Goal-Setting: Starting Small Yields Big Returns

Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash

Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash

I admire your goal-setting self, but I truly love your action-packed, goal-getting badass!

It’s one thing to set a goal. Anyone can “set” a goal, but it’s a whole other pot of potatoes to go after that goal in a no-holds-barred kind of way.

Everything is possible, yet nothing is possible with little to no follow through.

Let the brain do its job

Back in my mid-twenties, I was a corporate cog thinking of how I was going to make it in a career as an accountant when I knew, as soon as I hit the “real world” work scene, that this type of conformity was not for me.

I was working at Pepsi and I remember walking into the building while the Pepsi jingle would play, lulling you into a light trance. Whenever a co-worker would place your call on hold, there would Britany “ba ba baing” to you while you waited. It was subconscious brainwashing I remember telling my parents.

I couldn’t even drink Dunkin’ Donuts coffee for fear of disapproval from bosses, do-good employees, and C-levels. (Having your open space cube butted up against the common walkway turned your desk into a roadside attraction.)

I had never been more miserable. I knew a life of big corporate rules and numbers were not what I aspired to do, so I needed to figure something out.

Even thinking about achieving a goal sets the brain in motion

It wants to solve problems, that’s what it was designed to do since the beginning of time. And having a goal with no clue as to how to achieve it is like catnip for the brain. It won’t stop working on it until something presents itself as a possible solution.

You can’t set and forget, you must use this this archaic attribute to the best of its abilities.

Present your brain with a goal, and allow it the time to think, ruminate and experiment with possible solutions. Think things through in and out and I bet you, you and your brain can come up with a solution, if not a multitude of them.

When I decided that being a corporate cog wasn’t on my bucket list, I knew my goal was to avoid this at any cost. And your brain is amazing at avoiding pain. (Wonder why sitting on the sofa instead of moving your body until it sweats is easier to do? Why eating a bag of chips over a plate of broccoli isn’t even a conversation your brain will endure? The brain hates pain!)

I allowed my brain to do its work and came up with an idea that took guts but I knew if I didn’t try it, I’d be stuck in corporate for a very long time. I decided, without many consults with anyone, to quit. I knew I had to do something drastic, and dragging it out while working on cultivating new skills didn’t seem to work with me. (This was back in the day when dial-up and flip phones were trending and conventional schooling was the only option. No online course to help navigate the unknown).

So I hit it hard and gave it my best to follow my heart and see how a career in graphic design could be for an ex-accountant.

Not an easy transition. But what the heck I thought. I can figure this out.

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible — Tony Robbins

Set a scary-ass goal, and then let the brain do its work.

You should notice pretty quickly that it will begin to try and lead you toward a solution. Like I said, it doesn’t like pain and if you’re all of a sudden out of a job with no income, your brain is going to come up with a first step.

This first step however will usually be a small one. Mine was to go into a local restaurant and ask if they needed a bartender because I needed money! If I got the short-term fix (bartending job), it would allow me to then figure out what I had to do next. Once you know your end goal, it creates clarity, and the brain prefers clarity over muddled mess any day of the week. it makes taking the next step much easier. almost like checking things off your to-do list. You’re gaining clarity with each step taken, and these steps build off each other, creating huge ripples.

Once I got the bartending job, I knew I had to focus on creating a portfolio. Since I didn’t have money to pay for schooling, I had to create my own projects. So I decided to come up with random advertisements, and brochures for make believe businesses and filled my portfolio with my best artistic creations (which in hindsight was totally embarrassing and pathetic! On one interview the boss walked in an took a 10 second glance at my portfolio and asked me if I was serious!) This pathetic portfolio however landed me in a job in publishing working for a daily financial newspaper creating the layout. My first job in graphic design!

The job was in NYC, and surprisingly, it was for the same company, in the same building, and on the same floor where my sister worked. How cool was that? I had no idea until I told her I was going in for an interview.

Life works in funny ways.

Your next step!

Set the goal, allow your brain time to work on it, and then take action by doing one small thing.

Don’t set and forget but go and get! No matter how obscure or impossible it may seem the truth is we don’t know our true talents, or how deeply our grit runs until we allow it to show up and guide us.

I sometimes refer to that as our superhero mindset which we all have, it’s just a matter of unearthing it. Nothing is impossible if you’re willing to go and get!

Obviously I’m no longer a graphic designer but I was in the industry for more than eight years until a new passion presented itself: women’s fitness and wellness. So again, I presented my brain with a goal and here we are, making a go of it!

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If you’d like to learn  5 strategies to achieve your fitness goals, without breaking a sweat, click the link!