Amanda: Hello. Welcome back to the podcast. I am Amanda.
Laura: I'm Laura.
Kendra: and I'm Kendra.
Amanda: And today we are going to talk about goals. Last time we talked about priorities and now that we're getting clear on our priorities, we are going to set goals to make our lives better.
Laura: So let's just be clear about why we're setting goals. We are not setting goals to be happier. We are able to generate happiness no matter what our circumstances are. Happiness is a feeling that comes from the thoughts that we have about our circumstances. So think about the happiest people that you've ever met. Do they all live in billionaire mansions and float around on billionaire yachts? No, probably not. No, no happiness can happen regardless of our circumstances. I'm just gonna put this side note in for this book. If you have not read this book called, The Hiding Place, I recommend it for anyone. But it is a book about a family who were Christian watchmakers in the Netherlands as Hitler was beginning to invade the Netherlands and they ran a safe house for Jewish people. And they all ended up going to the concentration camps. One of the characters in this book was just so amazing and her ability to generate gratitude and happiness in the worst circumstances. There was even a moment where she was grateful for fleas.
Amanda: I actually remember the queen sisters. They made me feel bad about suggesting that I need Taco Bell after my shift. I'm gonna have to read that book.
Laura: Oh, it's so good. You don't ever have to feel bad, but it's a powerful example of really, really it's all in your head, your happiness. So that's not why we're setting goals. We're not setting goals because we think that we're gonna be happy when we achieve the goals. That's the arrival fallacy. We've talked about that before. We'll talk about it again. That's not what happens. We set goals to help us to bloom into the next version of ourselves. We want to grow. Just imagine we start out life as a little acorn. And our goal is to grow into this giant majestic oak tree that produces more acorns and more trees. That's our goal. We want to grow. So that's why we're setting goals. Setting goals helps us see ourselves more fully. It helps us see where we have stuff, issues, limiting beliefs that we can address and that we can work through those things to help us step into that best version of ourselves. We talked on our last podcast about priorities and goals are a way that we manifest what our priorities are in life. They give us direction. It doesn't mean that we have to achieve a goal to reach happiness or fulfillment, but having a direction guides our focus. I'll give you an example. I graduated from high school and I knew that I was going to college. When I went to college, I wanted to be a high school English teacher. I had some high school English teachers who were very influential in my life. They meant so much to me. I had a lot of hard stuff in high school and hard emotional stuff. And these women were amazing role models to me and I wanted to become an English teacher. Well, that was a great goal. Did I achieve that goal? No, but it put me on the path to achieve the goals that I was really meant to achieve of becoming an emergency physician. So having goals gets us going in the direction of growth, and that is where we find fulfillment in life as we grow and change and become better and better versions of ourselves.
Amanda: I love that. I think of goals as like a lighthouse, just kind of a beacon of where you're going. You don't necessarily have to get there. And in fact, that is arrival fallacy to hold off on, you know, enjoying your life until you reach the destination. It's more about the journey, but it gives you direction. I love that. So let's move on towards more practical goal setting. A goal is the result you want. Your priorities are what's important to you. The goal is the result that you want to create for yourself. So a good exercise is to come up with 25 things that you want in your life. It can be petty. It can be lofty. It can be anything that really like, let's just get honest, with what you desire from your life. When most people do this, they list 25 things that they don't have. That is a mistake. That is coming from a place of scarcity and lack. So, how our mentor, Brooke Castillo, teaches it is that she encourages instead that list of 25, there are so many things in your life that are your goals that you always wanted. For some people it's becoming a doctor and you did it. For some people, it's becoming an English teacher and they did it. For some people, its that they wanted to be married in their life and they are married. Some people wanted a divorce and they got a divorce. Some people wanted to have children. Do you see some people, their dream house, there are so many things in your life that you intentionally chose and you achieved those goals. So we want you to make a sandwich of that list of 25 things. One thing that you did create for yourself and you already have. One thing that you still would like, one thing that you already have. One thing that you'd still like. That is dreaming and goal setting from a place of abundance. And also, what's the point of all of this if we never appreciate what we have done for ourselves. It's just bringing in that little bit of gratitude and acknowledgement of the hard work that you've already done. We should celebrate those things. So many people when they're only dreaming from lack and the things that they don't have, they stop dreaming because it just hurts to see over and over again what you don't have. But when you can build in that sandwich, it is appreciating what you already have and also looking towards what might be something that you want to create for yourself in the future. So once you have that list of 25 things, focus in on one, if you can. At the most like one, two or three, but one would be even better. Spreading your efforts too thin is what most of us are already doing anyway. And it just is not as satisfying as real progress. So, if you can pick one, that would be our recommendation at most, a couple. And then the second you pick one, all of your stuff is gonna come up. Your fear, your who am I to be wanting a million dollars in the bank, all of your doubts, all of your insecurities, all of the reasons why this isn't possible for you, all of the reasons why you don't deserve this. All of that will come up and that's what we want. It sounds crazy, but that's the growth of blasting through those things one after another is the growth and the reason why we have this goal in the first place. So, it's totally normal for once you settle in on that goal for all of the stuff to come up. In fact, there's a lot of people that say there should be a little bit of “I'm gonna barf” factor. There's a little bit of you should, stealing from Glen and Doyle, their family uses the word “scited”. It's a mix of scared and excited. If there's a little bit of that in your goal, that's the sweet spot. That's perfect. If there's zero emotion whatsoever, it's probably not a big enough goal. And so we would encourage you, can you stretch it a little bit bigger? So there's a little bit of barf factor going on in there.
Kendra: So how do we do this? How do we make some practical steps for achieving these goals? Well, one way, and this might sound familiar to some people out there, they may have used other words, but the acronym SMART, S.M.A.R.T, is one that's used frequently for goal and action planning. So we like to first define, are we setting a behavior change goal or an outcome change goal? So that's a good thing to keep in mind. The outcome may be losing weight, but the change, the healthy behavior change is more like I'm gonna increase my daily physical activity, or I'm gonna start being intentional about my movement every day. So first we have to decide which kind of goal this is. And then, how we go about drafting this goal is we start by “S”. Be specific. So when we're thinking about how we dream about goals, we definitely wanna come from, like Amanda said, an abundant mindset, not a scarcity mindset. We wanna dream big. We wanna think about what might have a barf factor in our life and start there. So when we are specific, we get the details down. We decide the outcome is X, but what behavior do we have to change prior to that? So specifically, I want to lose weight. Okay. How am I gonna do that? Well, I'm gonna start by walking for 10 minutes, three times a week. So that's pretty specific. The next thing is to make it measurable. Well, how are we gonna track this progress? So say we set a long term goal of in three months, I wanna have regular intentional movement. Four times a week for 30 minutes. Okay. So that is measurable. It's this many times a week for this many minutes will be intentional movement. And hopefully my weight loss goal will be 10 pounds as a result. The next thing. So, we're specific, we're measurable and now “A” is action- oriented. So what is the action? So we review the goal and then what action or behavior can we have that will actually put it into action. Some people call it a massive action. So what is necessary for these results that we're going for to make them inevitable? So we want a 10 pound weight loss goal. So the massive action is I'm gonna increase my movement by 10 minutes or one more day a week, whatever it may be, but you're, setting a massive action for each week. So you start with that long term goal and then each week set a massive action. So, we are specific, we're measurable, we're action oriented and the “R” stands for realistic. So this is where I think some people may get a little tripped up because yes, we wanna dream big, but we also have to realize where we are in our life and make the goal within our reach. Where you are today, in this moment, at this time, in this place. What is the first behavioral change or outcome change that we can work on? That's actually realistic. So it's that balance between being a little too easy, like not creating that mix of excitement and fear and then being too great. Like I'm gonna climb Mt Everest by Christmas. That might be a little bit much considering you've never even walked outside for 10 minutes. So you build on these smaller successes and then that growth is where you can reach further, go longer and have that bigger goal. The next thing, so, we're specific, we're measurable, we're action-oriented, we're realistic and the “T” is for timed. So, just like at the beginning, when we set that long term goal, in three months I want to move four times a week for 30 minutes. We wanna be able to set short term goals in order to reach that long term goal. Because sometimes that could be a little unrealistic, like starting this week, because for one you've never been intentional about movement. Think how busy our lives are and never be thoughtful or intentional about incorporating movement. You may think, “Oh my gosh, this week's calendar is already so full. How am I going to find 30 minutes to move intentionally?” Well, you start this week by saying, “Okay, tomorrow I have a lunch break. Yes I need to eat, but maybe I can walk 10 minutes and then Wednesday I have that same 10 minutes at the beginning of lunch break”. But maybe Friday, you don't have the lunch break, but maybe you could get to work 10 minutes early and walk before you start work or something like that. So start realistic. Start it at a time that is doable for this week and let's build on it every week. The long term goals are important, and like Amanda said, enjoying the journey is more important than actually reaching the goal.
Amanda: I think with us, as physicians in particular, like we're so all-or-nothing and give no credit to like little, small changes. But a small adjustment on the rudder of a boat over time leads to a completely different direction. That realistic step, like you said, I think is so important because making it realistic and doable and having a high degree of probability that you're actually gonna follow through. Again, it reestablishes the integrity with yourself that so many of us have eroded over time. So I love that they include the “R” on that acronym.
Laura: Oh yeah. Yep. That relationship with ourselves. We're not always great about honoring that. So that's a great reminder to maintain that self integrity.
Kendra: Well, and half the battle is the behavior change. We can set goals and outcome goals. No problem. But half the time, the first thing we have to battle is we don't really wanna do that. We haven't been intentional about it before, because we let other things take up our time. So half the idea is actually changing the thought about the process that gives us the goal. So that is a totally normal thing to have to actually start with a healthy behavior change first, and that's our thoughts and how they make us feel that give us that desired result or that action. So, that is very normal to have to actually do small physical steps, but actually you're making massive action towards changing your thought process, which is a behavior change. And that in itself, by the time you get to that three month goal can be huge. And before you realize it, it becomes easier and easier. The next time, the next time, the next time.
Laura: I love that, if for any change we wanna make, we can just begin with our thoughts. To me, it seems, it just seems easier. It seems less effort. I'm just sitting here with my brain and I can just work towards this goal by changing the way I think about it.
Amanda: However, the action is necessary to like, just getting up and starting something, somewhere. I find myself liking to spend too much time in the thinking zone. Whereas, I need to get up and actually move or do something. So it's all good. It's all good.
Kendra: So, yeah. So we hope today that if anything you have become more aware of what it is like to set goals and what it is to have growth, true growth. And what it is to make a list of those things. Be able to sandwich the things that you've already accomplished, or the goals that you already set, even without this framework, to give yourself a little boost. And then also a little bit of an outline on how to achieve these goals, dreaming from abundance and being able to set SMART goals in order to, not only get a healthy behavior change, but at the same time produce the outcome that you want as a result. So, until next time you are whole, you are a gift to medicine and the work you do matters.