my blog and our community where you can get involved in the discussion and support others. While you're there, don't forget to sign up for my newsletter to get to free and powerful tools to help you. One: access to my growing library of free resources for authors; and Two: you'll also get access to my exclusive writing challenge "How to Write Faster in 14 Days" where I share all my tips and techniques that helped me finish over 20 works in five years. Check out the show notes for all the links and thanks again for being part of this community.

M. Khan

M. Khan has authored over 20 novels/novellas/short stories under a pen name, and is now working on a fantasy series under her own name. She teaches others how to plan holistically to get all the things done, and provides guidance and coaching to fellow authors.
Holistic Goal Setting
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