Juicy Goals

I finally get it about goals.

You see, I loathed setting goals. Whether it was in the corporate boardroom or an inspirational coaching retreat, when the goal-talk started, my internal grump-o-meter would move into the red. Especially if the word goal was followed by the chirpy expression, “dream big!”

I dreaded setting goals because I used them to beat myself up. I made the goal mean that I had to meet it no matter what and if I didn’t I was failing. Decidedly un-fun. Why the heck would anyone set goals if it felt this way? (Answer: People who think setting goals is about making themselves do what they should do and not as rocket fuel for where they want to go.)

The other problem was that if I couldn’t see how to achieve the goal, I wouldn’t dream it. I decided that I would be that person for whom big goals didn’t work. Martha Beck talks about Wildly Improbable Goals (WIGs). I, on the other hand, became the master of Tame Probable Goals (which doesn’t make a cool acronym; you can see why it’s hasn’t caught on).

I chugged along with my not-so-wild probable goals for a while, and everything was good, but something was missing. I was kinda bored. And uninspired. Then I saw Ellen DeGeneres being interviewed on Oprah about her O Magazine cover campaign and, lightbulb MOOOO-MENT! (Say it in Oprah’s voice.) Ellen talked about how she sets big crazy goals to keep things interesting—she gets BORED if she doesn’t. BINGO! It was the understanding I was missing—big, crazy WIGs make life fun and interesting. Which makes them worth doing in my book. I was officially intrigued.

Then I realized the secret to awesome, fun goals is the juice.

The juice is the feel-good. Juicy goals are fun to think about, read, and tell everyone.

Juicy goals create the delicious tension between today’s known and tomorrow’s dream. The tension creates the inspiration, the spark that causes your neurons to start firing on how to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Here are some things I learned about creating juicy goals.

1. How, now
You don’t have to know how to get all the way to your goal. As a matter of fact, if you know exactly how to get there, it’s probably one of those wildly probable goals I mentioned above. Just focus on the “how” you know right now. More is revealed as you move TOWARD your goal.

A recent jaunt on a ropes course taught me about this. The goal was to move across a single cableropes course strung between two telephone poles with ropes hung every 10-12 feet to assist me across (my friend Lauren is pictured right). I knew where I wanted to go and I had an idea of what I needed to do to get there. But I had no idea how to negotiate all the obstacles—or even what they were. My first “how” was to climb up the pole.

There were things I had no clue about looking from the ground–the end of the cable goes UPHILL? Are you kidding me? I couldn’t possibly figure out  or even know every step standing on the ground, I had to experience and learn as I went.

2. It’s about the ride
This is not just some trite t-shirt slogan. So often we put our heads down and grind through to get to the place we think will be happier/more successful/more fun/whatever. Making juicy goals is about creating one hell of a fun ride. The kind of ride that is so fun that wherever you end up is perfect.

3. Work like a dog
Ever watch a pooch dig a hole at the beach? They are completely going for it–tongue out, ears back, feet a-flying. Work like that.

And, from my last post:

5. Frame it in the positive
Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t.

6. Word it as if it’s already happening.
Otherwise you’ll always be waiting for it to happen.

7. Pour on the feel-good
You should feel GREAT when you read your goal. If not, keep working playing on it until you find the feel-good.

Here’s to a juicy 2010!