In this post I want to share with you my 15 top tips for setting goals.But first… When will life get back to normal? This is the question everyone is asking, but no-one can answer. What we do know is that around the world, the vaccine is slowly being rolled out, so the end is in sight. We just need to keep reminding ourselves of that. Never before has there been such fear, anxiety and panic felt by so many, in every corner of our beautiful planet. The uncertainty can be overwhelming. And when we feel like that, it can be harder than ever to keep positive and focused. But no matter the situation, we always have a choice as to how we respond or react.
I’m sure you don’t.
So how can we take this extraordinary and challenging chapter and flip it into an opportunity of growth and positivity for ourselves?
It’s simple. We set ourselves goals!
Why is Goal-Setting so important? It…
A goal should scare you a little and excite you a LOT!
Goal-setting really needs to take place somewhere you feel happy, relaxed and totally able to immerse yourself in the process of self-reflection and personal growth. It may be in your favourite swing chair in the garden, cosied up in a duvet in your hammock, a walk on the beach, sitting on sand-dunes with the wind in your hair, in your bath, your shower, out running, driving… a place where no-one can disturb you, and you can get lost in your own thoughts. It could even be taking yourself away for a few days on your own. A retreat that will take you away from the hustle and bustle of daily life to enable you to get complete clarity and focus. Wherever you choose, take your time and enjoy the process because it’s the first step to changing your life.
Ask yourself… what do you want. Not what you don’t want. Don’t bog yourself down with too many goals otherwise you’re setting yourself up for failure. Be clear on your goals. Create a clear stategy (use “SMART” – a super cool tool outlined in my workbook).
Taking moon shots is that big dream that motivates you to jump out of bed in the morning.
In addition to setting long-term goals, it’s also good to set yourself small bite-sized goals too that you can achieve in the short-term. These small goals will give you confidence that you can achieve the big goals, and will also give you the courage you need to dream big. Eg. Big goal – running 10k. Small goal…sign up for a 5k run midway.
This is a great tool that helps you create a clear strategy and deadline for each goal you set yourself. It will keep you motivated and on track. You can find out more about the SMART process in my workbook.
Don’t make decisions on your goals based on fear and the possibility of what might happen. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable and embrace pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Only then will you really discover what you’re capable of.
Celebrate and embrace YOU! You are unique, and if you believe in yourself, you can do anything you set your mind to. Stay true to yourself, and don’t let anyone else distract you from your goals. Do what YOU want – not what others want you to do. Think outside the box and always be authentic.
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
This is one of the five most common regrets shared by people nearing death.
Often we set ourselves goals and are then scared to begin. We hesitate. We procrastinate. And we buy all the gear we think we might need… they are all delaying tactics to get started. But the most important action is just begin! Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start, because it will never happen! Take that one small step forwards, and the others will follow, and keep going. Create the urgency you need to make the change. Not in 5 years, or 10 years… but right now!
Remove anything that’s not helping you. Remove or reduce all the distractions that are standing between you from getting closer to your goal. Social media, people, TV, etc. Even if they’re things that you enjoy doing, cut them back if they’re slowing you down from achieving your goal.
The most successful entrepreneurs all begin their day with a good routine. I’m sure each one of them is slightly different and it’s important that you find one that works best for you. That sets the tone for the rest of your day. Here are some examples of simple habits that you can easily add into your morning routine today (though I could easily write a blog post just on this!)
Why is this particular goal important to you? Your why will keep you going when you want to give up. So when you know it, remember it at all times as it will keep you motivated to keep going until you’ve reached your goal. It needs to be meaningful to you – it needs to come right from your heart. Write it down and pin it above your desk or fridge – somewhere you’ll be constantly reminded of it. Or put it in your journal.
Positivity is contagious and being around positive people will help you to feel inspired and motivated to achieve your goals. Don’t let anyone pull off your wings or discourage you from going for your dreams.
Choose people who lift you up.
We all have an inner critic. Sometimes this little voice is really helpful and keeps us motivated towards our goals. Like when it reminds us of how great we feel when we have come back from a 10k run. But there are also times when it can be incredibly harmful. This is known as negative self-talk. It can cause a lot of stress and can also prevent us from succeeding with our goals. There are various ways to help prevent this little voice getting inside your head… giving your inner critic a name can help, stopping the negative thoughts in their tracks is another way, or challenging it with “what evidence do you have for that?”
When I was 14 years old, I was at secondary school in Scotland.
I was choosing my subjects for GCSE level, and I had wanted to choose Art as one of them. My Art teacher laughed at me, and advised me to choose another subject that I showed more talent in. I believed her and was distraught.
I took this belief onto my new school a couple of years later. The Art teacher was a wonderfully warm and friendly lady and she quickly noticed my passion for art. She asked me why I wasn’t doing A-Level Art and I told her I was no good at it.
“Who told you that?” she asked.
“My art teacher at my previous school.” I said.
She looked at me deeply and then asked “Do you want to do A-Level Art?”
“I can’t” I replied.
“You can if you want to, and I will help you. But you need to believe in yourself”. She said.
I went on to do A Level Art and passed with flying colours.
Don’t listen to your inner critic!
If you have a strong goal, a clear strategy and you know your “why”, you’re on the road to achieving every goal you set yourself. But to keep extra motivated, you need to keep your eye on the end prize.
Before I set up my photography business, I worked as a Documentary TV Producer. I had set my sights on a job working on a children’s wildlife series. This was my ultimate goal at the time. I pinned pictures of all the wild animals I loved around my apartment. Then I saw a job advertised that was perfect and I spent hours on my application. I had the interview and then had to wait. Afterwards, I kept calling them to ask if they had made a decision. I emailed them. I even sent them a box of chocolate giraffes! Eventually they came back to me… I had the job!
I went on to work with the production company for 3 series of the amazing children’s wildlife programme, “Michaela’s Wild Challenge”. We won two BAFTA’s for it and I travelled around the world filming the most incredible wildlife stories. I had a clear goal, a clear strategy, I visualised it, and I kept my eye on the end prize all the way through. And I succeeded in achieving my goal!
From 2020, we all know only too well how our life can change in an instant.
In February 2020, I was skiing in Austria with my family. I had an accident and badly broke my ankle. At the time, all I could think of was that it was going to potentially affect me being able to photograph all the weddings we had coming up in the summer. We immediately created a contingency plan if I wasn’t able to.
A few weeks later, Covid-19 hit. Lockdown…
3 out of our 25 weddings took place. 22 weddings were rescheduled for 2021.
As successful entrepreneurs, we need to be able to re-strategize in an instant to adapt our goals when sudden change happens. We need to be able to pivot and re-focus.
For us, it was about re-setting our goals for the year. Finding new revenue streams became a priority. We balanced working on our business with home-schooling and concentrated on managing the expectations of our photography clients.
By November, we had a fully-booked Airbnb cottage (outside of Lockdowns), we launched an online business course, my husband, Ian, had qualified as a drone pilot, I had launched Pippa Mackenzie Coaching, our photography website had been refreshed and updated, I’d had a summer filled with family photoshoots (outside of Lockdowns), and we had still managed to find plenty of quality time to spend as a family.
When things don’t go quite to plan….Adapt. Re-focus. Pivot.