Posts in Goals
Anti-goals

I think I might be one of the only people I know to set anti-goals (consciously). So I want to share my anti-goals today, in the hope that you might want to set an anti-goal too.

What is an anti-goal? An anti-goal is something you purposefully don’t want to achieve.

I created my first anti-goal in 2017, when I decided NOT to go to the gym for an entire year. I had been trying to get myself to go to the gym for years, and every year I would set it as my New Years Resolution, and I always failed miserably. Having the goal every year wasn’t actually working, and on top of that, it was just making me feel guilty because I wasn’t going. So in 2017, I just decided that I would make a new rule: No gym allowed.

I felt LIBERATED.

Did it mean that I exercised more? No I didn’t. But it removed the guilt I was feeling. By making it a rule, an anti-goal, I wasn’t actually getting any fitter, but I had released myself from feeling bad about not achieving my goal.

But hang on, what makes an anti-goal different from a regular goal?

A regular goal achieves something. An anti-goal achieves nothing, on purpose.

A goal to not smoke is still a regular goal because it achieves something. A goal to not drink achieves something too. An anti-goal doesn’t achieve anything, it keeps you exactly where you are, except it changes the way you feel about the situation.

If you always eat doughnuts, and you feel guilty about it but you don’t actually think you’ll stop, you could set yourself an anti-goal of continuing to eat donuts. That way, you’re not changing, but you’re now fulfilling a goal so you can stop feeling the guilt.

This can be a dangerous tactic, as it requires you to really evaluate why you are setting the anti-goal. It’s not a good idea to set an anti-goal if it’s just an excuse to behave badly. An anti-goal is purely there to give you permission to not feel bad, and to focus on other things.

Other anti-goals I have:

To not go skydiving.
To not run a marathon.
To not write a book.

Some people probably will not understand the concept of anti-goals. I can almost hear my logically-minded cousin saying, “If you don’t want to do something, why don’t you just not do it? What’s so hard about that?”

But see, that doesn’t work for those of us who feel obliged to others, or to our feelings. The purpose of an anti-goal is to give us permission to do what we actually want, and will probably do anyway. It just removes the pressure. Now that I know I’m not allowed to write a book, I don’t have to worry about doing that. It’s totally gone from my list, and I feel so much freer than when I had a general sense of unease: “Should I be writing a book?”

More examples of potential anti-goals:

To not go to that party.
To not buy Christmas presents.
To not wear makeup.
To not make your bed.

What are your anti-goals?

Goal Rush
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Something I love so much about goal setting is the rush of adrenaline you get when you set something that feels impossible, but there’s part of you that believes you can do it – and that voice suddenly becomes louder than the voice that says you can’t do it. And then you come down off that high, and you think, ‘Am I crazy?’ and there’s a dark cloud of questioning if you can do it. The voice that says you can’t is there. But no matter how loud the voice that says you can’t is, the voice that says you can will always be there.

I’ve just experienced that adrenaline-fuelled rush of setting an impossible goal. It’s so delicate, so recently born into my mind, it’s too fragile to share with you right now. But when it grows into a small, but sturdily formed idea, I will share it.

All I can say now is that my heart is pounding with excitment and anticipation for what could be.

Do you ever feel that way about goal setting too? Or is it just me?

November Goals
Is this not the best meme ever?

Is this not the best meme ever?

I’m super happy with my success in October, as I completed all of my goals.

However, I did find myself run off my feet and running around trying to do far too many things at once. So my overarching theme for November is: The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

What is my main thing? My main thing (right now) is my coaching.

With that in mind, I am setting myself goals that will foster self-care and make me feel as energised as I can be, so I am better able to show up for my goals, my clients, my friends and family, and my work.

Here they are:

  1. I will easily craft a dedicated space in my house for meditation by November 30, 2019.

  2. I will easily reach 30 deep, consistent, improved-form push ups by November 30, 2019.

  3. I will easily stop working and begin winding down for sleep by 10pm for the entire month, until November 30, 2019.

  4. I will easily create 1 new YouTube video by November 30, 2019.

I’m feeling so good about these goals, they feel like exactly what I need in order to move forward and to foster a better work-life balance.

October Goals: Review
Flying back from NZ to England today!

Flying back from NZ to England today!

I can’t believe we’re already done with the 10th month of 2019. Here were my goals for October:

  • I will easily create a training video opt-in for my website by October 15, 2019.
    It’s up! Go and download my free masterclass to create a step by step plan for achieving your impossible goals. You can check it out on my homepage by clicking the button under the headline (just click on my name, Sarah Arnold-Hall to head to the homepage, or scroll to the top of the blog!).

  • I will easily do 25 push ups in a row by October 30, 2019.
    I did this! However, in my last exhaustion test, I actually ended up only doing 22. I don’t know if that means I shouldn’t count this, but I feel like since I did actually reach the goal at one point, it should count. Now I’ve just got to keep it up!

  • I will easily photograph 3 high resolution photoshoots for my blog by October 30, 2019. (Trying this again this month!)
    Done! I’m counting these posts: Push Ups: Week 8, Just Call Me Tiger, Dress for the Job You Want. I also did quite a few other blog posts where I was happier with the level of photography I shot too. Even though I had to consciously plan when I would do these photoshoots, they mostly fit as part of what I was already doing, and weren’t staged, which is great because it suggests higher quality photos on my blog are sustainable for the future.

  • I will easily create and upload 2 YouTube videos by October 30, 2019.
    Also complete! It got to almost the end of the month and I thought I wasn’t going to make it, but I chose to push through and create a video! I found it WAY easier creating videos while I was in NZ, because it was sunny and I had lots of places to film with great lighting, which I don’t have in England (where I’m currently living). My two videos from this month are: How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and my first 100 Push Ups Vlog

I’m super happy with completing all four of my October Goals, because last month in September I didn’t complete all my goals. I think the difference was I was more realistic about the action I could take. And before you say “Sarah! You always say being realistic is a bad idea!”, remember I believe that when you set your goals, you should set impossible goals, but when you create your commitments, they need to be realistic and actionable. Possible action makes impossible goals happen.

Gary Vee Mode
A photo from my test shoot for one of my posts coming at you during Gary Vee Mode this week!

A photo from my test shoot for one of my posts coming at you during Gary Vee Mode this week!

If you don’t know who Gary Vaynerchuk is, he’s an entrepreneur and advocator of the arguably toxic “hustle” ideal, which suggests we should all be working 18 hour days. While the hustle hustle hustle, work work work mentality is not great for people who are already overworked and I can see the damage it can cause, I don’t think his message is aimed at that audience. I think his message “Patience & Hard Work” is aimed at so many of us (myself included – they tend to describe us as lazy millennials) who actually have a huge capacity for more work and patience if we are hungry enough to actually put in the effort.

I’m passionate about Gary Vee’s content, and I could watch it all day. His work ethic is insane, but he’s achieved results from it – and he’s loved every step of the way. He LOVES putting in the effort.

If you’ve watched my Impossible Masterclass (which you can get free access to on my homepage), I talk about the difference between hard work and effort. It’s a concept I originally came up with thinking about relationships (I can’t stand when people say relationships are hard, or hard work. They shouldn’t be hard). Calling something hard work means you give all your power away to the thing in question. You make it so that the thing you’re trying to achieve has some mystical level of difficulty when in actual fact, it totally doesn’t. You have to take back the power, by recognising that it is in fact the level of effort you are willing to exert that will determine your success, and not how hard something is.

Think about it. It’s not hard to get in good physical shape, for example. Everyone knows how to do it. You eat better, you exercise more. It couldn’t be less difficult. You put different food into your mouth, you move your body more. So why do so many people (including myself) struggle to get in great physical shape? Because they’re not putting in the mental and physical effort it takes. (I’ve had people argue that what I mean is that it is simple but not easy, but that’s not what I’m saying. Im saying it IS easy, as long as we choose to view it that way.)

A couple of days ago I shared my fear that I’m not truly putting in the effort required to achieve my dreams. That’s a bitter pill to swallow. Unless you spit it out. So here I go, spitting it out, refusing to let it be true.

Today, after watching one of Gary’s videos, I realised I’ve been doing it all wrong: trying to cut corners to make everything easier, when in fact, I need to make myself better.

I’m committing to what I’m calling “Gary Vee Mode”, and for 4 days I’m going to live how he would live if he were in my shoes.

Here’s my commitment. Every day, for the next 4 days, I will:

  1. Post on my blog (as usual)

  2. Post on Instagram

  3. Post on Facebook

  4. Post on Instagram stories (10x minimum)

  5. Film and post a YouTube video

  6. Post on Tik Tok (a platform I’m new to, as of today – find me at @saraharnoldhall)

And I’m going to give it my absolute ALL.

Today, I have completed everything on this list, so that’s day 1 DONE.

I’ve chosen 4 days instead of 7 as the last 3 days of my week this week include extensive global travel from New Zealand to England.

Initiating Gary Vee Mode.

Hustle
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This is me right now, snuggled on the couch contemplating goals (as usual).

Tonight we went to the cinema to watch the new Jennifer Lopez film, Hustlers. It’s based on a true story deemed a “modern Robin Hood”, the tale of a group of strippers who stole from rich men on Wall Street after the 2008 financial crisis. And man, did it make me think about goals (I’m always thinking about goals, so that’s really not surprising). These women, as criminal as they were (it should go without saying, I don’t condone stealing), were absolutely dead set on getting what they wanted. They had a goal in mind (making a lot of money) and they would do almost anything to get it.

Of course, drugging and stealing isn’t exactly the kind of thing I have in mind when I say “You have to be willing to do anything for your impossible goal”, but if there’s one thing we can learn from these women, it’s dedication. It really made me think about a recipe for success. You’ve got to want it enough (drive), and apply yourself to it with grit and a take-no-prisoners attitude.

It comes back to my Impossible Indicator I shared a few weeks ago. These are my (work in progress) criteria to indicate whether or not you can achieve your impossible goal.

  1. Why do you want your impossible goal?

  2. What are you willing to do to get it?

    If your answer to number 1 doesn’t make your whole body shake with excitement and your heart beat with exhilaration (and terror), then you need to come up with a stronger why.

    If your answer to number 2 isn’t “anything and everything — whatever it takes”, please revise your answer to number 1.

This is what the women in the film knew. They each had a strong ‘why’, and they were each willing to do “anything and everything – whatever it takes” to get it. Additionally and crucially, they actually turned their willingness into action and made it happen.

Holy wow. You and I need to not just be willing to do whatever it takes – we have to actually DO whatever it takes. That’s a whole other ball game.

My current impossible goals are to do 100 push ups and reach 100k subscribers on YouTube (read my thoughts on reviewing this goal). I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve only been putting in half-hearted effort into them.

My why is strong. My willingness to do whatever it takes is there. But my actual action is not at 100%. Time to step it up. How do I make that happen? As is my answer for most things: accountability. I need tighter and stronger accountability – if you’ve got a strong why and a die-hard willingness and you’re still not achieving your goals, then you also need tighter and stronger accountability.

I’m unsure what that will look like at this stage, but I’m going to figure it out and update you. Stay tuned!

Push ups: Week 11
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Where I went running today, to warm up before my push ups.

Where I went running today, to warm up before my push ups.

Day: 71
Push up ability: 25

I made it to 25! That’s 1/4 of the way to my goal. I’m determined to speed up the process a bit too, so I’ve added it to my habit tracker so I’m reminded to do them daily (that’s where I track all of my other habits, like meditation, running and blogging). I said last time that I want to work on my form, and I feel like my form is definitely better, so I’m counting that as a win.

Today I did them just after I went for a run, and I found I had more energy than when I do them later in the evening, so I’m going to try to keep that up too.

I’ve also had a few people ask me to create vlogs about it. With my hectic schedule at the moment, I’m not sure if it should be a priority on my list, but it would be so cool to have a record of it for when I reach 100 in a row. Hopefully I can get some sorted!

For now, celebration that I’m at 25! I feel like I’m beginning to break a belief ceiling, because I genuinely believed for most of my life that I wasn’t physically capable of doing more than 10 or so (and I had never even done a single push up successfully because I didn’t ever train – I could only do knee push ups). Isn’t it amazing what the mind can do when it’s put to the test?

Just call me Tiger
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Impossible goals or impossible holes?

This was my first ever time picking up a proper golf club (and not a mini golf club), and it was in what you might call the most impossible setting. What are the actual chances of me getting that ball even near the green, let alone into the hole? It doesn’t matter the chances if you’ve got an impossible goal. But the real question to ask is, do I even want to get it into the hole?

I think this fits a metaphor: Make sure you’re going after the right impossible goal. I’ve been reflecting on this recently – which, if any, of my impossible goals are actually for someone else to take on? Which, if any, of my impossible goals aren’t the right ones for me?

For example, I’ve been thinking about the way I’ve set up my impossible goals. For example, I have a goal of reaching 100k subscribers on YouTube. Would 99k suffice? 101k? Why 100k? Do I care about the number? Or do I care about the actual experience? Would it make more sense to readjust my goal to making 100 impactful videos? Or impacting 100 people’s lives deeply? Don’t get me wrong – I’m not giving up on my goals at all. I’m as driven and dedicated to them as possible. I’m simply examining the goal post. We all know the story of the person who got everything they ever wanted, it just turns out they wanted all the wrong things.

No changes yet – just food for thought.

Burn the boats, not the weapons
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If you want to take the island, you have to burn the boats.

Today I have lost my voice (been doing far too much talking!). So lucky this isn’t a daily vlog or I would have nothing to say! I was just on a coaching call with one of my clients, and we were talking about something Tony Robbins shares all the time: If you want to take the island, you have to burn the boats.

(This quote comes from the story of when Julius Caesar set out to conquer England - he knew that in order to win the battle and take the island, he would have to convince his soldiers that there was no other option. So he ordered them to burn their boats once they arrived, so if they ever wanted to go home to Rome, they would have to conquer England. And despite being a much smaller army, they won.)

In other words, if you want to go after your dreams (e.g. entrepreneurship), let go of the things that are keeping you comfortable (e.g. a job).

HOWEVER:

Here’s an important distinction that I think hasn’t been made. Please don’t confuse burning the boats with burning your weapons. Don’t go into battle in a t-shirt and shorts, like I did.

When I first started my business, I thought I was burning the boats, but what I was really doing was burning my weapons.

Yes, I quit my job, just like I was told I needed to do. I wasn’t going to build a successful business if I was comfortable in my job, and that is true.

But then I went and burned my weapons (aka, my investment capital).

I invested it (and I’m glad I did), but the problem was, I invested every last penny of it. And then I was left with zero dollars to push my business forward. Zero dollars to attack with. So I had no money and no job, and instead of feeling powerful like Caesars soldiers, I felt overcome by anxiety and crippled with the ever surmounting pressure.

Yes, burn your comforts. But don’t burn your tools.

If you want to quit your job to start a business – do it. But ONLY if you have sufficient weapons. And the moment you run out of ammo, you better go get you some more any possible way that you can. Take that advice from a girl who’s been there!

Impossible indicator
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I have this one coaching client I know without a doubt is going to succeed with her impossible goal. For a while, I used to just have an intuitive sense about who would succeed and who wouldn’t. But after coaching a lot of people and self-coaching too, I’ve learned that my intuition can detect the level of determination someone has, and that’s really it. It depends how determined someone is. It depends how strong their WHY is. This client of mine I know she is going to succeed because her why is so strong. In our first session she told me she basically sees not succeeding in her goal as worse than dying. At first my reaction was “uh oh, what if she doesn’t achieve it? She will be distraught.” And then I almost laughed at myself out loud, because that’s the whole damn point — it’s that exact answer that proves certain she will achieve it. She wants her impossible more than she wants anything else in the world, including comfort right now. She wants it more than 10/10. She wants it more than she wants to BREATHE. I’m in awe of her gumption and passionate determination.

This made me think about an assessment to see if you’ll achieve your goals. 

Here’s my work-in-progress assessment.

Let’s call it the Impossible Indicator.

There are two questions:

  1. Why do you want your impossible goal?

  2. What are you willing to do to get it?

If your answer to number 1 doesn’t make your whole body shake with excitement and your heart beat with exhilaration (and terror), then you need to come up with a stronger why.

If your answer to number 2 isn’t “anything and everything — whatever it takes”, please revise your answer to number 1.

GoalsSarah Arnold-Hall
One thing
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Today we’re headed from Brighton to Cardiff to go and visit Daniel’s new baby cousin! So cute, I can’t wait to meet him. 

It’s a 5 hour journey (writing as we go - I’m not driving!) so I’ve had a lot of time to think - and so I’ve been devising a plan for the last 3 months of this decade (I didn’t even believe it when someone told me that yesterday - 3 months left of this decade?!).

One of the major learning lessons I’ve had in 2019 is to prioritise my ONE THING.

The reason I managed to create my membership site, Impossible Incubator, is because I stopped trying to focus on ANYTHING else. I made it my one thing. And even more specifically, I made each task ahead my one thing. I remember being overwhelmed by the prospect of creating videos with a videographer, so I broke it down into small steps and physically covered up everything else on my to do list with a sticky note until I had found a videographer. That was my only task. I wasn’t even allowed to do anything else to do with that project until I’d done that step. Then once I’d found a videographer, I focused on writing the content for the videos. Nothing else but that. And so on until I ended up creating an entire membership site.

That technique worked so well for me, that I’ve decided to put weekly YouTube videos off until 2020 so I can focus on really nailing this blog. However, as one of my impossible goals is to reach 100k subscribers on YouTube (I think I’m at 270 as of today, haha), I’m definitely not giving up, just prioritising my blogging goals as my ONE THING first.

I’m really keen to focus on my blog and creating better and better content for you guys. (And then my next ONE THING is to work on some free content to share how I set and commit to my impossible goals, which should be coming your way by the end of the month 🤞).

GoalsSarah Arnold-Hall
Push ups: Week 8
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Day: 55
Push up ability: 20

20% of the way to my goal – super pumped to hit 20 push ups in a row!

Where I'm at: I certainly haven’t been training hard enough at all. I’ve barely been training since my last update in week 6. I’m actually stoked I didn’t drop below 18, I thought I was going to be moving backwards, that’s how much I didn’t train! I mean, even in I think I could be at 30 by now if I had worked at it properly. Which is why I’m kicking it up a notch this month! I’ve decided to train every single day (apart from rest days).

I’ve been trying to work on my form too, getting as low as I can (chin touching the ground!) and keeping my body as flatlined as I can.

I can feel how much more is in me. 20 is tough at the moment, but I can just tell there’s 100 in me. And it’s not even that far away, I feel. I thought this might take years to accomplish, but I think it’s going to happen faster than that. I’m going to train hard out over the next month (I’m flying to NZ – 31,000 ft push ups, anyone?!) but I’m going to try to get push ups in most days.

I’ll keep you updated!

Colour
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My photos are usually black and white so it’s fun experimenting with some colour! One of my goals is to blog everyday for 2 years, and when I began, my intention wasn’t to write a post last minute before I fell asleep and put on a random image from my phone (which is what has been happening) – my intention was to document my goals and my day. So today is the start of me really trying to do that! I spent some time at a cafe today doing some work on the computer, but it was really dark inside so I popped outside to take photos by this colourful wall. I’m super keen to work on my photography too. I’ll keep you updated, and hopefully my photography (or my photographic directing, since I didn’t take these photos!) gets better and better. This month I’m really going to work on that. I’ve got a coaching call now and then time to meditate and relax this evening (I can feel some Desperate Housewives coming on…) – talk soon!

September Goals: Review

I was not expecting to say this, but I failed my September goals. However – they still progressed me forward. There’s a difference between failing because you didn’t take action, and failing because the action you took didn’t work. This month, the action I took didn’t work.

I want to evaluate what went wrong that meant I only completed a sixth of my September goals, and hopefully you can use this to your advantage too.

Here were my goals:

  • I will easily do 15 push ups in a row by September 30, 2019.
    Yes, I completed this! I can now do 18 in a row.

  • I will easily photograph 5 high resolution shoots for my blog posts that I am proud to share by September 30, 2019.
    I did two kind of half-hearted ones. I took action, but I realised the kind of action I took wasn’t right. What I will do next time: Plan dates into my calendar of days I will take photos, and with whom.

  • I will easily put out one video a week on YouTube (4 videos) by September 30, 2019.
    I actually FILMED three videos. But I only put out one, because I didn’t make it a priority.
    What I will do next time: Schedule the exact DAYS the videos are going to go up on YouTube, and schedule non-negotiable time to work on them into my calendar.

  • I will easily create a consistent weekly newsletter by September 30, 2019.
    This is a wish right now. I didn’t commit at all. I didn’t even take a STEP towards this. Ouch. It hurts saying that. Again, scheduling issue. What I will do next time: Schedule time into my calendar to work on this.

  • I will easily read 2 personal development books by September 30, 2019.
    I actually did take action on this one. I’ve been reading the Napoleon Hill classic, Think and Grow Rich. I love reading it, and I did make time. I just way underestimated how much time I would need to dedicate to this. What I will do next time: Make a calculated plan of reading based on my actual reading speed.

  • I will easily complete my quiz for my website by September 30, 2019.
    I actually decided against doing this one. It doesn’t align with what my plans are for my website. What I will do next time: Set goals that actually make sense to set.

I learned a lot about SMALL goal setting this month, including:

  1. Scheduling is not a joke. Do it for even the small things you don’t think you need to do it for.

  2. Set actions you actually want to take.

  3. Take into account the other things happening in your life. September turned out to be one of my busiest months of the year, and I ended up working 80 hour weeks. I needed to look at my calendar when I set my goals. I will do that for my October goals, for sure (Coming at you tomorrow!)

GoalsSarah Arnold-HallComment
Diy
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New video coming at you soon! I wanted to share a couple of snaps I got, because I want to show what a mess my filming set up is. It used to really hold me back from filming. I actually ordered a tripod for my camera, but it didn’t arrive. So I ended up cellotaping my iPhone to a box of tea (which inside had a can of chickpeas to weigh it down) and using the front camera to record. And getting the correct height with some books and a water dispenser. Can you tell from the video snap? Not one bit. In the past, I’ve used a Weetbix box, DVDs, books, anything that will prop my phone or camera to the right height. And this isn’t my room. I borrowed it. I didn’t even brush my hair (which I admit was a mistake, looking at the footage). I used to worry so much about lighting, hair, makeup, the right equipment, etc. but it doesn’t even matter. My videos are currently getting a couple of hundred views, I don’t need a whole studio set up. But I let it stop me from filming for far too long.

Moral of the story: DON’T LET THE SMALL THINGS STOP YOU FROM ACHIEVING YOUR BIG DREAMS.

GoalsSarah Arnold-HallComment