In the Uncommon Freedom Podcast’s third episode of the Launch Well series we’re diving deep into how intentionally setting goals for yourself, and your kids, can help you harness the power of the compound effect. We’ll discuss some of the tools we use to create a balanced life through goal setting and how habit tracking can make achieving your goals easier than ever.
Goal Setting for Kids (and Beginners!)
Have you ever heard the term “eat the frog?” The idea behind eating the frog is doing the thing you least want to do first in order to get it out of the way and move on to more enjoyable tasks or activities. In our family, it’s more common to hear us talk about eating the elephant, one bite at a time. We love this alternate version because many tasks, especially for kids, can seem too big to take on. Plus, since frogs are considered a delicacy in some cuisines, you’re probably even less likely to want to eat an elephant!
Whether you’re introducing goal setting to your children or just getting started yourself, keeping this concept in mind will help. Big picture, you might consider the process of goal setting itself to be the elephant, and the way to eat it one bite at a time is to use a guided approach. We use this fun printable with our kids at the beginning of each new year to encourage them to set goals in a fun way. That being said, if you need some help getting into the goal setting mindset, it works just as well for adults.
And here’s the cool thing! Filling out prompts such as “this year I want to get better at” and “this year I will help others by” will help you zero in on areas of your life that could benefit from a little goal setting. Once you’ve filled it out, the next question is what you can do to accomplish these goals.
Let the goal setting begin!
Using the Wheel of Life to Find Balance
When it comes to goal setting for a balanced life, there’s no better tool than the Wheel of Life to get started. You may have come across the concept before through motivational speakers such as Zig Ziglar and Dave Ramsey. The Wheel of Life idea helps you take stock of your life as it currently stands and identify which areas you’d like to improve.
The spokes vary a bit depending on who you ask, but for our purposes there are seven basic spokes on the wheel of life: personal, physical, family, financial, mental, spiritual, and career. The idea is that you can rate each spoke for yourself on a scale from one to ten, with ten meaning you’ve reached your highest potential in that area of your life.
First, take a moment to consider each spoke and rate yourself on a scale from one to ten. You can find a complete assessment worksheet by Zig Ziglar here, or just feel it out! Keep in mind that no one is perfect in every area and this is not a reflection of who you are as a person. The Wheel is just an objective way to identify where you need to focus your efforts in order to reach a more balanced life. Rather than perfection, we encourage you to seek balance between your spokes and achieve a level of harmony that ensures no one area remains totally neglected.
Goal Setting to Maximize Your Potential
Once you’ve rated yourself in the areas of life we described above, it’s time to lay out the goals necessary to improve the areas that need improvement and maintain the areas you’re content with to find overall balance.
The Three Questions
The first step is to ask these three questions for each of these domains:
- What do I need to do more of or start doing?
- What do I need to do less of or completely eliminate?
- What do you need to continue doing?
Flexible, But Not Optional
Know this: if it’s important, you need to resource it. This means you must be willing to invest, whether that be financial or an investment of time and energy. In our experience, the most effective way to resource something is to calendar it (check out our Maximum Impact Guide for more information on how we calendar everything) and it needs to be a goal that becomes a habit. In order to achieve your most important goals, the habit you create to achieve it can be flexible, but not optional.
Make Your Goals SMART
Like we discussed last week, make sure your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). From there, identifying habits to support those goals will be pretty straight forward.
Let’s consider the example of spending more quality time with your spouse. To make it SMART, we need to phrase the goal a bit differently by using the exact guidelines provided in our SMART Goal worksheet.
Example: My goal is to spend more quality time with my spouse. In order to accomplish this goal we will schedule a minimum of two dates per month without the distraction of children, work, or other obligations. Accomplishing this goal will help us feel more connected and demonstrate how much we love and value one another.
How Many Goals Should You Set?
There’s no right answer to the question of how many goals you should set, but if you’re serious about pursuing Uncommon Freedom and creating a balanced life, we encourage you to set at least one for each spoke of life. By doing so you’ll ensure that no one area is neglected, even if you’ve given it a higher rating. As long as it feels manageable, set as many goals as you feel necessary to achieve the balanced life you’re seeking.
Tracking Your Habits for Effective Goal Setting
There’s no question that creating and tracking habits is the key to achieving goals you set for yourself. If you want to achieve a goal, you have to create habits that will help you reach the finish line.
Life on a Page
Sometimes things just get too big and too complicated, so one of our favorite strategies to manage everything that feels important to us is using a tool we call Life on a Page. The idea behind this tool is that it includes all of your absolute “must do’s” as trackable habits on a single page, right in front of you, so that you’re reminded to do them.
The first time you create your Life on a Page, you may experience one of two things. One possibility is that you feel like there aren’t enough habits to track. In this situation, we encourage you not to overlook habits that feel too obvious to track. By tracking even the smallest habits (drinking enough water, sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, etc.) you’ll be holding yourself accountable and making absolutely no excuses. It will also help you identify trends and relationships which we’ll expand on below.
Alternatively, you may experience the opposite situation and have too many habits to fit on one page. In that scenario, we challenge you to limit yourself to the most important. Everyone has a limit and no one can do everything. Make sure each and every habit you’ve laid out lends itself toward improving or maintaining one of those seven areas of your life and challenge yourself to focus on essential areas. Remember that achieving a perfectly balanced life isn’t possible, but we can always improve!
The Compound Effect
The cool thing about tracking your habits this closely is the info you’ll gain when you evaluate your Life on a Page at the end of each month.
You’ll also notice the relationship between different habits. One example of this might be that if you’re accomplishing your habit of not drinking caffeine, you’re also consistently going to bed on time. You may then notice that as you consistently go to bed on time, you’re also consistently waking up with enough energy to get a workout in. The compound effect of tracking your habits will help you create a balanced life and make this year your best ever.
All you need is a Gmail account and you’ll be able to use this tool to track your habits and monitor your progress over time. This tracker automatically calculates how close you are to your goal as you check off each habit, offering unparalleled insight into your journey toward achieving your goals. You might notice that you’re coming so close to achieving the 100% checkmark each month and be able to identify exactly what you need to do next month to make it happen. On the flip side, you might notice you’re not coming close to 100% and realize you might need to set your sights to accurately reflect your true capacity for that particular habit.
We personally use this tool every day and can guarantee that it’s a fantastic tool to support you in your pursuit of Uncommon Freedom!