Episode 160 | The Fool-Proof Process to Achieving Any Goal

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If you’ve been with me for a while, you know I’m big into goal setting.  I think this is why I love fundraising so much because it’s all about goal setting and can be very rewarding when you reach them.  So today I want to talk to you about how I set goals.

Every time I work with a new client around setting goals, I typically take them through a similar process – it’s the same process I teach as well as the process I use myself.  My core teaching is based on 7 steps that spell out the word freedom.  Focus Your Vision, Run Your Research, Enlist Your Team, Enhance Your Brand, Deploy Your Team, Organize the Ask, and Make a Difference.  I take these steps and I dig deeper with the actual goal setting and that starts with asking the question, ‘what do you want?’. 

A recent study of Harvard MBAs found that 3% made 10 times more money than everyone else.  The reason?  They wrote their goals down and that is the first step of the fool-proof process of achieving any goal.  When you write down a goal, there is a visceral reaction that happens between your brain, the piece of paper or whiteboard, and the pen or marker.  As soon as you write it down and say it out loud, it becomes believable.  If you don’t believe it’s possible, then you have to continue writing that goal down so that it comes to life.  As this is the Fundraising Freedom Podcast, I’m going to use examples centered around fundraising.  Maybe your goal right now is to keep your doors open and pay the bills, write down that number.

Number two, set a date you will have those funds by.  Is that December 31st?  Is it your fiscal year?  Is it something you want to accomplish in the next three years?  Five years?  It needs to be a date that pushes you.  Remember, if it’s an easy number you’re trying to reach, you won’t try that hard.  If you think back to some of the other projects you’ve worked on, you’ve probably pushed yourself harder as the deadline grows near.  This is how people respond to giving as well.  If they feel a sense of urgency, they will make a decision faster than if they feel they have a couple of years.  Don’t drag out the date.  And write it out like this: “I will raise X dollars by X date.”

Next, it’s time to make a list of everything it will take in order to achieve your goal.  What will it take for you to accomplish that dollar amount by that date?  Are you going to need volunteers?  Are you going to need to figure out how to raise funds with a different kind of fundraiser?  Bullet it out.  When I do things for my business, I am always thinking of more manpower because I know that I’m probably stretching myself to the max on what I can accomplish on my own.  Or maybe I don’t have the right skills to take it to the next level.  If it’s a time commitment for you, you may have to stop doing something and clear out your schedule so you have dedicated time to spend.

Now that you’ve made the big list of everything it will take for you to achieve your goal, it’s time to make the checklist.  This is your to-do list.  Statistically, people who use checklists are more likely to achieve their goals because they have written down the steps to get to the end result.  The easiest way to see progress toward your goal is to work through the checklist and marking items off.  This leads to the next step, which is to take action.  If you list out everything it’s going to take to accomplish your goal and make your checklist, unless you take action, nothing is going to happen. 

Finally, you need to do something every single day to get your closer to your goal.  You need to commit to doing daily tasks that will move you closer to what you want.  Is that a meeting?  A conversation?  A system?  A process?  How are you going to make headway?  When you look at people who accomplish big goals, they don’t do it overnight.  Trust me, in 2017 when my husband and I sat down to talk about building our dream home, I thought ‘how are we ever going to get this done?’ We wrote everything down, set a deadline, and had a checklist, we took action, and literally did something every single day working toward it.  The same thing needs to happen to reach your fundraising goal. 

One last thing I want to touch on is the SMARTER goal process that Michael Hyatt teaches on.  He’s a guru in the goal-setting space.  He doesn’t just teach the SMART process (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound), rather, he’s changed the first R from relevant to risky.  You’re doing something you’ve never done before.  T stays the same, time-bound, but then he adds an E for exciting and lights you up.  When you’re passionate and excited about something, you’ll actually get it done.  And then the R is where relevant comes back in.  I want you to start thinking about what happens when you accomplish your goal?  Yes, it feels good.  But what happens if you don’t accomplish it?  I use the example of graduating from college.  I set out to graduate from college in four years and I took a big risk by moving out of my home state of North Dakota to Missouri to attend college.  I was paying more money for my education than if I’d stayed home.  The cost of living was much different.  Even though I took a big risk, it was so exciting!  I loved the fact that I moved away to college.  I was dedicated, it was part of my identity.  I didn’t do anything in those four years except focus on being done in four years.  Plus, I didn’t want to look like a failure. 

Stop whatever you’re doing right now and:

  1. Write down your goal.
  2. Set a deadline.
  3. Make a list of everything it will take in order to achieve it.
  4. Write out a checklist.
  5. Take Action.
  6. Do something every day to get you closer to your goal.

No one wants to stay still and complacent.  You need to push yourself to get to the next level.  Ultimately, you’ll have an incredible time in the process. 

Connect with Mary:

Mary Valloni

Fundraising Freedom Academy

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