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Cartoon: if you wish to achieve great things, ordinary goals are not enough; you need sexy goals

Sexy Goals and How to Achieve Them

By Jeffrey Baumgartner

If you want to achieve great things in life, ordinary goals are not enough. You need sexy goals.

As a child, Richard Branson's professional goals were presumably not to get a good job and buy a house in the suburbs. Of course not. He surely had sexier goals than that. When she was young, the singer Lady Gaga surely did not aspire to get married, be a good housewife and sing in the church choir! We can also be certain that she had sexier goals in mind. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with traditional goals. They serve us all very well. But, if you want to be incredible or you want to do something incredible, you need to make your goals sexy.

What Are Sexy Goals?

Sexy goals are goals that are interesting, provocative and desirable -- at least to you. It doesn't matter what others think. I know someone who grew up in East Berlin in a household of limited means. For her, a sexy goal was to get a good, stable, well paying job, be able to afford fashionable clothing and accessories and live a comfortable, stable life (as she used to see on West German television). And she's not shallow. In fact, she's one of the most intelligent people I know and is highly respected in her specialised field. Nevertheless, with her childhood background, achieving a comfortable, middle-class status in life was a sexy goal. And one that she has attained.

Sexy Goals Not Just for the Young

Sexy goals are not for young people only. Roy Kroc was a multi-mixer sales man in his fifties when he got involved with a small chain of hamburger restaurants in California. He had the sexy goal of turning them into a nationwide chain. The owners had lesser aspirations. Roy eventually bought them out and succeeded in making McDonald's an America-wide, and eventually global, chain of fast food restaurants.

Until Julia Child moved to Paris at the age of 36, she had little interest or knowledge of French cooking. But she soon came to love it and established the sexy goal of popularising French cuisine to Americans. Her first book only came out when she was 49.

Three Steps to Achieving Your Sexy Goal

For some people, it is instinctive to think big, establish sexy goals and achieve them. Sadly, the rest of us need to work at it.

In order to achieve your sexy goals, you need to do three things. First, you need to deconstruct your goal in order to define it. Then you need to formulate it into a sexy goal. Finally, you need to prepare an action plan.

Deconstruct Your Goal

Whether you have a specific sexy goal in mind or just have some ideas about where you want to go, you absolutely must deconstruct your goal in order to ensure you go in the right direction. Indeed, a great many people have wasted their lives chasing goals that they thought were important, but which actually detracted from their true values and desires. A classic example of this is the hard working man or woman who works long hours, travels regularly and puts everything into work in order to get a good salary and provide for his or her family. Evidence suggests that such men and women later regret that goal.

Indeed, according to Bonnie Ware, in her book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, every man and many women that she spoke to regretted that they had worked too hard and had not spent more time with their families. The tragic irony, of course, was that these men presumably worked hard in order to provide for their families. Yet, if they had questioned their goals, they might have realised that there are better ways of providing for a family than working long hours. Spending time with the family, sharing experiences and making things together are doubtless more valuable than a bigger salary. (Read The Guardian's article about this book here.)

You can deconstruct your goal by questioning it. The first question you should ask is "Why do you wish to achieve this goal?" once you have answered, ask yourself "Why" about the answer. For example:

Q: Why do I wish to get a high paying job?

A: Because I want to provide for my family.

Q: Why do I want to provide for my family?

A: Because I want my children to grow up healthy, happy and with good opportunities in life.

And so on. This exercise can be a real eye opener.

You can and should also ask other questions, such as "Why have I not achieved this goal already?"; "How do I expect to feel once I have accomplished it?"; "Who do I know who has done something similar and what can I learn from her?"; "How will I feel if I fail to accomplish my goal?" and so on.

Better still, find a friend or family member to ask you these questions together with other open-ended questions (in other words, questions that cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no").

Make It Sexy

Now that you have a better feeling for your goal, you need to make it sexy. For example, maybe your goal is about travelling through Asia. But you also love bicycling. So, you might set a sexy goal as bicycling across Asia -- from Ulaanbaatar to Singapore.

When it comes for formulating your sexy goal, think about whether you might combine interests to devise something unique -- such as bicycling and touring Asia. If you want an enjoyable job that allows you to spend time with family and you love renovating old electronics, your goal might be to set up an internet business, based out of your house, selling renovated classic radios and kitchen appliances.

Other ways to make goals sexy include:

Your Step-by-Step Action Plan

Sexy goals are all very good. But once you have formulated your sexy goal, it can seem very intimidating and that can make it too easy to give up on your goal before you have even started.

Instead of feeling intimidated, break your goal down into manageable steps. To do this, get a stack of index cards, sticky notes or small pieces of paper. Then, think about all the things you will need to do to make your goal happen. Put each action on a separate card.

Put the cards in order, creating a path from where you are now to achieving your goal. Review each card. Is the action manageable or is it still a bit intimidating. If it is intimidating, you may need to break it down into smaller actions. Do so; think about the sub-actions you need to take to complete the action in question. Put each sub-action on a card and put the cards into your path.

Go through each action again. If any of them make you nervous, ask yourself why. What can you do to make yourself less nervous about it? Think about a positive aspect of the action, aside from getting closer to your goal. Maybe you will need to reward yourself with a gift once you have accomplished the action.

Look for something positive about each and every action; think about something to make you look forward to performing that action.

Now you have a Step-by-Step action plan for accomplishing your sexy goal.

Do It!

Now, pick up the first card in your action plan and do it! Then the next and the next. As you embark on each step, do not fantasise about how good it will feel once you've accomplished the sexy goal. Instead, focus your thinking on your current step. What do you have to do? How will you do it? Get it done and move on to the next step. By focusing on each step of your action plan, you are more likely to accomplish your goal than if you simply dream about the goal.

Word of Warning

Some self help books will tell you that in order to achieve your goal, it is important to think about how good you will feel once you have accomplished it; to think about how much better your life will be. The assumption is that thinking about these good feelings of accomplishment and improved life will motivate you to work towards your goal. Unfortunately, research, suggests that this is not true. It seems that when you start fantasising about having achieved your goal, you start to feel the emotional pleasure of having accomplished it. And this gives you less motivation to chase your dream.

In other words: do it, don't dream it!


A version of this article originally appeared on here...

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